Craftsbury Rocks Race to the Top of Vermont!

Last Sunday, a group of Craftsbury juniors made the trek to Stowe to compete in the annual Race to the Top of Vermont. The race winds its way up the Toll Road on Mt. Mansfield, gaining over 2500 vertical feet in the course of 4.3 miles. It’s an uphill course that tests the determination of even the fittest competitor.
The Craftsbury juniors had awesome results in both the bike and run categories, taking many top honors in their respective age groups. In the 14 and under male run category, Bjorn Westervelt took first place in a time of 44:43, which put him in 23rd place overall! Brian Bushey took 2nd in 14 and under, and Cormac Leahy took 4th. In the 15 to 19 male age group, Matthew Lawlor took 4th place, and 16th overall.
In the 14 and under male bike category, Craftsbury swept the podium, with Trey Jones taking the win and 47th place overall, followed by David Moody in 2nd, and Trey’s brother Owen Jones in 3rd. Alan Moody and Sage Grossi finished 5th and 6th.
Enjoy some photos from the day!

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Craftsbury bikers ready for the gun!

Junior parent Matt Moody grinding it out on the road.

Junior parent Matt Moody grinding it out on the road.

Trey Jones with plenty of energy to spare! Popping a wheelie near the top

Trey Jones with plenty of energy to spare! Popping a wheelie near the top

Owen Jones holding off a pack

Alan Moody holding off a pack

Junior parent Richard Bushey cranking

Junior parent Richard Bushey cranking

Another shot of the junior boys at the start- this one was featured on the RTTOVT website

Another shot of the junior boys at the start- this one was featured on the RTTOVT website

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National U16 Camp

Editor’s note:  Last month, Craftsbury junior skiers Phoebe Sweet and Callie Young attended the National U16 Training Camp at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. Here’s an account of their travels and a few photos, too.

During the last week of July, we attended the National U16 camp in Duluth, Minnesota along with nine other New England skiers and about 40 other U16s from all around the country. To qualify for this camp you must be ranked top 20 in the country from your results at Junior Nationals. Each region gets a discretionary boy and girl pick as well. The week started for us with a fun afternoon shopping and overnight in Boston then an early morning to catch our 7:00 flight. After the flight and a long shuttle ride, (made bearable by a stop at an awesome bakery) we arrived at the St. Scholastica college campus to get settled in for the week.

The first day we had an easy skate roller skiing workout where we focused on technique followed by a tough strength test in the afternoon making us sore for many days to come. The next day we hopped in vans and headed to Spirit Mountain for a challenging uphill run rest. The test was difficult but Minnesota’s mountains are quite different from those we are used to here in Vermont! Even driving to the highest mountain nearby, the ~1.7 mile course contained more flat sections than we are used to at Elmore. The following day we headed to a bike path north of Duluth to classic ski with a focus on double poling. The workout included a technique station and some speeds where we had the opportunity to go head to head with new people. It was really cool to do speeds against people we will be competing with next winter at JNs!  The second workout of the day was agility and coordination drills lead by U.S ski team development coach Bryan Fish followed by a fun afternoon of field games and tug of war. A favorite workout for both of us was a skate sprint simulation where we raced an untimed prelim, then self seeded ourselves into heats where we raced against two other athletes we may not have gone head to head with before.

Some more relaxing afternoons included cliff jumping in Lake Superior, paddle boarding, and exploring downtown Duluth. Nearly every evening we had presentations on topics ranging from basic trainings strategies, collegiate skiing, and even a presentation from Jessie Diggins. It was very cool to have Jessie come for a day! She joined a roller ski and gave an evening talk about her experiences racing from Junior Nationals up to the World Cup. She emphasized how much of a role psychology plays in how fast you can go in a race which is definitely something we will both be thinking about going into next race season! The week as a whole was an awesome experience training in a new place, meeting new people, and learning more about our sport.

