The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation in Jackson, NH, considered by many to be one of the premier cross country ski areas in the Eastern United States, has begun construction of a new competition venue for cross country skiing. The new trail design, a collaboration between John Morton of Morton Trails and the Foundation’s executive director Thom Perkins, will make Jackson XC only the sixth cross country ski area in the country to meet FIS homologation standards, a set of trail guidelines developed by the international ski racing organization that governs competition skiing, including World Cups, World Championships and Winter Olympic Games. Jackson XC’s compliance with these regulations in the design of their new racing venue will ensure their eligibility to host high level national and international cross country ski competitions, including the North American SuperTour Series, the NCAA Cross Country Skiing Championships and the USSA Junior Olympics. Currently, Maine has two homologated race venues; Alaska, Michigan, and Utah each have one.
The venue utilizes a portion of the Eagle Mountain Golf Course for the stadium area and incorporates and adds to Jackson XC’s famous Wave trail, creating a world-class racing venue while retaining the rolling terrain of the Wave that recreational skiers have enjoyed for the past twenty years. â€œWe designed these trails first and foremost to be fun to ski!â€ explained Perkins, estimating that 95% of the use of these new trails will be by recreational skiers. â€œIt was a lot of fun thrashing through the woods with John (Morton). The trails that we designed are going to be amazing to ski. I can’t wait to have our skiers begin enjoying them next winter,â€ said Perkins. Morton, a participant both as an athlete and coach in seven Olympic Winter Games, has extensive experience in international competition and in designing trails for World Cup skiing.
â€œWhen Thom contacted Morton Trails about reconfiguring a racing loop which would comply with international homologation standards, yet preserve the famously popular descent called The Wave, it was a challenge I was eager to accept,â€ said Morton. â€œI’m confident that folks who have enjoyed skiing at Jackson in the past will be thrilled by the reconfigured Wave.â€
Over the past 15 months, Perkins has worked closely with Morton to plan for the construction of the new trails. Construction began in mid-June. The area being utilized for the new and rebuilt trails required the use of six private landowners land. Each enthusiastically gave their permission to create the new venue. Ed Bergeron and Seth Burnell of Bergeron Engineering assisted in the permitting and planning for the construction as well.
â€œA lot of planning went into this moment,â€ said Bob Kantack, President of the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, â€œit’s very gratifying to finally get the construction underway.â€
Two loops, adding nearly 2 kilometers, will be constructed to blend seamlessly with the pre-existing Wave trail, lengthening the entire loop to five kilometers. A new sprint course, up to nine meters wide in some parts, has been configured into the trail design as well. The new racing venue, designed with both recreational and competitive skiers in mind, will be completed for the 2008-2009 ski season and will solidify Jackson XC’s reputation as one of the premier racing venues in the east.
â€œCreating a racing trail which will be technically challenging, suitable for international events, yet still fun for a range of Nordic enthusiasts to ski was a complex puzzle,â€ remarked Morton, â€œbut developing the solution made the effort enjoyable.