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GREAT GIFTS & GEAR Vermonter Andy Newell kicks it at the World Cup in Ruka, Finland, November 2015.


S-BOUND 98 with EASY SKIN BLUR THE LINES OF CROSS COUNTRY AND BACKCOUNTRY. The Easy skin system is a through-ski kicker skin designed to grip in any condition from deep powder to transformed snow. The S-Bound 98 with Easy Skin climbs, turns and covers all terrain. To learn more about Easy Skin and to see the full line of Fischer S-Bound skis with Easy Skin, visit your local Fischer Dealer.




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849 S Main St Stowe VT (802) 253-2317

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PUBLISHER Angelo Lynn C EDITOR Lisa Lynn C STAFF WRITER Evan Johnson C EDITORIAL INTERN Brianna McKinley, St. Michael's College ART DIRECTION & PRODUCTION Shawn Braley C ADVERTISING MANAGER Christy Lynn C ADVERTISING SALES Greg Meulemans C | (802) 366-0689 Dave Honeywell | (802) 583-4653 C PRINTING & DISTRIBUTION Lisa Razo C GEAR & BEER EDITORS Sue Halpern & Bill McKibben C

An Athlete of the Year, Lea Davison celebrates after finishing second in the World Cup this summer in Switzerland. Photo by Kate Courtney


MEDICAL ADVISORY BOARD Dr. Nathan Endres, Dr. David Lisle, Dr. James Slauterbeck —University of Vermont College of Medicine; Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation


CONTRIBUTOR PHOTOGRAPHERS Blotto, Kris Dobie, Brian Mohr, Oliver Parini EDITORIAL AND PRODUCTION OFFICE Vermont Sports | 58 Maple Street Middlebury, Vt. 05753 | 802-388-4944 Vermont Sports is independently owned and operated by Addison Press Inc., 58 Maple Street, Middlebury, Vt. 05753. It is published 10 times per year. Established in 1990. Vermont Sports subscriptions in the U.S.: one year $25. Canada: US funds, please add $5 per year postage. Other subscriptions, please call 802-3884944. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Vermont Sports, 58 Maple Street, Middlebury, Vt. 05753


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LONG LIVE THE XC MARATHON Test your mettle and ski against some of the best at the 35th annual running of the Craftsbury Marathon. Plus, six other great Nordic challenges P. 8

7 SPEAK UP Are We Really Equal? 15 HEALTH An Ounce of (Running) Prevention


With new backcountry tours, skating rinks and brew pubs, sledding adventures and ice climbing fests, Stowe keeps growing its winter playground. P. 11

OUR 1ST ANNUAL ATHLETES OF THE YEAR In 2015, these 12 athletes showed the world what Vermonters are made of. Here's how they did it. P. 16



29 READER ATHLETE The Ice Man: Bob Dill

31 CALENDAR Alpine, randonnee and nordic events,

demo days, ski movies, and more.

34 ENDGAME Santa Drives a Snowplow


ON THE COVER: An Athlete of the Year, Andy Newell skis his way to a fourth place World Cup finish in Finland in November. Photo by Fischer/Swiz/ Nordic Focus

5 THE START Celebrating our Athletes


Our picks for the year's best gear. Things to give, things to get and things you may find you could never live without. P. 25


Vermont's best outdoor shops, boot and bike fitters, action photographers, bars, trails, gyms, resorts, races events and

more! Deadline is January 8. Winners will be reported in our next issue.



CELEBRATING VERMONTS TOP ATHLETES “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them —a desire, a dream, a vision.” —Mohammed Ali


ith a population of 660,000, Vermont has just about as many people as the city of Denver. But that hasn’t stopped us from turning out some of the top athletes in the world. This past fall, the Women’s Sports Foundation named 10 international athletes as finalists for its prestigious Sportswoman of the Year award. Two of them—snowboarder Kelly Clark and skier Hannah Kearney—are from Vermont. They may be standouts but they are not alone: 10 of the 50 members of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team have connections to Vermont. Half the Nordic A team is from here. As we went to press, Fairlee’s Tara Geraghty-Moats was the top American ski jumper at the World Cup.

Nordic Ski

Thanks for a great year and happy 2016 from all of us at Vermont Sports. Pictured here: Angelo Lynn, Lisa Lynn, Evan Johnson, Brianna McKinley, Christy Lynn and Elsie Parini.

And that’s just snow sports. This past year, Vermonters excelled in everything from cycling to CrossFit, paracycling to ultra running. That didn’t make our job any easier to when it came time to select our Athletes of the Year. This past fall, we asked for your nominations. We also scoured results, talked with coaches and interviewed athletes. We looked for exceptional, individual performances in 2015. But we also considered consistency, how competitive the field was and an athlete’s ties to Vermont. The curious thing about this list?

Fatbike •

We ended up with more women than men. As Flo Meiler, the 81-year-old who set world records this summer for her age in heptathlon might say, “we’ve come a long way, baby.” But there’s still a ways to go, as Kasie Enman (subject of our May cover story and an Athlete of the Year) notes in her Speak Up commentary, “Are We Really Equal?” Enman and her sister-in-law, running and Nordic coach Molly Peters, make the case that women should be competing in equal distances and given equal chances as men. Enman is in a good position to make the case. This past summer she

not only won the women’s division at Utah’s Tushar Marathon—a 26.2-mile trail race at elevation—but finished fourth overall. Regardless of gender, the athletes we profile have several things in common: most have had to juggle the demands of jobs and family with training and competition. They have gotten to where they are through their own pure determination, hard work and the support of Vermont’s exceptional sports community. Many athletes, too, are giving back to their communities. That’s important. So important that we created a spot for “The Game Changer,” a person who uses sports to help a greater mission. And you can find out who that is on page 22. —Lisa Lynn, Editor

It's not too early to start nominating people for next year’s list. Tell us whom we missed this year and whom we should keep an eye on for 2016. Send your thoughts to editor@


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Winter in Vermont ~ at your pace. Jan. 9  Winter Trails Day Jan. 16  Rikert Fatbike Roundup Jan. 18  Middlebury Union HS Skate Race Jan. 23-24  Frost Mtn. Junior Grand Prix Feb. 13-14  Rikert Nordic Rendezvous

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ARE WE REALLY EQUAL? By Kasie Enman and Molly Peters


DEALERS Umiak Outdoor Outfitters 849 South Main Street Stowe, VT 05672 1203 Williston Rd South Burlington, VT 05403 Enman (third from left) and the three other women on the U.S. Mountain Running Team want equal distances for women.


