CHNSA committed to its first high school ski race since the early 90s, and we watched it unfold with great anticipation. Little did we know when we signed on what we were in for. We quickly realized that we needed a much wider start/finish area that could also handle 2-way traffic. As the Monday, March 1 race day approached, we scanned the 5-day forecast and realized we had two days to widen the 2-way zone from 10′ to 30′ and move massive amounts of snow from the parking lot snowbanks to re-establish a skiable snow surface before being inundated by 250 young racers from MMUHS, CVU, Burlington HS, South Burlington, Colchester HS, Essex HS, and BFA Fairfax.
Enter the heavy equipment (bucket loader, dump truck, and excavator) and a crew that worked for 12 hours straight to clear trees and move snow. Local MMUHS ski team members, Willem and Shea Smith, and their dad, Nils, operated the heavy equipment, groomed the race course, and fabricated the course markers in the Smith family wood shop. In the end, the road, the parking, and the course held up long enough to pull off the race despite the thaw that descended upon us a couple of days before the race.
The skate race, which started for skiers from MMUHS and Burlington HS at 10am in the midst of 40 degree temperatures and puddles in the parking lot, was an interval start for pairs of skiers. By the time the last racer crossed the finish line, it was after 5pm with dusk closing in and bitter cold winds and sleet whipping the course. For the crew at CHNSA, however, there was much satisfaction in having pulled off the whole show. Is there another race in the CHNSA future? There is considerable enthusiasm to support the idea, which we’ll explore this summer, so stay tuned!