Catamount Outdoor Center sells, Bolton Valley brings back downhill mountain biking and a few Vermont athletes brave hordes of jellyfish at the Triathlon World Championships.
Vermonters Win World Multisport Champs
“What I wasn’t prepared for was jellyfish,” Richmond’s Courtney Kaup said after winning her age group in the cross triathlon in the Fyn ITU Multisport World Championships in Denmark in July. Kaup, 40, along with Karen Newman, 57, of South Burlington, and Stowe’s Keith Woodward, 67, was part of Team USA, racing against the globe’s best triathletes—both pros and amateur age groupers—from around the world. Woodward, a perennial contender in the Worlds, also took gold, once again, in the 65-69 age group in the sprint duathlon (run, bike, run) and Newman finished sixth in the aquathalon (swim, bike).
Kaup, a physical therapist with DeePT, not only won her age group by a whopping four minutes, she finished ninth of all women (pros included). Kaup and others had to swim through a veritable morass of jellyfish, both stinging and non-stinging, before making her way to a largely off-road bike and then a trail run that actually went through a circus. The distances were a 1K swim, 27K mountain bike and a 10K run.
“I’ve been training for this and making this my A race,” said Kaup who doesn’t use a coach and just recently started training with a hear rate monitor. “I’ve been really old school and just decided I should try it,” she says. It helped.
Kaup has raced both off- and on-road triathlons but has focused on off-road the last three years. “It’s safer, you don’t have to worry about cars,” she says. Three years ago, a friend of hers, Richard Tom, was killed by a speeding teenager in Hinesburg.
She’s since excelled at off-road, finishing first in the 35-39 age group last October in the XTerra World Championships in Maui in 2017, 12th overall and second of all amateurs. What’s next? Back to the XTerra and after that? “Who knows,” she says. “Women in their 40s are really, really fast.”
As for Woodward, in 2012 he was inducted into the Mt. Washington Road Race Hall of Fame for having run the race 37 times, winning it in 1983 and setting a men’s age group record for ages 60-64. A groomer at Crafstbury Outdoor Center, Woodward also won his age group in the Duathlon World Championship in 2013 and 2017.—L.G.
Bolton Valley Brings Biking Back
About 15 years ago, Bolton Valley was known for rugged downhill trails with steep, tight sections, technical bridges and big air. After a decade of dormancy, the DesLauriers family plans to bring that reputation back. In May, Bolton Valley announced plans to host alternating bi-weekly singletrack mountain bike group rides and volunteer trail days to “kick off Bolton’s re-
entry into the mountain bike scene.”
Bolton plans to establish a solid uphill trail on the Wilderness section of the mountain and to refurbish and re-open six of the original downhill trails. The jump trail under the lower Wilderness lift line will also be rehabilitated. An eight-trail expansion is slated for the future.
As of press time, improvements to the existing uphill trail were close to completion. All trails are open to human-powered bike traffic. Access is free for summer 2018, and Bolton is hosting weekly group rides on Thursday nights. —Abagael Giles
Vermont Skiers Up for Sportswomen of the Year
Every year the Women’s Sports Foundation recognizes one individual sport athlete and team sport athletes whose performances over the last twelve months have been exceptional. For 2018, several Vermont athletes made the cut.
In the individual sport category, Burke Mountain Academy graduate Mikaela Schiffrin was nominated for Sportswoman of the Year. Schiffrin is currently ranked number one in alpine skiing World Cup standings by the International Skiing Federation. She had a big year, winning gold in the giant slalom and silver in the alpine combined at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PeyongChang.
Nordic skiers Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall were nominated in the team sports category for their gold medal in the team sprint at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. They were the first American team to win a gold in that event. Diggins is a graduate of Stratton Mountain School and has a home near there. Cast your vote at sportswomanoftheyear.com by Aug. 3.—A.G.
Sold: Catamount Outdoor Center
If all goes as planned, the Town of Williston could assume ownership of the Catamount Outdoor Family Center property by October. The property has been owned by the McCullough family since 1978. They have since retired from operating the nonprofit outdoor center, which draws more than 20,000 mountain bikers, runners and skiers to use its 20-plus mile trail network each year. The Trust for Public Land is brokering the sale.