his past summer 228 strong, fit, competitive athletes gathered for the 2015 U.S. Mountain Running Championship in Bend, Ore. The course was set on a 4.2-kilometer loop up and down Mount Bachelor. Three races took place: a three-lap men’s championship race, a two-lap women’s championship race and a one-lap open community race. At the conclusion of the championship races, ten top finishers were offered the privilege of representing the USA at the World Mountain Running Championship. If you were paying attention as the newly selected teams were brought to the podium, you might have noticed six men standing in front of you, yet only four women. Rules currently state that at the World Mountain Running Championship countries are allowed to enter up to six men (of which four score) and up to four women (of which three score). The first question everyone should be asking is why fewer women? And the second: why do women race shorter distances? In the U.S. qualifers as well as in the world championship races, men must run approximately 12 kilometers and women 8 kilometers in distance, along with required amounts of ascent/descent. And the third question: What message does this send to our young athletes? It is hard to believe in 2015 this type of discrimination is still happening. It is occurring at the local level as well. If you go


to any college cross-country running race or Eastern collegiate Nordic ski race you will notice that the distances are almost always less for the women. Race distances are also unequal at the highly competitive Eastern Cup Nordic races, where no matter what the race distance the women’s course is almost always 5 kilometers shorter than the men’s. We are only hurting the development of our young female athletes by not challenging them, by putting women in an inferior position. Unequal opportunity between the genders promotes the acceptance of second-class citizenship and sends incorrect information to women about their own abilities, assuring the discrimination continues. We need to take a stand and demand equality. We have seen progress from the 1960s when women were banned from competing in distances longer than 800 meters on the track. Everyone now has the opportunity to compete in the full range of distances on the track and on the roads thanks to laws like Title IX and leaders like Katherine Switzer and Joan Benoit. We now know that a woman can safely complete a marathon without her uterus falling out. In 2013, a whopping 243,500 women completed a marathon in the United States. In addition, according to Running USA, women’s participation numbers in running events from the 5K to half marathon have surpassed men’s participation with 57 percent of all road race finishers being

female. So why have our governing bodies corrected their rules for some similar endurance sport events, but not others? Why are we still telling women they can’t field a full team or go the distance? After competing at the World Mountain Running Championship, members of our U.S. women’s team publicly called for equal team size, equal distance for all and some even ran an informal third loop of the course because they could. Just as we were writing this article, Paula Radcliffe, a leader in our sport, spoke out and got distances equalized for women and men at the World Cross Country Championships, yet the junior race distances at that same championship were left unequal. It is time for us all to stand up and ask why. We need to send full women’s teams to events and we need to be competing in equal distances with the men. Please join us in questioning these unjust, outdated standards. Talk with your fellow athletes, coaches, and organizers. Visit to sign our petition and learn how you can help. Kasie Enman won the 2015 Vermont City Marathon and is one of Vermont Sports' Athletes of the Year. Molly Peters coaches St. Michael's College's cross country running and Nordi ski teams.

Vermont Gear 286 Waits River Rd Bradford, VT 05033 New England Mountain Sports 1881 White Mountain Hwy North Conway, NH 03860 Kayak Shack 498 Rt 3, Plattsburgh NY 12901


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he population of Craftsbury, Vt., is about 1,000 people, but on Jan. 30, that number will grow by hundreds as people arrive from around New England and Quebec.Their destination: The historic Craftsbury Outdoor Center, a popular training ground for elite-level and recreational athletes and the site of the Craftsbury Marathon. Now in its 35th year, the Craftsbury Marathon started back in 1981 as a one- or two-lap race starting at Craftsbury Common and traveling across frozen lakes and trails. In the early 2000s, the race changed to a point-to-point format between Highland Lodge in Greensboro and the Outdoor Center. “The logistics were horrendous,” Craftbury’s John Brodhead recalls. “We had 15 road crossings, seven

feed stations and 200 volunteers.” When low snowfall threatened the course, race organizers moved the race to a 12.5K loop at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center where the race is held today. The classic-style 25K or 50K race now attracts between 400 and 500 racers every year from around the region, including some retired Olympians such as Bob Gray, Marc Gilbertson and others. Of course, you don’t have to be an Andy Newell or an Ida Sargent to step onto the track. While the top racers will cross the finish line two to three hours after the start, more recreational-level athletes will finish much later in the day, as late as 4:30 in the afternoon, when the sun starts to set. Craftsbury puts a uniquely Vermont spin on

the event. Instead of shiny medals and ribbons, top finishers receive hand-thrown bowls made by local potters. The awards ceremony includes a chili dinner open to everyone. If you head up for the race this January, plan to stay: You can spend the night with all meals (and the food is both local and delicious) for $104, for a single room, or rent a rustic cabin that can sleep as many as 8 for $351 a night. The elite training center also has an impressive new gymnasium, waxing room and cafeteria housed in a beautiful $1 million barn-style building. —Evan Johnson

Racers at the start of the Craftsbury Marathon. Photo courtesy Kris Dobie/Craftsbury Outdoor Center




Romance Half Marathon, Feb. 13-14, Ripton, Vt. The Rikert Nordic Center hosts a half marathon on the mountaintop trails of Middlebury College's Breadloaf campus.

50th Canadian Ski Marathon, Feb. 19-21, Papineauville, QC. More of a tour than a competition, this famous point-to-point marathon starts in Buckingham, Quebec, about 45 minutes from Ottawa and ends 160 kilometers later in Lachute, Quebec. The trail is groomed just for the event and features food stops, fire pits and shuttles so you can ski as long as you want each day. Overnights are en masse in schools. Or, check into an inn along the route, such as the Fairmont Chateau Montebello, the world's largest log hotel.


Frigus, Feb. 27 Goshen, Vt. The Endurance Society holds snowshoe, cross-country ski and sledding races with 10, 30 or 60K distances in each division, as well as a triathlon.


The 71st Stowe Derby, Feb. 28, Stowe, Vt. Racers ski from the top of Stowe's Toll Road down to the Stowe Rec path and finish in the center of town, a total distance of 12.5 miles, dropping over 2,000 vertical feet. There are starts for skate skiers, classic skis and fat bikes. Plenty of crashes make it a great spectator event. Relay For Life, Nordic Style. March 12, Williston, Vt. Teams camp out on the snow while participants take turns skiing or snowshoeing for eight hours around the ski trails at the Catamount Outdoor Center. Trapp Marathon 50K Classic March 12, Stowe, Vt. The Trapp Family Lodge and cross country center host a 50K classic cross-country ski race around the trail system. Ski hard then enjoy a Von Trapp brew at the post-race party.



