Volunteers and race officials are scrambling to preserve what remains of the snow base in Rumford, Maine, with 16 hours to go before the first race of the 2011 U.S. National Championships.
Sunday’s classic sprint should still go off as scheduled. But despite the best efforts of organizers, temperatures in 40’s on Saturday decimated the trails at Black Mountain of Maine.
Late in the day, the 1.4-kilometer sprint course was a mix of clean, wet corn; soggy snow packed into ice; and messy sections where dirt, rocks, and even sticks had been mixed in.
Roughly a dozen volunteers were out on course all afternoon, but by 4 pm, organizers had brought in a bucket loader with spotlights to continue work as darkness descended.
The start and finish of the course, located in the stadium, are where snow conditions were best. But the top of the main climb, and the ensuing descent – both on a south-facing slope – need some work.
FasterSkier caught up with Chief of Course Ray Broomhall to discuss the challenges his crew is facing, as well as Boulder Nordic Sport Race Service Director Eric Pepper to talk waxing. With snow conditions varying all throughout the course, service staffs will have their work cut out for them on Sunday.
Check back later this evening for another update.
Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.