Some of the girls on the long run/hike

Some of the girls on the long run/hike

The scenery in Duluth was much different than the Long Trail

The scenery in Duluth was much different than the Long Trail

Everybody at a waterfall after a long rollerski

Everybody at a waterfall after a long rollerski

Pullups! Photo from www.skinnyski.com

Pullups! Photo from www.skinnyski.com

Callie during the uphill running time trial

Callie during the uphill running time trial

Phoebe during classic drills

Phoebe during classic drills

Time for a swim in Lake Superior!

Time for a swim in Lake Superior!

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Hilltop Cabins are Open!

Our Hilltop Cabins are now open! We’re excited to share these new accommodations with Craftsbury Outdoor Center guests. Enjoy the gallery below, which showcases the insides and outsides of the cabins.

 

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West Hill TT Round Two

Sunday dawned cool and clear, a perfect day to run as fast as possible up a steep hill. Twelve members of the masters crew (including a few first timers!) took to the slopes of West Hill for the second time trial of the year.

Every runner who ran in June improved on their previous mark for the year. Of the returning runners, five set new personal bests. Congrats to Judy, Patrick, Sung-Hee, Lindy, and Linda (and props to Dick who was 5 seconds off his best time). Special thanks goes out to the GRP’s Mary O’Connell for assisting with timing.

Runner .6mi Time 1.1mi Time
Lindy Sargent 7:19 12:34
Judy Geer 7:35 12:53
Dick Dreissigacker 7:34 12:58
Patrick Kane 7:45 13:01
Trina Hosmer 7:21 13:10
Linda Ramsdell 8:02 13:59
Ken Walker (no poles) 8:18 14:17
Sung-Hee Chung 8:27 15:15
Anne Galloway 8:57 15:27
Kathyrn Prentice 8:50 15:48
Dave Hosmer 9:25 17:05
Elinor Osborn 11:25 20:05
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Mia Zutter named to US Paralympic Development Team

In early June, Mia Zutter was named to the US Paralympic Development Team. Mia is a 16 year old visually impaired skier from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. This young athlete came to Craftsbury in January to compete in the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Nordic Skiing Continental Cup and US Paralympics Nationals. I had the opportunity to ski with Mia as her guide in two of the races: a classic sprint and a biathlon race. Two other Craftsbury community members, Linda Ramsdell and Peter Harris, were also Mia’s guides. The responsibility of the guide is to provide verbal direction to the skier as they navigate the course. Mia has limited peripheral vision, so our job was primarily to warn her about things directly in front of her, such as a classic track coming to an end.

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Learning the ropes of guiding from BethAnn before Mia and I’s first race together (John Lazenby photo)

Throughout the entire week of racing, Mia was consistently near or at the top of her race category. Her exemplary performance in Craftsbury, as well as the potential that the National Team coaches saw in her, qualified her to compete at a World Cup test event in Finesterau, Germany in late February. In addition to racing at the World Cup, Mia continued to do well on the Wisconsin high school circuit. Due to her strong results on international stage, Mia earned a spot on the US Paralympic Development team. Next year is a big year for the team, including World Championships and Olympic test events, as well as World Cups in Finland, Ukraine, and Japan.

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Warming up with Mia (John Lazenby photo)

Being a guide was a completely new experience for me. As a junior, I saw sit ski athletes racing in Rumford, Maine during Senior Nationals but that was the extent to which I had been exposed to Paralympic racing. When the IPC races were set to come to Craftsbury, I planned on being part of the timing crew for the week of racing. This seemed like a big enough responsibility, being a back up timer for a national championship! On the second day of racing, some scheduling conflicts pulled one of Mia’s guides away from skiing with her, and one of the US Team coaches, BethAnn, asked if I would like to ski with Mia. The race was the next day, so I didn’t have much time to think about the task that lay ahead – if I had, I certainly would have been more nervous. The first race I did with Mia was a classic sprint. We skied together for about a half hour before the race began, with BethAnn in tow to make sure everything was running smoothly. BethAnn provided pertinent coaching for both Mia and me in the short amount of time we spent skiing together.

