Celebrating a birthday often involves cake, candles, and a bit of singing. Not so for Chris Osgood and his 32-year-old son Brayton, a retired XC Oregon racer from Burlington, V.T., who participated in what they called the 60 for 60 rollerski on Nov. 16. Every year since turning 30, Chris has rollerskied his age in kilometers, culminating in this year’s ski. Bucking the traditional birthday merriments, he celebrated his sixth decade by rollerskiing 60 kilometers.
“This year was actually the third year in a row that we’ve done this ski,” Brayton explained in a phone interview. “The previous two were specific training for this year, to make sure that he’d be able to do it once he was 60.”
Chris, a resident of Putney, V.T., who got into nordic skiing at Dartmouth College and raced the national circuit for several years, was joined by Brayton, four-time Olympian Tim Caldwell, and Middlebury grad Shams Helminski. The four of them made their way through New Hampshire starting at Goose Lake Road and continuing for 60 k to the top of Route 118 on Mount Moosilauke.
While the first 15 k were mostly flat, the remaining 45 proved more challenging, with the final climb up Moosilauke being fairly substantial. Not only did they rollerski for 60 k, but both Chris and Tim wore breaks on their rollerskis to slow them down. The brakes were a necessary factor of the day because they made it “easier for the rest of us to keep up,” Brayton said.
See their route on Strava.
With the help of a support team, consisting of Chris’ wife, Mary Osgood, dispersed water breaks, and some pesto pizza, the four rollerskiers were able to complete their ski in five hours. Once they reached the top they were greeted with a wide spread of snacks and celebratory beers.
While it’s an easy bet that Chris would want to continue increasing his birthday skis by a kilometer each year, it’s likely that he will decrease the distance from now on, and “more quickly than he came up!” Brayton said.
It also doesn’t look like Brayton will be continuing his father’s tradition anytime soon, stating that a May birthday is often a hinderance to yearly rollerskis, especially when you’re a retired athlete. However the opportunity is still on the table. “You can never say never!” Brayton said.
Lander Karath is FasterSkier's Associate Editor from Bozeman, Montana and a Bridger Ski Foundation alumnus. Between his studies at Middlebury College in Vermont, he is an outdoor enthusiast and a political junkie.