Published on May 1st, 2012 | by Phyl Newbeck0
Magic Mountain Rando Race | Race Recap May 2012
Frustrated by a lean winter that limited his backcountry skiing, 57-year-old Steven Sauvé of Pownal decided to enter the Rando (randonée) Race at Magic Mountain, which is part of the Northeast Rando Race Series. A guitarmaker by trade, Sauvé is the Ski Patrol director at Mount Greylock Ski Club.
VS: How did the race work?
SS: There was a two-lap and a three-lap version. Essentially, we made a big circle around the outside of the mountain. There was a mass start where we ran up to our skis, which were at the starting line. We skinned up one side of the mountain on Magic Carpet and Up Your Sleeve, and then after the transition area, we skied down the other side via Wizard and Talisman, which are black diamond trails. On the third lap, you had to go up the middle of the mountain on Show Off and Twilight Zone, but for about a third of Twilight Zone (appropriately named to match my fatigue level), you had to take off your skis and hike. That part was a little tricky, trying to get a purchase on the ice with your ski boots.
VS: Was this your first rando race?
SS: Yes. I’m normally a backcountry skier, and this has been such a lackluster winter that I was looking for an opportunity to get out. Mount Greylock was only open for four or five days this year, and I felt like I’ve invested all this money in ski equipment that’s just collecting dust. When I found out that you needn’t be a strong competitor to enter, I was interested. I thought I’d be happy just to finish, but my ego got in the way of that. I felt good until I realized I finished ninth out of 11 who did the longer version. I was a competitor when I was younger, so it was discouraging, but I was the oldest in the group. I hate to use age as an excuse, but it’s hard to race against 30-year-olds. I skin up Mount Snow once or twice a week before work, but some of those guys really trained.
VS: What was the appeal of the race for you?
SS: Normally when I skin up, I take breaks to look at the view and eat, and there is no agenda. I wanted to test my self-discipline as much as my physical ability.
VS: What do you like about it?
SS: It was a very nice bunch of people. I’m used to races where at the end of the event, the competitive guys go off in their corner and the citizen class isn’t included, but here, everyone was really welcoming. Everybody seemed to appreciate everyone else who finished the race. I liked that it was friendly, low-key, and small. There was good food and good beer, and it’s just a great mountain. They have a really good chef at Magic, and it’s worth it to go for the food even if you don’t ski.
VS: What was the best part of the race?
SS: Meeting such a nice group of people. I expected 50 or 60 people, but there were only 15, including the organizer and promoter. The best part of it was finishing standing up and being able to smile. For me, it was an accomplishment to have completed three laps knowing it wasn’t an easy course.
VS: Would you do anything differently?
SS: I don’t think so. They’ve got it dialed in. At the start, they said we were there to have fun, and they called it a wacky event. I’d rather hear that than hear that you have to bleed to win. Basically the rules were that you needed to wear a helmet and not do anything that ski patrol couldn’t approve of. It was loose enough to be low-key, but there were enough rules and restrictions to make it safe.