WHAT'S NEW IN STOWE STOWE REVS IT UP THIS WINTER WITH A NEW BASE AREA PLAZA, NEW ICE RINKS, BACKCOUNTRY TOURS, BREWERIES AND APRÈS-SKI SPOTS. BY LISA LYNN With expanded snowmaking capacity and a new skating rink at Spruce Peak, Stowe Mountain Resort got an early start on winter. Photos: Stowe Mountain Resort.


hile winter got a slow start in the rest of Vermont, snowmaking allowed skiing to start pre-Thanksgiving in the mountains. And as snow began to dust the hills around Stowe, storefronts and homes sparkled with white lights and everywhere the holiday spirit took hold. That’s one reason why Stowe draws visitors from around the world and why the week between Christmas and New Year’s is probably the busiest of the year. But there’s also another part of this mountain town that many don’t know about: the backcountry powder stashes, the ice falls of The Notch and the empty, groomed XC trails that make this an athlete’s winter playground. There’s so much new in Stowe this year it is worth a visit even if you think you know it well. Go in the quieter weeks after January 2. Or, best of all, hit up town during Winter Carnival (January 16-30) and plan to try some of the wackier winter sports such as snow golf, broom ball and snow volleyball.

Ski and Skate In the last year, Stowe Mountain Resort has seen one of the biggest makeovers since the Spruce Peak base area was built. It started several years back with vastly


improved snowmaking that has meant trails are covered with ample snow, and refreshed daily, even when Mother Nature doesn’t do it on her own. Gone are the days of early season Ice Capades. But if you like ice, head to the Spruce Peak base area. On December 19, the resort will host a holiday crafts fair and tree lighting as it unveils its new plaza and skating rink. The rink will be open until 10 p.m., as will the Over Easy gondola, this year. That’s a good thing because unless you intend to valet park, are a guest at the hotel or a member of the private Alpine Club, you will need to take the Over Easy to get back to the Mansfield parking area. Later in the year, the resort hopes to open the new kid’s adventure center, complete with an impressive two-story climbing wall, day care center and a cafeteria.

Kick and Glide The most famous of Stowe’s cross country centers, Trapp Family Lodge, has extended its snowmaking as well. Don’t miss a six-kilometer ski up to the Slayton Pasture Cabin for a cup of hot soup by the fire. Cap it off with one of Trapp’s award-winning beers, brewed at the 40,000-square-foot brewery that

New guided tours will take you into the backcountry and teach mountaneering skills.

opened last summer. While Trapp’s has the most extensive and scenic of cross-country trails in the area, Stowe Mountain Resort also has a great network as well as rentals at its

cross-country center. You can also ski for free on the Recreation Path, which goes between town and Topnotch Resort. And



WEEKEND AWAY - STOWE CONTIUED if you have never done it, sign up for the legendary Stowe Derby, the race that starts at the top of Stowe Mountain Resort and finishes in town. The 71st running is scheduled for February 28 and will have starts for skate skiers, classic (or any kind of ski) and fat bikes.

Take a Brewery Tour

climbing center also helps put on the 10th annual Smuggler’s Notch Ice Bash with equipment demos and clinics on everything from ‘Learning to Lead’ to ‘Ski Mountaineering.’

Explore the Backcountry Ice Climb, Snowshoe and Sled the Notch There are few places in Vermont that make you feel more like you are in the big mountains than The Notch. That's the name locals give to the top of the pass on Route 108 which cuts steeply across the mountains between Stowe and Smuggler’s Notch resorts. Closed to vehicles in the winter, it becomes a virtual parkway for backcountry adventures. Bring your dogs along and you can cross country ski or snowshoe for miles up the quiet road. Or, for a wild downhill sled, sign up for Umiak Outfitter’s “Top of the Notch” backcountry sledding adventures. For $79 per person, you get rental sleds, snowshoes, a guide and snacks. Later in the year, the Notch is also the place to ice climb. Burlington’s Petra Cliffs offers beginner half-day courses starting at $160. On January 22-24, the

Stowe has some big-mountain backcountry which can be epic if you know it—and horrific if you don’t and get lost. And each year, people do get lost, occasionally requiring rescue. If you want to get to know the terrain, there are few better guides than Sunrise Mountain Guides’ Alex Sargent (a climber and former instructor at the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School) and Greg Speer (a member of the Stowe Mountain Rescue). The duo offers backcountry ski clinics, guided tours and ice climbing and avalanche courses. www. If you’re serious about backcountry skiing, but don’t feel like roughing it, sign up for a new inn-to-inn backcountry tour being offered by Bredeson Outdoor Adventures and the Catamount Trail Association. The four-day tour is set for February 5-8 and takes you on several sections of the Catamount Trail, with shuttles

C December 19 — Pass Holder Appreciation Day January 9 — Race To The Cabin February 6-7 — UVM Winter Carnival/ Super Tour March 12 — von Trapp Brewing Marathon, 25km & 50km Classic Race, Beer Tent and Live Music



Hit the New Hot Spots While there is tons to do in town, here are four new hot spots: After a full day, head to TopNotch Resort and grab a drink at the Roost, then go for a moonlight skate at its new outdoor rink. Or check out the scene at the swank new Field Guide hotel on the Mountain Road. For a special treat, book a room at the beautifully revamped classic Edson Hill Inn, and in January, the Sun and Ski Motel hopes to open Stowe Bowl, a cool new bowling alley on the Mountain Road.

Indoor Fun Last, if the weather turns bad or you need a day off, visit the Vermont Ski Museum, which has an amazing exhibit documenting the history of the National Ski Patrol. The Helen Day Art Center is also a great place to see local artists exhibit. And for one of the best pools and fitness centers in the state (and a spiral slide kids will love), head to The Swimming Hole. For more on stowe visit or





Winter Activities at the Nordic Center:



bringing you back to your hotel in town each night.



Stowe is also fast becoming a beer destination. In addition to the new Von Trapp Brewery, the Alchemist is in the process of building a brewery right off the Mountain Road. It won’t be done until spring, but in the meantime you can sample Heady Topper and a variety of Vermont’s other small-batch craft brews at Doc Ponds, the new brewpub Eric Warnstedt (co-founder of Hen of the Wood) opened on the Mountain Road. Also stop by Idletyme (formerly Crop Bistro and, before that, The Shed). Laura and Michael Kloeti of Michael’s on the Hill have taken it over and renamed the brewery, bar and bistro. And if you want a professional beer tour with a designated driver, Rick Sokoloff (one of the early boosters of the Stowe Mountain

Bike Club) offers guided brewery tours. His Four Points company will pick you up at your hotel, give you a tour of the breweries from Trapps to Hill Farmstead in Greensboro, flights of beer and snacks for $89 per person.


March 12-13 — Swix Sample Sale at the Outdoor Center April 2nd — End of Season Pass Holder Party

The most unique and anticipated winter event is back! • 20km Freestyle and Classic cross country ski race • 6km fun short course for kids and families • 14km Fat Bike race presented by Louis Garneau to benefit Stowe Mountain Bike Club • A Mt. Mansfield Ski Club event

700 Trapp Hill Rd. Stowe, VT 05672 802-253-5719 •

For details: Follow us on Facebook!




