March 6, Gorham, New Hampshire– Advertised “North America’s Toughest 10 k”, the annual Ski ToThe Clouds race had a record turnout of participants despite the drizzling rain. 66 racers toed the line to ski to and up part of the Mt. Washington Auto Road for bragging rights and $1400 in cash purse for the winners. In the spirit of a true freestyle event, skiers are encouraged to use any ski discipline to ascend 700 meters in 6 k. For comparison, the final climb of the Tour De Ski is a little over 400 meters in climbing over 3.7k- similar numbers to make both a grueling race.
Victory in the men’s race went to Justin Freeman of Holderness, former Olympic Skier and winner of the past three Ski To The Clouds, as he pulled away one kilometer into the climb and never looked back to finish with a time of 43:25. University of New Hampshire Assistant Coach Stephen Monsulick was second in a time of 45:12 and Sam Evans-Brown was third in 45:51. Freeman’s victory this year marked the largest margin he has ever won by for the four years he has raced this race.
The women’s winner was Bates skier Beth Taylor, who crossed the line in a time of 55:38. Taylor had a similar race to Freeman’s, as she pulled away early on the climb to win by a comfortable margin of 47 seconds over Ellery Leeds of the University of Vermont. In third was Katie Miller from the University of New Hampshire, finishing in a time of 57:33.
Results can be found here.
Photos of the days race are here
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Ben Theyerl was born into a family now three-generations into nordic ski racing in the US. He grew up skiing for Chippewa Valley Nordic in his native Eau Claire, Wisconsin, before spending four years racing for Colby College in Maine. He currently mixes writing and skiing while based out of Crested Butte, CO, where he coaches the best group of high schoolers one could hope to find.