Dan Voisin, a 37-year-old environmental consultant from Montpelier, placed seventh in the Maple Onion 15K freestyle race. John Morton, who designed the course, refers to it as being “in the Norwegian style of manageable climbs and exhilarating descents,” and Voisin agrees with that characterization.
VS: Was this your first time doing the Maple Onion?
DV: I’ve done it a few times before, and I’m familiar with the terrain at Morse Farm since I’ve been racing there for a while. When there’s good snow, Morse Farm is a great place to ski and these last few weeks have had really great skiing. There were a couple of years when they couldn’t run the Maple Onion because there wasn’t enough snow, and one year they couldn’t run it because there was too much snow, but this year the timing was just right.
VS: Was the course challenging?
DV: It’s a great skiers’ course with lots of turns. You’re always going up or down, and it’s never boring. They held the race on a 5K loop in an area they call Dot’s Meadow and Harry’s Heaven. It might be tame compared to some courses, but I like the fact that the trails look like what New England ski-racing used to be: curving, narrow, and undulating. You’re constantly changing techniques as well as what side you’re poling on.
VS: How were conditions?
DV: Conditions were fantastic. Their groomers did a fantastic job.
VS: Only 17 people competed. To what do you attribute that small number?
DV: It’s really hard to find a weekend when there isn’t a lot going on and this was no exception. We were up against winter break and the Stowe Derby was the next day, so I think some skiers were saving themselves for that.
VS: What was the best part of the race?
DV: It’s fun to race against guys I train with and friends I see at other races. It’s also fun to ski on your home course, and it’s a great course to ski fast on. The downhill from Harry’s Heaven has some nice technical turns. After the race, the Onion River Nordic Ski Club (not affiliated with the store) held our winter carnival with jumps, a slalom course, and s’mores in the afternoon, so it was a full day of ski events.
VS: If you were in charge of the race, would you do anything differently?
DV: I don’t think so. I’ve run ski races before, and it’s hard to do everything perfectly, but Onion River has been doing this long enough to have everything in place.