March 5, Rangeley, Maine- On the morning of the 13th Annual Rangeley Lakes Loppet hosted by the Rangeley Lakes Trails Center, dry snowfall around a quarter of an inch, adding an element of difficulty to what is an already challenging race. About 100 freestyle and classic skiers had to change their waxing in order to adjust for the colder and dry snow conditions forecasted. Racers had the option of doing one or two laps of the Rangeley Center’s “Outer Limits” course that takes skiers about the base of Saddleback Mountain
In the men’s 50 k race, it was Jake Hollenbach of Vermont Cross Country (VTXC) who brought home the win, after battling it out with Gordon Vermeer of Dartmouth College and Phil Lawson of Mt. Washington Nordic. The three of them broke away from the lead pack, but only Hollenbach was successful enough to surge away in the end for the win.
Hollenbach’s teammate Sabra Davidson was the ladies’ top skier, as she worked her into a men’s pack early in the race and never looked back. Dartmouth skiers Megan Killegrew and Stephanie Crocker worked hard to close the gap, but eventually could not. Maine Winter Sports Club’s Katrina Howe was far from the front in the beginning, but she managed to work to finish second ahead of Crocker.
In the 25 k freestyle division, Evan Martell of Burke Mountain Academy and Susan Lawson won, with Dennis Page (Dartmouth) and Kaitlin Fink (Burke) winning the 25 k classic race. The Rangeley Lakes Loppet is a part of the NENSA Marathon Series, which concludes on March 19th at Carrabassett Valley, ME with the Sugarloaf Ski Marathon.
Results can be found here
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, politics, and skiing (not necessarily all related) while based out of Crested Butte, CO, where he coaches the best group of high schoolers one could hope to find.