Illustration by Alaina Salgado

Dear Mr. Woodchuck, My husband and I seem to go through the same routine every year: I ask him what he wants for Christmas and I get the same ambivalent shrug. What to do? Thanks, Virginia, Marlboro, Vt.

Dear Virginia, In my younger and more reckless years, when Mrs. Woodchuck and I were living in sin, holidays were a time of great trepidation. In the months and weeks (and yes, even days on a few years where we got a bit behind schedule) leading up to the big day we would go downstreet and

she’d pause next to the window display at the general store and stare fixedly at some cast iron pot, a knit hat or an ancient pair of snowshoes. To me, this was an indication as clear as day that come Christmas morning, this had better be under the tree. And you bet I took note. As for her, she knew without fail that I’d be perfectly happy

with a new pair of wool pants from Johnson Woolen Mills and some suspenders— and I still am. Now your concern is one I’ve heard many times and I suspect many couples are confronted with a similar dilemma of either not knowing how to ask for a gift or not knowing what to give. So with the holiday season upon us, I’ve got a few helpful suggestions. It seems around this time of year, my mailbox becomes stuffed with all manner of glossy catalogues from far-off places like Patagonia or Land’s End (Lord knows where that is). Some of that’s all well and good, but I’m convinced that the best place to do my holiday shopping is right in town—–or rather, no more than 20 miles down the road. It’s good to keep spending local and besides, some of those odds and ends in the Sharper Image make about as much sense as sideburns on a toad. If you’re looking for a few suggestions, turn to “A Few of Our Favorite Things,” on page 25 of this magazine for some suggestions from our gear editor Sue Halpern. She and the Mister spend as much time as they can playing outside and can point you in the direction of 15 items that aren’t so likely to be regifted at

next year’s Yankee Swap. Now, Mrs. Woodchuck and myself aren’t out flying down snow-covered mountains, climbing rock faces or running for miles on end like you crazy kids are these days. When you get to be our age, you enjoy the slower life and the habits that come with it, so we make sure our gifts are thoughtful and make our day-today a little easier. That means every year I give her a big tin of Vermont’s Original Bag Balm, which keeps her paws nice and soft, and I fully restock her knitting basket with all manner of yarns. She gets me some Darn Tough socks, knit in Northfield and so tough they come with a guarantee, by jeezum. Plus, I carefully consider her bookshelf and find a new local book, like that beautiful Maple cookbook that local Huntington girl, Katie Webster just published. In return, the Missus gets me a new pair of deerskin work gloves and leather preserve, some feathers and hooks for tying my flies, plus a nice bottle of local hard cider we can enjoy when the working day’s done. Season’s greetings,

Elwood A. Woodchuck Backcountry Events Schedule

Feb 6 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont’s Snow Day. Free Nordic & Backcountry skiing and snowshoeing for Vermont residents from 11am - 3pm.

Photo by: Ryan Denning


Backcountry Events presented by the Catamount Trail Association Learn more at

Get Out & Backcountry Instructional Series Feb. 7, 14, 21 & 28 Catamount Trail Express BC Ski Shuttle Shuttle from Nebraska Valley to Bolton. Ski back to your car. Feb. 6, 13, 20

Bolton Valley Offers Over 1200 Acres of Backcountry Terrain. DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015-16

Wednesday Night Uphill Race Series Jan. 27, Feb. 3, 10, 17 & 24, March 2 & 9

Mar 5 Frigid Infliction 10 hour adventure race. Mar 6 Vermont Land Trust Trail Tours. Ski and snowshoe tours followed by an après-ski gathering. Mar 12 Splitfest featuring free splitboard demos and more. Mar 19-Mar 20 24 Hours of Bolton. A 24 hour backcountry race presented by Native Endurance.

8 7 7 -9 BOLTON • boltonvalley. com




1899 M O U NRTOAAI ND STOWE VT 05672 • 802.253.4411


Discover Experience Explore

MT.VAN HOEVENBERG New for 2015-2016

Josie’s - A destination ski to cabin on our beautiful trail system Expanded Nordic Terrain Park Reconfigured Beginner Trail System Unique Cross Country and Biathlon Experiences


Grand Opening of Josie’s Cabin USSA Super Tour / NENSA Eastern Cup LAKE PLACID NORDIC FEST 6.25 and 12.5 km Ski Challenge Lake Placid Loppet NOR-AM Biathlon






everal years ago I packed my toodamp hiking boots into a box for a move. A few weeks later, I unpacked them. It looked like I’d left them there for a decade. The leather had hardened, cracked, and shrunk. The once well-fitting shoe squeezed my forefoot. It took several hikes and a lot of leather treatment to breathe life back into the boots. The upper gradually loosened and the leather regained its softness. After an extended break from running our feet and legs suffer a similar fate as my boots did. In fact, research suggests that one of the best predictors of running injuries is being new to running. New runners’ legs are not accustomed to the impact or ground reaction forces (GRF) that come with every stride. Taking more than three to four weeks off from running leads to similar deconditioning. Even if you are an experienced marathoner, you may be setting yourself up for the same injuries a novice encounters. Each spring my clinic is filled with people who took the winter off, fished their shoes out of the closet on the first warm day and found themselves injured. Sure, they may have cross-country or downhill skied all winter, but it’s not the same: Snow sports don’t make the springlike demand on muscles, tendons and joints that running does. It takes time for our legs to adapt to the impact of running. These forces are unforgiving, causing needless pain and overuse injuries to those who return to running too quickly. They reward the consistent runner. If you start running hard after a winter hibernation, muscles are likely to become strained, tendons will ache, and bones may fail.

What Happens to Your Body? Two muscle groups commonly injured in new and returning runners are the hamstrings and calf muscles (triceps surae). Both of these muscle-tendon units carry a significant eccentric load that is not common in other endurance sports. Why? When we run our muscles contract both concentrically and eccentrically. During a concentric contraction, our muscles work as they shorten. Cycling, for example is a concentric activity. When we lift our hamstrings or run up hill, we make concentric contractions. Conversely, during an eccentric contraction, muscles work while they lengthen. Think of running downhill: When we run, the ground reaction forces (GRF) create a large eccentric demand on your calf muscles and Achilles tendon


over the winter. Our bodies respond better to frequent running in small doses, rather than a few longer runs. Running a minimum of 3 to 4 times per week can keep muscles and tendons supple and springy. This frequency of running will ease the transition to a higher running volume in the future. 2. Follow the 10- to 20-percent rule. Well-read runners are familiar with the time-tested 10 percent rule, whereby you increase your mileage by 10 to 20 percent each week. The slow adaptation of muscles, tendons, and bones to training is the physiological foundation for the time-tested rule. But don’t go more than that: One large study of novice runners found a significant increase in injuries when the runners increased their weekly mileage by more than 30 percent. If you want to run harder in the spring, it is much easier to build from low weekly mileage than to start from scratch!

