GILFORD, NH — Final preparations are underway for the formal dedication of the newly-constructed, T. Gary Allen Clubhouse of the Gunstock Nordic Association (GNA). The public is invited to attend the ceremony scheduled to take place on Sunday, September 21, 2008, at 2 p.m. at Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford, New Hampshire, location of the headquarters of GNA.
The roots of the Gunstock Nordic Association are buried deep within the Gilford Outing Club, both organizations being founded by, among others, T. Gary Allen.
The Gilford Outing Club was first established in 1947 by Marty Hall, Sr., Gus Pitou, and T. Gary Allen. It started small, with 10 families, on the picturesque slopes of Gilford. It rapidly grew into a highly-respected club, producing such skiing stars as Olympic medalist, Penny Pitou, Olympians Dick Taylor and Teyck Weed, Mike Wallace, Marty and Linda Hall, and many others.
Established in 1971, the Gunstock Nordic Association quickly became host to national and international competitions with over 6,000 spectators attending each event to watch World Class skiers sail off its modern, European-style ski jumps.
Since that time, the organization has consistently offered its facilities to Nordic skiers for training and competitive races, with Allen’s astonishing work ethic and drive remaining a vital part of the Association.
Today, as it flourishes, a new clubhouse has been constructed in order to keep up with the increasing demands of the ever-growing number of members and yearly events.
Andy Howe, president of GNA, explained why the new clubhouse is being named after the late T. Gary Allen.
â€œWe certainly didn’t want to diminish the efforts of all the great people who have been involved with this organization by focusing on just one individual,â€ explained Howe. â€œGary was one of the founders of GNA and did so much to bring Nordic skiing to this area. By naming the clubhouse after him, we felt it was one small way we could honor his hard work, dedication, and many contributions to this sport.â€
The new clubhouse is the brain-child of Howe. He, along with his wife, Martina, and the organization’s many volunteers, struggled to run the Association within the confines of an old, dilapidated shack located at the base of the ski jumps at Gunstock. Having out-grown the facility, the organization began construction of the new clubhouse in the fall of 2006. It was completed this past spring.
While the clubhouse was under construction at the base of Cobble Mountain at Gunstock, the need for new cross-country trails became apparent. By hiring professional trail designer, John Morton, himself a bi-athlete, a new racing trail network was set in place. By upgrading approximately 75 percent of the original 1930’s cross-country trails that were already there, and by adding new trails, GNA now boasts a state-of-the-art trail network. This network is spectator-friendly and is built within the boundaries of Gunstock’s recreational trail.
â€œWhen we were located at the base of the jumps, our trails had to be compact. That design worked very well since the spectators enjoyed being able to see more of the races; we just continued with what we knew was successful,â€ said Howe.
In keeping with T. Gary Allen’s use of ever-innovative ideas and by acting on the suggestion of one of their coaches, Igor Badamshin, GNA created a way to make snow for their trails instead of having to rely entirely on Mother Nature. Currently, snow for the cross-country trails is made and transported from the main snowmaking system at Gunstock. Work has begun to create a system that is independent, more efficient, and delivers snow right to the site of the trails.
â€œBecause the new trail system is very compact, it will not be at all difficult for us to make snow once we have an independent snowmaking system in place,â€ commented Howe.
With a completely new facility, coupled with the ability to make snow if necessary, GNA will be the host to numerous regional races during the upcoming 2008-09 winter season, making it one of the most popular and progressive Nordic organizations in the region.
Continuing to be as forward-thinking as possible, the energetic members of GNA have added the restoration of the historic ski jumps to their list of goals. To this organization, the preservation of their history is just as important as focusing on the future, a fact that surely would have pleased one of their founders, T. Gary Allen.
For more information about the dedication ceremony or about GNA, please call: 603- 293-7070, or visit the GNA website at: www.gunstocknordic.com.