On the Horizon: Upcoming Nordic and Randonee Races

This winter, Nordic skiers of all abilities and styles will gather at Nordic ski areas across the state for heels-free fun and competition. Here’s what you can look forward to:

Dec. 31 through Feb. 25
Trapp Family Lodge Cross-Country Ski Center
Trapp Nordic Cup Time Trial Series (Every Tuesday for 10 weeks)
This 10-week series with prizes for both skate and classic is a great introduction to Nordic racing for the beginner and awesome training for the experienced skier. Cost is $60 for the series or $8 per race. Compete each week on a marked course with timing and start area. Pick your start time each day between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Jan. 4
Rikert Nordic Center
Dion/Rikert 5K Snowshoe Race
Part of a series, snowshoe racing puts a different spin on winter. Fast-paced fun—use your own snowshoes or try a racing pair.

Tuesdays, Jan. 7 through March 11
Craftsbury Outdoor Center
Weekly Tuesday Races
Craftsbury enters its second year of weekly cross-country races. As was the case last year, the center will offer traditional and self-timed versions, both counting toward the overall points series. Races will primarily be mass starts.

Jan. 10
Jay Peak Resort
Jay Peak Rando & Snow Leopard Challenge
The Jay Peak Rando is taking one large step forward this winter. The US Ski Mountaineering Association has sanctioned the course as a Category II, which means the course needs to be approximately 4,000 feet vertical, have 5 to 10 transitions, be 50 percent off-piste, and be under three hours for the winning time. The 2014 course will have 4,000 feet vertical, six transitions, two boot packs, along with multiple bumps and off-piste climbs/descents.

Jan. 11
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Winter Trails Day at Smugglers’ Notch Resort
A celebration of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, free for those new to both sports. Smugglers’ Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Adventure Center will provide free rentals and offer short instructional sessions from noon until 4 p.m. for first-time snowshoers and cross-country skiers.

Jan. 11
Trapp Family Lodge
Race to the Cabin
The Race to the Cabin is a 5K classic point-to-point beginning at the Trapp Family Lodge Outdoor Center and ending at the Slayton Pasture Cabin. The race is mass start and self-seeded. Dry clothes will be taken to the finish for you. A touring division is also available for those wanting to take in the scenery on this beautiful ski. Proceeds benefit VTXC, a Stowe-area-based ski club that provides professional level coaching for athletes of all ages while accelerating the club’s post-collegiate marathon team.

Jan. 11
Trapp Family Lodge
Ladies Nordic Ski Expo
The Catamount Trail Association presents a full day of Nordic (skate and classic), backcountry, and telemark instruction for women, by women, at one of the best venues in the Northeast. This is a unique opportunity for women to learn from some of the best female skiers in the country in a beautiful environment.

Jan. 12
Rikert Nordic Center
Frost Mountain Nordic Bill Koch Home Race
Frost Mountain Nordic Ski Club hosts its annual Bill Koch Youth Ski League Races at Rikert. Open to kids who want to see how much fun racing can be.

Jan. 18
Trapp Family Lodge
Tour de Trapp 30K/15K Skate Marathon
A great season opener for distance racing on a newly updated FIS racecourse. The two- or four-lap mass start skate race will be self-seeded and feature a 7.5K homologated race loop. Prizes and after party at the Trapp Brewery.

Jan. 18–19
Rikert Nordic Center
Eastern Colleges Ski Club Races
Division 3 college races sponsored by SKIGA

Jan. 19
Stowe Public Recreation Trail
Stowe Tour De Snow
Kids and families are invited to ski or snowshoe down the 5.3-mile Stowe public recreation path for a day of activities, including making s’mores, skiing a Nordic terrain park, shooting paintballs, pulling sleds, and stretching out with some yoga. Proceeds benefit the Skiing Kids in School Program. Event is put on by Friends of the Rec Path.

Feb. 1
Craftsbury Nordic Center
Craftsbury Marathon
The 2014 marathon will run in the traditional point-to-point format from Highland Lodge in Greensboro to Craftsbury Common via the Outdoor Center. The past several seasons have been marked by extensive work on the marathon trail: removing bumps, sharp corners, steep chutes, and poor drainage on the connector.

Feb. 1‒2
Trapp Family Lodge XC Center
NENSA Eastern Cup/UVM Carnival
The third weekend of NENSA Eastern Cup racing will also be another FIS race weekend. This Eastern Cup is a combined event with the UVM College Carnival and is hosted by Stowe Nordic Outing Club and UVM.

Feb. 2
Mad River Glen
Sugarbush Mad River Glen Randonee Race
One of the biggest and best Randonee races in North America—right in the Mad River Valley. This US Ski Mountaineer Association–sanctioned race starts at the base of Mad River Glen, climbs to the top, traverses the Long Trail to Mount Ellen, descends into Slide Brook, climbs into the Lincoln Peak area, and finishes at Valley House lodge. It’s a challenge, a great time, and the scenery is spectacular.

Feb. 7–9
Craftsbury Nordic Center
USSA SuperTour
The Center will play host to a USSA SuperTour event in conjunction with the Dartmouth Winter Carnival. The SuperTour/Carnival weekend will offer three FIS scored races: a freestyle individual start on Friday, a classic individual start on Saturday, and a freestyle sprint on Sunday. The first two races will be EISA scored as part of the Dartmouth Winter Carnival weekend. These races will bring together the best US domestic racers, a number of Canadian skiers, as well as the top EISA collegiate competitors on Craftsbury’s FIS homologated courses.

