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Craftsbury Ski Marathon recap

January 30, 2010

The classic long distance winter event around here, the Craftsbury Ski Marathon, was  Saturday, January 30th.  On a normal year, the 50K course would run as 2x25K laps from Craftsbury Common to loops around the ski center and back.  This year, however, was notably not normal.  Monday it rained hard, and was about 50F.  Not exactly primo skiing conditions, especially since the snowpack wasn’t particularly robust.  Kids from the Burke Mountain Academy and Craftsbury got out in droves with snow shovels to harvest snow from the woods, building up a respectable 12.5K loop.  This was the Masters Nationals, for heavens sake!

At Friday night’s Onion River Nordic pre-race waxing potluck at Morse Farm, the discussion revolved around whether to klister or to hard wax.  The forecast was for cold, near zero.  That caused a bunch of folks to downgrade their race registration from 50K to 25K.  Come race day, there were an unusual number of DNS, presumably due to the nippy temperatures.  Lexi’s age bracket in the 50K was down to 2 people.  Linnaea and I were rooting for her to bring home some pottery, the traditional age group prize.

Friday night the temperature got down to -15F, so there weren’t concerns about puddles.  Lexi brought along a pile of chemical handwarmers to keep the fingers happy.  After some poorly executed Presidential Traverse attempts back in college, her fingers are prone to frostbite.  Hence goal #1: no frostbite.  Goal #2: don’t come in dead last.

The race field was faster than usual.  Strong skiers came from around the country to compete in the Masters Nationals, and some of the more recreational locals opted to stay home with a mug of steaming cocoa.  The temperature ranged from 5 below to 5 above.  Thanks to all the shoveling, the course was a white carpet snaking through brown woods.

Lexi succeeded on both goals, finishing the 50K in 4:45.  Dan Voisin threw down a 3:06.  Nick Pettersen managed a 3:09 after being up to his ears with business at The Confluence, and getting only 50K on snow.  Paul Houchens made it to the finish line with a tweaked ankle, and was rewarded with a mysterious raffle prize…was it solidified Hammer Gel, or was it klister?

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