In the same fashion as any cross-country sprint race, there are multiple rounds of racing, but due to the limited field size of these races, Mia did a qualifying round then proceeded directly to the final. Throughout the race, I had to be alert to the other skiers around us, terrain changes, and track changes. I spoke through a microphone with a speaker attached to my back for Mia to hear.

Near the end of the final, my enthusiasm and cheering got the best of me when we almost passed the competitor ahead of us and I temporarily paused my verbal instructions and it was all replaced by cheering. I apologized to Mia afterward, but she graciously assured me that it really was okay.

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Approaching the finish in the Biathlon Spring (John Lazenby photo)

Friday brought the next day of racing: biathlon. Both Mia and I were complete biathlon novices. Visually impaired athletes shoot with an auditory rifle, where the tone of the beep changes when they are on target. This was a biathlon sprint race, so racers skied a loop, shot once, skied another loop, shot once more, then skied one final loop. As with all biathlon sprints, this race was 7.5k, which was Mia’s longest race to date. This made the race an entirely new experience for Mia, as pacing became a much larger part of the game, as well as shooting.

Being a guide for Mia was yet another reminder to me about the multifaceted aspects of the ski world, as well as the welcoming nature of the Craftsbury community. It was amazing to see so many community members come out and cheer on these high caliber athletes as they challenged both themselves and each other. Though I was only there for a small blip in Mia’s ski career, I am immensely proud of what she has done thus far and can’t wait to see what she does in the future, especially as a newly minted member of the US Paralympic team.

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Mia on the range, shooting with an audio rifle (Mike Zutter photo)

 

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2016 West Hill TT Round One

This past week kicked off the 2016 summer training season for the Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club masters group. After easing in Wednesday with a light version of our traditional circuit strength, the crew assembled at the foot of West Hill Road this morning for the year’s first pole running time trial. We had our largest group yet. Results are below:

Runner .6mi Time 1.1mi Time
Peter Harris 7:00 11:59
Lindy Sargent 7:043 13:12
Judy Geer 7:53 13:18
Patrick Kane 7:59 13:21
Dick Dreissigacker 7:58 13:42
Linda Ramsdell 8:17 14:06
John Brodhead 8:32 14:56
Carol Van Dyke 8:35 15:05
Elinor Osborn 11:46 21:04
Gina Campolli (bike) n/a 13:05
Dave Sargent 7:41
George Hall 9:38
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Craftsbury Skiers Podium at Ski-Orienteering Championships

Head to head:  2 generations of Owens compete in the long distance race at US Ski-O Nats.

Head to head: 2 generations of Owens compete in the long distance race at US Ski-O Nats.

Editor’s Note:  big thanks to Allison Van Akkeren for sharing this race report and photos with us.

On the weekend of March 11-13, Adrian and Kestrel Owens were joined in Presque Isle, Maine by Melanie Sergiev to vie for North American championship titles in Ski-Orienteering (Ski-O) and potential starting spots on next year’s US team. They competed with 40 skiers from Canada and the United States in a different distance race each day, all of whom were greeted by good conditions in Northern Maine. The three Craftsbury skiers had never skied at Presque Isle before, and like the other racers were not allowed to see or ski on the trails before the races.

Friday afternoon’s warm, soft snow was the setting for the Sprint with an interval start. The sprint was just under 3 miles in length at a minimum, but the exact length depended on the route each skier choose for themselves to most efficiently reach each control point on the map in the specified order. The map was handed to each racer 15 seconds before the start. The men had a slightly longer course than the women.

Adrian Owens was fastest among men, 16:19. Second place was Jonis, a Lithuanian skier (he was a top contender each day, but was not eligible for the North American titles), with Kestrel third in 17:34 (Kestrel raced as a senior for better points). Other US and Canadian racers filled in the senior men’s field. “It was a dense trail network with lots of junctions and cut-throughs that came up faster than I could read the map sometimes”, Adrian said. “I skied one short cut through the woods, and later took off my skis to run a steep downhill through brushy woods between trails.” Kestrel described the closely packed trails as “spaghetti” making it hard to tell which trail you were on. “The sloppy snow made for slow skiing”, he added.