Running puts forces on your bones and muscles that few other sports do.

as they slow down the impact as your feet hit the ground. Our hamstrings also function eccentrically when they slow down our forward swinging leg right before ground contact. Our calf muscles get the largest load as they cushion our landing. Picture a shock absorbing spring extending and then contracting. While muscles strengthen relatively quickly, tendons adapt more slowly to eccentric training stresses. Fast adapting tissues have a good blood supply: think red meat or the center of the hamstring muscle. Slow healing tissues have a poor blood supply. In a runner, these often include the proximal tendon of the hamstring (just below the buttocks) and the middle of the Achilles tendon. And those are where we often see injuries. That’s because tendons in the muscle-tendon complex respond to training stresses much more slowly than the muscle does on its own. For example, it might take several weeks for the muscle belly of the hamstring to strengthen after a strain. However, it can take six months for its proximal tendon to heal. The same holds true for the Achilles. Tendons take a long time to build, but can weaken relatively quickly.

Bones are also subject to large forces when running. A running plan that progresses too fast can lead to a stress fracture anywhere from the pelvis to the metatarsals in your feet. Similar to muscles, bones are constantly in flux. They are continually remodeled to adjust to structural and metabolic stresses. When sedentary, bones act like a bank where the structural building blocks, calcium and phosphorus, are cashed out to provide fuel for other metabolic processes in the body. The inverse is also true. When active, bones perceive the stress and they react by designing supportive structures to maximize strength.

What Should You Do? What to do with this information? The right answer for you depends on many factors such as your running history and goals. Are you a dedicated, competitive runner? Or, do you run to unload work stress and keep your dog fit? Regardless of how you answer those questions, you should consider three principles: 1. Keep running. Be consistent with whatever amount of running you choose

3. Take a relative break. While this sounds contradictory to the first recommendation, I suggest an active rest rather than going cold turkey. Our bodies need to be renewed. It is normal and good to have a period when you cut back on your running and exercising. If you decide to go this route, I recommend running one to three times per week for a shorter distance while on this active rest. When you decide to run more, follow the 10 percent rule. You can also mix it up by substituting a run or two per week with a snowshoe run, which has less of an impact on your tendons and bones. Most importantly, stay in touch with your running shoes this winter. You’ll be rewarded in the spring with legs that are run-ready.

Greg Hagley, PT, DPT is a doctor of physical therapy at DartmouthHitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH specializing in the treatment of running injuries. He has qualified for the triathlon World Championships in both the Olympic and 70.3 distance as well as completed several American Birkebeiner cross-country ski marathons.


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ATHLETES Kelly Clark shows what's put her at the top of snowboarding. Photo Dean Blotto Gray



By Evan Johnson and Brianna McKinley



ERMONTERS KNOW HOW to play hard. It’s part of our nature. Through all seasons and all kinds of weather, we take to the trails, lakes, mountains, rivers and roads in pursuit of a faster split, a higher grade, a podium finish or the simple joy that comes after a long day spent pursuing what we love. This past fall we asked for your picks for Vermont’s top individual athletes of 2015 and received nominations for every possible sport. Not only were these men and women superb competitors, more importantly, they had stories to tell. Choosing who would make the list was a remarkably tough job. There were many standout performances this year by Vermont amateurs such as Bolton’s Courtney Kaup, who placed second in her age group in the ITU Off-Road World Triathlon Championships in Sardinia, Italy; Warren’s Drew Duffy who bested the country’s top ski racers for a surprise win in the Super-G at the U.S. Nationals, and Aliza Lapierre who ran to second place at Japan’s 100-mile Ultra Trail Mt. Fuji. But in the end, we looked for people who had a consistently great year and reached the top of their sports in national or international arenas. They also had to have strong ties to Vermont and either live here or spend significant time here. The 12 top athletes, listed in no particular order below, put Vermont on the global sports map. But just as important, their collective experiences tell deeper stories of perseverance in the face of unlikely odds. With demanding training and competition schedules, they also juggle day jobs, families and the rest of the obligations we all face. And many of them spend significant time giving back: Andy Newell has been an advocate for fighting climate change, penning op-eds for The New York Times and starting the advocacy organization, Athletes For Action. Kelly Clark, through her eponymous foundation, has given away more than $100,000 in scholarships to help young athletes. Lea Davison cofounded Little Bellas to help young women gain confidence through cycling. They, and many others here, make time to coach and help young people in their sports. While Pavel Cenkl may not be a “competitive athlete” of the caliber of some of the others here, his remarkable run across Iceland and work on behalf of science and raising awareness of climate change earned him a spot on the 2015 list. Going forward, we will keep one spot open for an athlete who does something remarkable each year for the greater good. That’s a goal as important as winning. Did we miss someone? Send in your 2016 nominations to


As an 11-year-old, Kearney said "I'll never do a backflip on snow." That changed. Photo courtesy USSA

Clark won an ESPY for Best Action Athlete. Photo courtesy Kelly Clark Foundation

Kelly Clark: Snowboarding's Superstar This past fall, when the Women’s Sports Foundation released its list of 10 finalists for their prestigious Sportswoman of the Year awards, there were some familiar names: Serena Williams, Michelle Kwan and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, to name a few. There were also two Vermonters: Kelly Clark and Hannah Kearney. While Kearney wound up her freestyle career last March with her fourth mogul title, Clark is still charging hard on hers. The Dover, Vt. native, who got her start riding at Mount Snow on a Mobile Monster her family bought at K-Mart, just seems to up the ante in her sport every year. In 2015, she added her fifth World Snowboarding Tour title to a roster of 2015 wins that also included her eighth Burton U.S. Open win and a silver at the X Games in Aspen. She also walked the red carpet in L.A. to pick up her second ESPY award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete. At 33, the three-time Olympic champion was the first woman to land a 1080 in the halfpipe. She currently spends most of her time when she’s not competing training in Mammoth, Calif., and working with her Kelly Clark Foundation to raise money and provide scholarships for promising young snowboarders. But she’s often home, hitting up TC’s, her family’s restaurant in Dover, visiting Burton (her sponsor) in Burlington and riding the home hill where it all started: Mount Snow.

