TDBank Eastern Cup
Dec. 17–18, 2011
Craftsbury Outdoor Center
This is the second consecutive year Craftsbury has hosted the race, which consists of several different Fédération Internationale de Ski–scored races. Saturday opened with a 1.4K classic sprint qualifier in the morning, followed by a 3K classic prologue in the afternoon. Sunday featured 5K and 10K interval start freestyle races. The women’s division was won handily by Sophie Caldwell, a Dartmouth College senior from Peru, Vermont, who claimed her fourth Eastern Cup victory.
VS: How does Craftsbury compare to the other locations where the Eastern Cup has taken place?
SC: I really like Craftsbury, and we were lucky enough to stay at the center. It was great to sleep right next to the trails and get our food there, and we were thankful they have snowmaking. I really like the venue. I’ve trained there in the off-season, as well.
VS: Were you worried the race wasn’t going to take place?
SC: I was at first, but I knew that Craftsbury has snowmaking, and as long as you can get a 1K loop, you can hold a race, even though it often means a lot of laps. They put together a 1.5K loop, and since the races were short, there weren’t that many laps. This season has been a bit depressing so far with the lack of snow, so it was great that they were able to get the races in.
VS: Was it a challenging course?
SC: It was a fairly flat course. Some people think that makes it easy, but without downhill sections, there isn’t much recovery time. There were some decent uphill sections in the loop but no huge downhills. Although the strongest skiers are in Europe now, there were still a lot of great skiers. Pretty much all the eastern skiers were there including a lot of college skiers who had finished their exams and were able to fit in a race before going home for Christmas. It was a pretty strong field, and the race is really good preparation for Nationals.
VS: Was there a memorable moment in any of the races?
SC: The whole event was fun. I really enjoyed the 5K skate. I felt good, and it was my first hard, longer race on snow, but I liked all the events. They’re all exciting and different.
VS: Is there any way the race could be improved?
SC: I can’t think of anything. I was really impressed with the whole weekend. It was great that that they could pull it together with so little snow.