Melanie (also racing as a senior) finished her Sprint race in second place 16:55, behind Alex Jospe 14:43 of Watertown, MA who has been on the US team since 2007. Other Senior team racers finished third and fourth.

The snow froze overnight into a firm crust, but it was softening again in the Saturday morning sun when the first starters got their maps and headed out on the trails. Kestrel decided to race one category down for the long distance which was advertised to be at least 22 kilometers for the senior men. His 17 km course was shared with the senior women, and he was 20 seconds faster than Alex Jospe, who was once again the fastest women. Melanie slipped to third woman behind Anna Voegele of Truckee, CA. Kestrel said he felt really good skiing, “but purposefully slowed down after a fast start to pace myself.”

In the men’s long race Adrian was fastest again 1:16:46, edging out Jonis by 27 seconds. Both the senior men and senior women courses required three maps. The route on the first map ended at a map exchange area where a second map was picked up for the continuation of the race. “That kept us guessing on how much farther we had to go, but also allowed for a longer course”, Adrian said. “By the third time leaving the biathlon stadium area I was starting to know the trails pretty well.” The third map ended up being a much shorter loop than the previous two.

The crust was harder on Sunday and did not soften up during the wave start Middle Distance races. The main trails were machine groomed but the smaller trails were pure ice. Kestrel lined up with the senior men, including his father Adrian. The course was set up with “route forking” and two maps so while each athlete would end up skiing the same total distance, they wouldn’t visit the controls in exactly the same order. “The forking right from the start was good to make you do your own route finding instead of being able to follow people,” explained Kestrel. “But many legs brought the racers back together for head-to-head racing. You could see how you were doing.”

Kestrel had a good start and was in the lead for the first six controls, until the Jonis passed him with a better route choice to the seventh. Adrian trailed and lost contact due a map reading error going to control 10 instead of number 5. “Once I realized the mistake the best correction I could make was bushwhacking through about 300 meters of forest, and lost almost a minute”, he explained after the race. “I skied extra hard after that and eventually caught up to Kestrel, but could not pass him on the narrow trails near the finish.”

Kestrel said, ”when I saw how short the second map was and my Dad so close behind me, I skied it at full sprint.” Jonis finished in 37:47. Kestrel grabbed the North American championship gold with a time of 38:41, while Adrian had to settle for silver in 39:03. “I am really proud of Kestrel for coming in ahead of me in big race”, admitted Adrian.

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New Hilltop Cabins Take Shape

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If you’ve skied Lemon’s Haunt recently, you’ve noticed that the trail takes a slightly different route as it makes its final approach back toward the lower soccer field. It dips leftward into the woods as it comes up the hill, to skirt east of the construction site that is gradually turning into our new Hilltop Cabins.

The cabin cluster, designed to look something like a mountain village, will include six structures: 2 triples, 1 double, 2 singles and a common lounge/kitchen building. Each triple will be composed of three units, each capable of holding up to three people. These can be rented separately, or combined into a space for a larger group.

The cabins will all have porches, private baths, small kitchenettes, and nice views either to the west overlooking the lake, or to the east, looking out over the ski trail toward the hills to the east. They’ll be heated by our innovative central heating system that uses the waste heat from our snow-making generator, along with heat from a large high-efficiency wood boiler, solar thermal and a supplemental heat pump in summer.

If all goes well, construction should be done in May or June and the cabins will go online in mid summer. Ultimately, these cabins will replace the rooms in Tamarack Lodge, which will be deconstructed and recycled—probably next Fall.

Get a sense of the construction with this gallery from Green Racing Project skier Caitlin Patterson.