Feb. 9
Burke Mountain Resort
Rally on Burke Mountain
This US Ski Mountaineer Association event climbs up and around Q Burke, gaining approximately 4,300 vertical feet. Prizes awarded for speed, spirit, and participation.

Feb. 9
Rikert Nordic Center
J2/Eastern High School Qualifier
The best high school racers and junior skiers compete for a chance to represent Vermont at the Eastern Championships here in March.

Feb. 15
Rikert Nordic Center
Romance Half-Marathon Race and Tour
Bring your sweetie or just yourself and enjoy a 25K race and tour through the beautiful Green Mountains. Classic technique. Hot blueberry soup on the trail, awards, raffle prizes, and good food await at the end. Event benefits the VT Ski and Snowboard Museum.

Feb. 15
Bolton Valley Resort and West Monitor Barn
Bolton to the Barns
The fifth annual Bolton to the Barns Backcountry Ski Tour is a Nordic event for experienced backcountry ski enthusiasts. Skiers will choose between an easier and a more challenging route, start at the Bolton Valley Nordic Center, and finish at the Monitor Barns.

Feb. 20
Rikert Nordic Center
Vermont High School State Championships
The best high school Nordic skiers race at Rikert for all bragging rights of the season.

Feb. 21‒22
Rikert Nordic Center
Middlebury College Winter Carnival
The best Division I collegiate racers in the country will race at the Middlebury Carnival. Two-day event on the Tormondsen Family Race Trail. 2/21: Classic Ind. Start: W 5K, M 10K; 2/22 Skate Mass Start: W 15K, M 20K. Spectators/foot traffic free; skiers need trail pass.

Feb. 22
Kingdom Trails
Ride, Glide, and Rawhide
Join Kingdom Trails in a race that celebrates all winter disciplines in a very undisciplined way. Teams will race on skis, snowshoes, and fat bikes in a short-course manner that will be fun for racers and spectators alike. After party to follow hosted by the Wildflower Inn.

Feb. 23
Mount Mansfield Auto Toll Road
2014 Stowe Derby
The Stowe Derby started in 1945 as a contest between two skiers, Austrian Sepp Ruschp, who was hired to come to America and head the new ski school at Stowe, and Erling Strom, world-famous mountaineer from Norway. The challenge was the same as it is today: to race from the top of Mount Mansfield to the village of Stowe on one pair of skis. In 1945, Ruschp raced on backcountry skis and Strom on Nordic skis. Today, most everyone races on Nordic skis with spectacular falls by the rookies on the way down. The race attracts more than 900 competitors, from Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team members and NCAA champions to recreational skiers looking for a thrill. While the race can be very competitive at all levels, it is also a fun race, having been chosen as one of the top sporting events in the state by readers of Vermont Sports Magazine. 20K, 2,600 vertical feet.

Feb. 23
Camel’s Hump Nordic Ski Area, Huntington
Camel’s Hump Challenge
The Camel’s Hump Challenge follows a rigorous cross-country ski traverse around the entire mountain, ranging in elevation from 2,500 to 3,500 feet. Participants in the CHC raise money for support and educational programs for the Vermont Alzheimer’s Association.

March 1‒8
Trapp Family Lodge XC Center
Junior Nationals
This spring, The Trapp Family Lodge hosts the USSA Junior National Nordic Ski Championships. 450 Olympic hopeful athletes, ages 14 to 19, and 150 coaches from across the United States will spend a week in Stowe as they compete in a variety of race formats that alternate with training days. It truly will be a memorable experience for all as the athletes race and family and spectators cheer, and everyone enjoys the beautiful scenery and plentiful offerings of Vermont.

March 2
Rikert Nordic Center
Bread Loaf Citizens Race
The umpteenth running of the storied 5K Bread Loaf Citizens’ Race. Vie for the traditional loaf of bread and other prizes. Costumes or spandex, barbecue and fun. Lollipop Race for youngsters.

March 7
Rikert Nordic Center
J2 Championships
The J2 Championship is one of the highlights of the season for junior athletes. Each New England states and New York can qualify their fastest 20 14- to 15-year-old boys and girls. Four races over three days.

March 15‒16
Rikert Nordic Center
Can-Am Grand Prix
Youth racing with an International flair. Canadian and American boys and girls compete for the coveted Maple Leaf Points Trophy.

March 16
Magic Mountain
Magic Mountain Rando Race
Magic’s Rando race features both short (3,200 vertical feet) and full (4,550 vertical feet) options as racers skin, climb, and ski toward victory.

March 23
Bromley Rando Race
Using climbing skins with Alpine touring or telemark bindings or even splitboards, racers start at the base of the mountain, ascend it, then descend it (on marked in-bounds ski area trails), as fast as possible, over multiple laps, up to 5,000 feet cumulative vertical.

March 30
Rikert Nordic Center
Bob’s Birthday Bash and Annual Rikert Random Relays
Come celebrate Robert Frost’s birthday with Random Relays. A totally random day of great fun ending with Bob’s Birthday cake.

Evan Johnson

Evan Johnson is the staff writer for Vermont Sports Magazine. The native Vermonter enjoys steep and deep skiing and wandering all over the state by Subaru. Find him on Twitter at @evanisathome.