Andy Newell: XC Veteran With 2015 marking his 14th year racing on the international stage, Vermont’s Nordic ski champion Andy Newell never disappoints. His passion for skiing, combined with his aptitude for sprinting impossibly fast, have made the 32-year-old an international contender for many years. Last February at the World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden, he placed seventh in the Team Sprint. And although the 2015/2016 season has just begun, Newell is already posting solid results. He finished second at

Hannah Kearney: Freestyle Champion As of 2015, Vermont can lay claim to two of the all-time best female mogul skiers. This past March, Hannah Kearney won the season finale in dual moguls. It was her 46th career victory, matching the record set in 1997 by Killington skier Donna Weinbrecht. In 2015, Kearney also won both the FIS Freestyle World Cup mogul title and the overall crystal globe. “Being even in the same category as Donna is huge,” said the Norwich native. Like Kelly Clark, Kearney was also one of 10 finalists for the prestigious 2015 Women’s

Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year award, which went to Serena Williams. Kearney, now 29, began skiing when she was two when her parents strapped her into a horse halter and let her rip down the local hills. As a teenager she was on the high school state championship teams in both soccer and track and won the Junior Mogul Championships. At age 17, in her rookie season, she scored two World Cup victories. A year later, in 2005, she was the overall champion. This past year was Kearney’s 13th as an international competitor and she capped it off with a cameo appearance in the Warren Miller

the opening FIS (International Ski Federation) competitions in Sweden. And in November, at the first World Cup Sprint of this season in Ruka, Finland, Newell pulled off a massively impressive fourth-place finish despite being one of the oldest competitors on the start line. In light of a tough season last year when he was often sick, Newell adopted a new outlook on racing and training this year. He trained slightly fewer hours and opted instead to focus on his health and the simple joy of skiing. He says,

film, "Chasing Shadows." But for Kearney, there’s a life to be considered after bump skiing and getting her college degree is part of that. Kearney started her college studies at Dartmouth, but for financial reasons transferred to Salt Lake City’s Westminster College, which offered U.S. Ski Team athletes free tuition. When asked for her tips on what made her successful, Kearney once said: “Never say never. As an 11-year-old, I said I would never do a backflip on snow. But I learned there’s a lot of reward in doing what scares you.”

“When I’m lost in the moment in a sprint and caught up in the tactics and excitement of racing against the other nations, that’s when I’m at my best.” The Shaftsbury resident is also quick to acknowledge the many advantages that arise from living and training in the Green Mountain State. “I changed my approach so that I could spend more time here," he says. "And it has only helped me improve as an athlete. Something about the mountains, climate, and community around here is perfect for cross-country skiing and training.”

In late November Newell kicks his way to fourth place in the World Cup Sprint in Ruka, Finland. Photo Fischer/Swix/Nordic Focus



With Cochran blood running in his veins, Robby Kelley shows the form that's earned 10 members of his extended family spots on the U.S. Ski Team Photo courtesty Podiumwear

(TIE) Tim and Robby Kelley: The Redneck Ski Racers Ski racing is a sport of individual victories. Yet this past year Tim Kelley, 29, and his brother Robby, 25, did what few ski racers since Bode Miller have done successfully: They decided to compete on the international circuit (with two other Vermonters—Tucker Marshall and Andrew McNealus) as a home-grown team, the Redneck Racers. Dressed in their signature camo race suits, sipping their homegrown Slopeside maple syrup, and training on their own at their 350-foot ski hill near Richmond, the Rednecks did just fine, thank you. So well it was hard to choose one brother over the other for this list. The Kelley brothers grew up at Cochran’s Ski hill where their mom, Lindy Cochran Kelley, and other members of the legendary Cochran ski racing dynasty, coached them. Both raced for University of Vermont (where Tim led the Catamounts to the NCAA championship win in 2012) and both have been on and off the U.S. Ski Team. But in the 2014/15 season neither made the national team. That didn’t stop them. They scraped together enough money to race in Europe, sleeping on floors, renting the cheapest cars they could and selling T-shirts and bottles of the Slopeside Syrup they boiled and bottled to help cover the costs. Tim took 23rd in the slalom at the World Alpine Ski Championships in Vail last February, only two points behind the top American, Ted Ligety. He went on to podium at the U.S. National Championships at Waterville Valley in


Starksboro's Tim Kelley is back on the U.S. Ski Team this year and already chasing America's top talent. Photo courtesy USSA.

March and earned a spot on the World Cup circuit. Robby had six FIS slalom victories in 2015. They both raced well enough to earn the respect of the U.S. Ski Team coaches, who invited them aboard the C Team for the 2015/16 season. Tim said yes. Robby declined, deciding that rather than pay the $20,000 it takes to be a C

Team athlete he’d stay a Redneck Racer and train and compete on his own. At the start of this season, both are doing better than ever. Robby entered and won the Australian national championships this past summer and on December 2 in Norway, earned his first Europa Cup (a training ground for the World Cup) medal with a third-place

finish. Tim finished third and fourth in the first Nor Am Cup races in Jackson Hole in late November. The brothers will be in good company this winter on the alpine circuit: cousin Ryan Cochran-Siegle is also on the U.S. Team along with seven others who have ties to Vermont.


Kasie Enman: The Skyracer When she isn’t helping at her daughter’s school or running her family’s maple sugaring business, Kasie Enman is off and running around the world. Literally. The 35-year-old mother of two from Huntington has been the surprise standout on the international Sky Racing Circuit. For the past two years, she has been beating some of Europe’s top talent in this series of ultramarathons at elevations of 2,000 feet or more. In 2014, Enman tied for second in the Skyrunning World Series Ultra category, even though it was only her second season of racing ultramarathons. In 2015, Enman continued to succeed on both national and international levels, despite plaguing injuries that have disrupted her training schedule. In February, she competed at the MSIG Sai Kung 50k in Hong Kong, a grueling race with countless steep ascents and descents, as well as a long and exposed ridge run. The heat was punishing, but she was able to power through to a third-place finish. Back on home turf in May, Enman won the women's division of Burlington’s Vermont City Marathon, with a time of 2:49:04. However, she describes this second VCM win as “bittersweet” since she was six minutes shy of her goal time of 2:43, the standard qualification for the Olympic Trials Marathon. In the 2008 Olympic Trials Marathon she finished 11th. The Middlebury College grad rounded out her summer successes in July with a silver medal at the U.S Mountain Running Championships in Oregon, which was good enough to land her a spot on the U.S. World Mountain Running Team for the second time. Although she was injured for most of September, Enman still pulled off an 11th-place finish at the World Mountain Running Championships in Wales and was part of the U.S. silver medal team. Given her impressive results this year, it is difficult to believe that Enman is not at the top of her game. “I haven’t really been able to perform at my best in a while,” she said. “But I am confident that I still have a few PRs and great races left in me once I catch a break.” In addition to training, Enman and her sister-in-law, Molly Peters, have been involved in a movement to make race distances equal for men and women in both mountain running championships as well as in the NCAA (see “Speak Up.”) If anyone has doubts about women being capable of racing the same distances as men, all they have to do is take a look at Enman’s career.

Flo Meiler: Setting World Records, at 81 Although some women today may take for granted their opportunity to participate in high school, collegiate and professional athletics, Flo Meiler

Huntington's Kasie Enman has become a force on the world Sky Racing circuit in races like this marathon in Zermatt. Photo courtesy Drozo/Salomon.