On July 10, Williston’s selectboard voted unanimously to authorize the signing of a purchase agreement with the Trust for Public Land for the 393-acre property, and to allocate $600,000 from the town’s environmental reserve funds toward the purchase. On July 25, Project Manager Kate Wanner reported that the agency has raised all but $138,000 of the $1.9 million needed for the Town to purchase the property.
Once the purchase is complete, the property will be renamed the Catamount Community Forest and managed under a conservation easement. Catamount Outdoor Center will continue its current operations at the site, but will no longer charge fees for pedestrian traffic on its trails.
Since the project’s initiation, a neighbor has offered to donate 18 acres of land adjacent to the Catamount property to the town. —A.G.
This summer, Vermont State Parks collaborated with Burlington’s Outdoor Gear Exchange to offer first-time campers free rental camping equipment and instruction in how to use it through the First Time Happy Camper Program. A free campsite was also part of the deal, with campers selecting a weekend away at Bomoseen, Button Bay, Grand Isle, Stillwater or Woodford State Parks.
According to Marc Sherman, owner and founder of Outdoor Gear Exchange, the goal of the program was to break down economic barriers that keep some Vermonters from enjoying public lands and resources through outdoor recreation.
The program is the brainchild of Sherman, who serves on the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative, a group of outdoor recreation leaders tasked by Governor Phil Scott with boosting Vermont’s outdoor recreation economy and creating new recreation opportunities. Sherman worked with Kelty, Mountainsmith, Black Diamond and Primus to secure gear donations for the program and offered heavily discounted $35 summer weight sleeping bags through OGE.
Sherman said the pilot program saw 70 applications on the first day it was launched in late June 2018. Though the program is a pilot, Sherman said he hopes it will someday be funded by the State. According to Rochelle Skinner, Parks Sales and Service Manager for Vermont State Parks, 600 people signed up for the program this summer, and 14 families had participated as of press time. To apply, visit www.vtstateparks.com/happy-camper. —A.G.
How Bike-Friendly Is Vermont?
According to biking advocacy group PeopleForBikes, not-so-friendly. In the organization’s PlacesForBikes City Rankings survey, a two-year data-driven project that awards cities and towns a score based on the quality of cycling life they offer, Burlington earned a 2.1 out of a possible 5, Middlebury earned a 1.4, Rutland earned a 1.5 and Brattleboro took home a 0.9. In contrast, Las Vegas, NV earned a 2.6.
The highest-scoring cities on the survey were Fort Collins and Boulder, Co. and Wausau, Wisc. – all of which earned overall scores of 3.5 out of 5. PlacesForBikes rated 484 towns and cities. The overall scores awarded were based on ridership, safety, connectivity, the reach of biking infrastructure within a community and how fast biking infrastructure is growing. —A.G.
The Wrecktangle’S Ready
In June, Killington Resort opened the Woodward WreckTangle, an outdoor Ninja obstacle course equipped with cargo nets, balance beams, rope swings and more. It is one of five Wrecktangle courses in the world, which means you can compete virtually with competitors at other sites. Killington’s course serves up 10 unique variations. The course offers great fun for kids (seven and older) and adults alike.
A day pass to the Adventure Center earns you access, at $70 for participants seven and older, and $42 for kids six and under. The Adventure Center includes the Beast Mountain Coaster, Zip Line, a bunjee Jump Tower, the Skye Ropes Course, Trampoline Jump, Alpine Tubing and a massive maze. —A.G.
Shale Hill Says Goodbye
On July 4, Shale Hill Adventure Farm announced that it will no longer offer day-to-day obstacle course training, effective after the 24 Hours of Shale Hell race on July 7. The Polar Bear 8, scheduled for February 2, 2019, will be the obstacle racing center’s last event. According to owner Jill Bogert, the business and 141-acre property are for sale. —A.G.
Railbike the ADK
Want a different way to explore a beautiful section of the Adirondack Park? Try a railbike. Revolution Rail Co. is offering 2-hour, 6-mile excursions out of North Creek Railroad Station on self-pedaling contraptions that attach directly to the historic railroad tracks. Participants pedal their way uphill one way, along the banks of the Hudson River and up off the ground into the Adirondack forest canopy. The tour even crosses the Hudson via a historic trestle bridge before descending back to the station. Rental prices are set per bike, at $140 for a quad and $80 for a trip on a tandem bike. Tours run daily every two hours from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. —A.G. Photo by Madeline Chapin