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2015 Halloween Biathlon Gallery

Halloween Biathlon Racers

Halloween Biathlon Racers

Last Thursday saw the initial running of the Halloween biathlon race at the Biathlon range at Elinor’s field. 16 competitors contested an interval start race with two shooting stages and three running laps of approximately 600 meters. Penalties required a loop of 25 meters per miss. The primary requirement for participation? A costume!

Check out the results and the photogallery below.

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Trails2Ales

The kitchen staff made the whole meal special, even our reserved table

When two obvious interests collide, why not make a weekend out of it? That cracking idea was not mine. A multi-year running camp athlete and a handful of big-thinking running coaches came up with the concept: an autumn weekend of trail running and local craft beer drinking. Less of a camp, more of a weekend blast of goodness. Trails2Ales was our first go at it and golly, it was fun. It was made all the better by holding it in conjunction with our social event of the year: Oktoberfest. Why not?

Coach Jo Jo and I stayed at the Center after the second Foliage and Running weekend. We gallivanted around the Northeast Kingdom in the rain sleuthing trail options, figuring out drive times and dropping in at Hill Farmstead Brewery (hillfarmstead.com) and Lost Nation Brewing (lostnationbrewing.com) to investigate the offerings. It was a taxing assignment but we managed to put together the weekend schedule and get plenty of miles in during the week — over 100 for Jo Jo and 71 for me. We were ready!

Jo Jo and I ran in the rain figuring out where to run at Kingdom Trails. This was our starting point at Mountain View Farm.

Jo Jo likes the River Run trail overlooking the Passumpsic River

Nine inveterate trail runner/craft beer devotees plus four coaches showed up for the fun and the NEK had its best glorious autumn garb on full display with warm sunshine, blue bird skies and blazing leaves. We ran our full and fun collection of single track here at the Center on Friday afternoon followed by a raucous social Friday night before dinner. There were too many Hill Farmstead growlers to keep track of as we enjoyed the kitchen’s patented cheese board plus spiced nuts and grapes.

Before we set off to explore Burke’s trails, every runner had a map and a two hour window to run free. Most of us ran 10 miles with a few others logging more.

Those Craftsbury vans come in handy after a scintillating trail run!

Mike’s Tiki Bar was loaded with mountain bikers kicking back so we joined in with our picnic lunches. With 30 beers on tap and miles under our belts we were grooving.

Over lunch, Ashley and Spence compare notes on where they ran

Running buddies at home, Mac and Mike were happy all weekend

Frank returned to Craftsbury for a second time and brought along his sweetie pie wife, Stephanie

A plethora of memorable Mikes

Last pack lunches of the season — the kitchen always gives us the best grub

Dave and Caleb wait for manager Becky to assist — Jo Jo and I met her when we were trail sleuthing and she told us to bring the gang

Caleb and Ashley get extra mileage credit for toting the lunches back and forth while Dave keeps them company

Burke’s Kingdom Trails (kingdom trails.org) drew us on Saturday with the big reward of Mike’s Tiki Bar (mikestikibar.com) post-run. The Oktoberfest social and dinner in the autumn-y bedecked Main Lodge of the AC was a treat on Saturday night. Our post-dinner Cedar social went into the night and the Cedar kitchen counter was getting overloaded with rinsed and drying growlers.

The AC was bustling, cheery and rife with superb food and company during the Oktoberfest feast

Sunday morning found us rousting out early to head over to Mount Elmore for the challenging uphill run/scramble up the Ridge Trail to the fire tower for the big pay-off view. 10k later we were swimming in Lake Elmore and finishing off another Lost Nation growler as well as enjoying yesterday’s picnic lunch snack leftovers.

Triumphant at the top of Mt. Elmore

Good beer at 10:00am — why not?

The weekend was far too short and far too fun. What about another try at it in 2016 but for four days instead? Give me a shout if you are interested at running@craftsbury.com. See you next summer and keep an eye out for the full 2016 schedule on our website

Trails2Ales was a fabulous end to the running camp season — let’s do it again in 2016!

 

 

 

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