The 2019 Eastern Cup season will go down as one of the best in recent history and our two New Hampshire venues this past weekend put on a show – with exciting events for competitors and spectators alike. On Saturday many competitors took to the Dublin School trails for the first time for an exciting two race freestyle format, dubbed the Dublin Double. Sunday, the Holderness School hosted the perennial Cheri Walsh classic race, complete with live music and an optional terrain feature in the course. With Junior National qualification on the line teams showed up ready to race!
During development of the Eastern Cup schedule for 2019 we received a bid from the Dublin School to utilize their John Morton designed trails, which were developed in 2014 and recently met International Ski Federation (FIS) homologation standards. Dublin ski coach and Head of School Brad Bates, describes the the course as a balance of the, “artistry of John Morton and the technical aspects required by the FIS.” The challenging climbs and twisting descents, which sit above 1500 feet in elevation lent themselves to fast paced interval start racing of both a 3km prologue and a 1.5km sprint. Racers were treated to two separate courses as they contested two of the distances that are raced at Junior Nationals (3km relay, 1.5km sprint qualification). The courses were described by many as “super challenging” and “wicked fun” – with little rest and technical corners racers were forced to put forth maximum effort during their entire time on course. Bullitt Timing added a nice twist to the event by offering a speed trap on the final descent of the 3km – giving athletes an added challenge to see who could post the top speed of the day. At the end of the day it was Charlotte Ogden of SMS (40.65 km) and Brian Bushey (44 km) of GMVS who posted the fastest km per hour. Fantastic photos from the event.
Sunday racers were greeted by a snowy landscape for the final Eastern Cup of the year at the Holderness School. Classic specialists look forward to the Cheri Walsh Memorial every year as it’s undulating terrain and narrow trails lend themselves to traditional technique and skiers who are able to work transitions. Mr. Patrick Casey, the Holderness Nordic Coach, embraced the movement towards fun or skills based learning and created a terrain feature that competitors had the option of navigating during the race. This feature along with several other bumps, jumps and obstacles were also used in the Bill Koch race later in the afternoon. While skiers and coaches were focussed on top performances in tricky waxing conditions – the terrain features and lively atmosphere of the stadium kept everyone entertained and lighthearted. Following the races skiers entered the Gymnasium for a raffle, awards and the naming of the 2019 Junior Nationals team.
NENSA would like to acknowledge the incredible job that these two venues did to showcase our sport and to provide high level competition to New England athletes. There are so many people who work tirelessly to put on these events, including: the organizing committees, race officials, volunteers, timers, parents and coaches to name a few – but when you attend the events you know why we all keep coming back! Our hats are off to all of you and we wish you the best of luck in your end of season events!!