Meiler has received recognition for her accomplishments from The New York Times and CNN. She was also named the USA Track and Field Athlete of the Week at Nationals and is currently in the running for the IAAF Best Masters honors.

Mat Fraser: The Fittest in the World

You can't keep Flo Meiler down. At 81, she is still setting world records. Photo by Eliot Burg

remembers a time when women were excluded from sports. At 81, Meiler grew up long before Title IX. However, the Shelburne resident never let that hold her back and is proving that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams. The end of 2015 marks an amazingly successful year for Meiler. Going into the National Senior Games held in July she set her sights on advancing to

the World Masters Athletics Outdoor Championships in Lyon, France the following month. She qualified easily, picking up eight gold medals along the way. Then, in France, she set two additional world master records (to add to her existing 25); one in heptathlon and another in the 4 x 100-meter relay. In addition, she collected ten medals at the meet, five of which were gold.


This past summer, Colchester’s Mat Fraser stood before one of his toughest adversaries: a 600-pound block of rubber named simply “The Pig.” Surrounded by screaming spectators, the 25-yearold went to work under the sweltering California sun flipping the massive block end over end. Held in Carson, Calif., this event was CrossFit’s highest level of international competition—simply called “The Games”—and the title of “fittest on earth” was on the line. Fraser was among the top 40 men and 40 women looking to claim it. But more on that later. Standing at 5’6” and weighing 185 pounds, Fraser has developed a talent for lifting some very heavy things very quickly. Fraser became involved with competitive weight lifting in high school in Colchester and attended the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., for two years after graduating. But at 19, he suffered a back injury from overtraining. After surgery, he returned


A CrossFit rookie in 2014, Colchester's Mat Fraser came close to claiming the world title in 2015. Photo courtesy Mat Fraser

to Vermont and assumed life as what he describes as a “plain Jane” student. While at the University of Vermont he was introduced to one of the fastest growing fitness trends in America, CrossFit, a workout program and series of competitions involving all kinds of lifts and cardiovascular endurance tests. The CrossFit program now has more than 12,000 affiliated gyms around the world. Fraser entered this year’s world championships with some serious credentials: Just eight months after starting his CrossFit training, Fraser earned a spot at the 2013 Northeast Regionals. The following year he entered the 2014 The Games as a rookie, and placed second behind four-time champion Rich Froning. Fraser entered 2015's The Games as a favorite to succeed Froning (who retired this year) and claim the title of fittest on earth. But CrossFit emphasizes the unpredictable and at The Games, Fraser was confronted with two challenges that exploited his weaknesses, including “The Pig.” He was also required to complete a hellish series of sprints, hurdles and rope-climbs that wore him down. After four days of competition in 13 events, Fraser finished just 36 points behind winner Ben Smith. While he returned


to Vermont $90,000 richer, Fraser still wasn’t satisfied. “It pointed out a hole in my game, something that I wasn’t good at,” he says. Preparing for CrossFit competitions are as much of a mental challenge as a physical one—and that’s what he loves about it. “Every day is a constant battle of finding my weaknesses and fixing them,” he says. “It’s like a chess match, a constant balancing act of movements and modalities.” This past year, he’s competed in Switzerland and Italy and this January, he’ll travel to Brazil for another competition. He’s still got his eyes on that world title. “I’m putting all my eggs in that basket,” he says. “The winning-theworld-basket.”

Alicia Dana: Paracyling’s World Phenom At 46, Putney’s Alicia Dana knows what it is like to get back on the bike—multiple times over. This past year, Dana had win after win, earning enough points to put her at the top of International Cycling Union Paracycling World Cup rankings. And for 2016, she’s set the bar even higher. As a teenager, Dana started using a handcycle after a back injury left

At 46, Alicia Dana leads the women's field and is starting to race the guys. Photo courtesy Alicia Dana

her paralyzed below the waist. In the 1990s, she rode across the country, from Washington to Vermont, to raise funds for disability-related causes. By 2001 and 2002 she was competing internationally. But in 2003 she had a daughter and decided to take time off. Ten years later, she was back cycling. At age 42, she decided to start racing again. Her description of that first race back: “I got creamed,” she says. “But I realized that’s where the bar was set and I wanted to get back up to the

top.” Her friends and neighbors helped out, raising about $10,000 to help buy a high-tech bike after Dana’s old bike was stolen and helping her attend a clinic at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. “At that clinic, I learned what it takes to get onto the team and what training really involves,” she says. “It gave me a real jump start and it got me motivated, focused and gave me some tools to work with.” With renewed passion and her new


Jericho's Lea Davison leaps for joy after earning a silver medal this summer at the mountain biking World Cup in Switzerland. Photo by Kate Courtney

ride, Dana returned to the international stage in 2012. She made the Paralympic team and traveled to London for the World Cup, placing fifth overall in the time trial. In 2014, she won the World Cup in Spain. And this past year, she won five gold medals out of a total of eight international World Cup competitions in Europe and South Africa for the title of overall World Cup winner. Her World Cup season began in June in Switzerland, where she took third in a time trial, over a minute behind the winner, but won the road race. At Elzach, Germany, she took first place in both races, nearly two minutes ahead of the next-fastest racer. She took second at the Swiss Road World Championships in both the time trial and road race, trailing closely behind Italian Francesca Portacello. Dana wrapped up her season in the International Cycling Union Paracycling World Cup circuit by claiming wins in her category in September’s finale in South Africa. Dana currently leads her category, 31 points ahead of Portacello. “Things have been on an uphill swing,” she says, “and I’m looking forward to next season.” Dana has set her sights on the next Paralympic Games in Brazil in September 2016 and plans to train by competing in the men’s division

in U.S. events throughout the south this winter. “I don’t get a lot of race experience until I’m at these top-level events in Europe,” she says. “So in these domestic races, I’ll really have to fight. It’s that kind of close contact, the surges, sprints and the drama that you don’t get when you’re on a trainer.” Guys, watch out.

Lea Davison: Mountain Biking’s Maven Although she has been a strong contender on the world mountain biking circuit for a number of years, 2015 was Lea Davison’s most successful season yet. This past July, at the World Cup in Switzerland, Davison slipped out of her pedal at the critical start of the crosscountry race and found herself in 14th place early on. She didn’t panic, though, and eventually clawed her way back to win the silver medal. Two months later, the 32-year-old from Jericho finished sixth at the World Cup at Mount Saint Anne, Quebec. In September, she was tenth at the Mountain Biking World Championships in Andorra. Davison still possesses a lot of potential and the next step for her is the 2016 Olympics. To prepare, she competed in the International Cycling MTB Challenge in Rio de Janeiro in

October where she placed seventh. Like Enman, Davison dedicates herself to helping to empower women and girls. She is an active volunteer for the non-profit Little Bellas that she cofounded with her sister in 2010. This organization provides mountain biking camps and sessions for girls with the goal of helping young women realize their potential through cycling. After recapping her past season, Davison recently posted on her Twitter page, “I can’t wait for 2016!” We can’t either.

