Craftsbury, VT – Cool temperatures, a light covering of new snow, and the deep base of artificial snow on the race trail at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center today made it feel like winter for the over three hundred competitors at the TD Bank Eastern Cup Opener here today.
The day featured two events, both in the classic technique. The racers who travelled from Quebec, Ottawa, New York and the New England states brought with them a huge variety of time on snow because of the very mild winter in the northeast. Some had travelled to places like Finland and West Yellowstone for early snow, while those from Maine’s Aroostook County had enjoyed training on natural snow for the past ten days. One of NENSA’s strongest clubs, the Cambridge Sports Union (CSU) were mostly on snow for the first time and because of this chose to participate only in this morning’s sprint event.
It was one of these CSU skiers who started the day off with some fireworks, blazing around the sprint course for a big 6.51 second victory over Craftsbury’s own Green Racing Project athlete Clare Egan. Dartmouth’s Sophie Caldwell and Middlebury’s Heather Mooney earned third and fourth.
Tim Reynolds from the Craftsbury Green Racing Project started off his big day with a dominating victory in the men’s sprint. He bested teammate Patrick O’Brien and UVM’s Alex Howe. Skyler Davis (Stratton/US Ski Team) was fourth, having just returned from a World Cup stint in Germany and Italy.
The skiers returned to the snow for an afternoon 3K “prologue”-style event. With Stock taking the afternoon off, the door was opened for Sophie Caldwell who added a victory to her third place finish in the morning. The Green Racing Project continued their strong day with Maria Stuber in second and Clare Egan third. UVM’s Anja Gruber was strong in 4th.
The men raced again, but the result was largely the same with Reynolds, O’Brien, and Howe once again going 1-2-3. With Skyler Davis heading home after the morning event, the Green Racing Project’s Dylan McGuffin stepped into the void to grab fourth. Davis tweeted, “Thanks for all the hard work on the trails… Not best feeling race today – Going home for Some RR and sleep!” alluding to feeling a bit worn out from his recent trip.
NENSA’s Competitive Programs Director Janice Sibilia commented on the day, “The classic format added to the challenge but the tracks held up well. I saw a lot of smiling faces and appreciative racers who had a great time racing and spectating today!”
While the venue was full of chatter about the great performances from amazing athletes, most of the buzz was about the host Craftsbury Outdoor Center and their amazing dedication to pulling off such a high quality even in extremely challenging circumstances. With temperatures rarely falling below freezing in recent weeks, the crew had to be ready to make snow at every opportunity. Even that was threatened with Wednesday and Thursday’s warm drizzly rain. Luckily, they had stockpiled enough snow and carefully planned when and where to move it. The result was fantastic and our entire New England xc skiing community is grateful for their effort.
Full Results: https://www.nensa.net/news/index.php?id=5038