Brendan Rhim: Collegiate Cycling Champ In May 2015, Brendan Rhim, a 19-yearold from Norwich, Vt., put the cycling world on notice at the Collegiate Nationals in North Carolina. With 40 miles to go, the Furman College freshman attacked on the first major hill on the course, took the lead and finished alone, the pack far behind. A day later, he won the criterium, then helped his team win the time trials and sweep the Division II nationals. It was the first time any college team has swept all disciplines. That wasn’t the only national victory for Rhim, who was recruited to be part of the California Giant Berry Farms/ Specialized development team. In April,


he surprised the top racers in the country by beating them at California’s Redlands Bicycle Classic, the biggest win of his career. In May, Rhim returned home to win the King of the Mountain title at the Killington Stage Race with his Cal Giant teammate and fellow Vermonter Ansel Dickey right next to him on the podium. That was an especially sweet victory for Rhim who grew up training with coach Peter Vollers and the Killington Mountain School’s cycling team. As a junior and a student at Hanover High School, he’d won the Killington Stage Race at 16 and in 2012 went on to win the criterium in the Junior Nationals. After that win Furman Coach Rusty Miller began recruiting Rhim. “Beyond his physical gifts, it’s his demeanor that will see him to the top of the sport,” Miller told Velo News after the Collegiate Nationals victory. “In the race he will rip off your head and stomp on your skull, but before and after that he’s grinning like the Buddha, unperturbed by anything. I have never seen an athlete with such control of his competitive streak, much less in one who is still a teenager. His calm presence keeps the whole team at ease.” That calm will do Rhim well as he heads into the 2016 season with Cal Giant, takes on a full load as a sophmore


Head down and moving fast, Norwich's Brendan Rhim shows why no one could catch him on the collegiate circuit. Photo courtesy California Giant/Specialized

at Furman and sets his eye on joining the Pro Continental team as well.

Pavel Cenkl: The (Climate) Game Changer As a professor of environmental humanities at Sterling College in Craftsbury, Vt., Pavel Cenkl encounters evidence of irreversible climate change every day. This summer, Cenkl, 44, went the distance to raise awareness for climate change—150 miles to be precise—by running from the north coast of Iceland to the south coast. After deciding to commit to the run in the fall of 2014 (see his interview with Vermont Sports at, Cenkl built a workout regimen on his own and began planning his route. Iceland, like much of the East Coast of the United States, experienced heavy snowfall last winter that lasted into the spring. Even when Cenkl and his son Orion arrived in Reykjavík in June, many of the highland areas and trails were still closed due to heavy snowpack, forcing him to adjust the route. Cenkl started his run at 6:30 a.m. on June 15, running 50 miles that first day. Family members acted as a support team and waited with food and a car for him to sleep in. After sleeping four hours, he took off on another 45 miles on trails, gravel roads and across tundra and


"If you like beer and debauchery and can trot along, then you are one of us." —"Suzy Homewrecker"

On his "Climate Run," Pavel Cenkl crosses Iceland to raise awareness of climate change. Photo courtesy Pavel Cenkl

snowfields. All around him on his run, he saw evidence of a changing climate. The island loses about 10 billion tons of ice every year and some glaciers have disappeared completely. In the weeks before and after the run, Cenkl collected water samples as part of a study by the Adventures and Scientists for Conservation. Even in the

most remote areas of Iceland, four out of five samples showed trace amounts of microplastics—small quantities of plastics from clothes, packaging and even soap that find their way into the environment. Since this summer, Cenkl has given presentations on his run and its connection to climate resilience in Vermont, North Carolina and Ohio. Next year, he plans

on running the Leadville 100, a 100mile ultra race in the Colorado Rockies. He’s also contemplating an adventure in Greenland. “The conversation we’re not having is how we as athletes and outdoor recreation folks connect with the outdoors and interact with nature,” he says.









Winners to be announced in the February/March issue of Vermont Sports Magazine.




Favorite Things


THE HOLIDAYS ARE A TIME for indulgences—that extra piece of pie, yet another craft beer, and stocking up on stuff you didn’t even know you coveted (for family and friends, of course), until you read about it here. So for all the athletes we know, here are a few of our favorite things to give for 2015 or to get in 2016. —Sue Halpern


1. Vermont-Made Custom Snowshoes

2. Mad River Rocket Sled

Designed and custom-made in Vermont by storied snowshoe racers Bob and Denise Dion, Dion Snowshoes (approximately $240, are a unique gift. The snowshoes are modular: pick a frame—there are racing, hiking, or expedition models. Pair the frame with snow-specific Teflon-coated cleats and add quick-fit or secure-fit bindings. Each component can be swapped out with others, meaning no more one-size-fits-all snowshoes. You can adjust each pair to fit different sizes and then also adapt them to changing snow conditions. This makes them perfect for family use.

When Warren architect Dave Sellers designed the first Mad River Rocket back in the 1980s he had no idea the sled would catch on as it has. Sellers, world-renowned for his unconventional approach to design, began working on the plastic kneel-on sleds at the Mad River Canoe company. The sled uses a “negative” keel that acts like a rail in the snow: you kneel under a strap and steer by pivoting with your body weight and your arms. (Note: this works best on steep slopes.) Soon a cult following developed of serious backcountry sledders and along with it two popular models: for kids, The


Stinger ($124, www.madriverrocket. com) and for adults, the Killer B ($179).

come in a variety of weights for a variety of activities; all of them feel luxurious against the skin.

3. Get Your Wool On Keep that person on your list warm and dry in a pair of Ibex Woolies base layer long johns ($85 and up, www., made from the Vermont company’s signature superfine merino wool. Magically, Ibex has managed to make a base layer that’s not only cozy, wicking, smell-resistant and easy to care for, but one that’s stylish as well. There are stripes, vibrant colors, Henleys, ziptops and crews as well as insulating tights with wide waistbands. Woolies

4. Carbon Touring Poles Snowshoers and backcountry skiers will welcome a pair of ridiculously easy-to-adjust Black Diamond Razor Carbon Touring Poles ($124.95, www., which are light (only 1 lb, 5 oz.) but strong enough to withstand the torques of bashing through deep snow. These poles do double duty in the off-seasons. Hikers and trekkers will find it simple to remove the baskets and use the poles to wander the woods.








5. A Shoulder-Season Hoody It’s hard to find something truly new in the outdoor apparel world. But OR’s Deviator Hoody ($185, www. is like nothing I’ve worn before. It’s lightly insulated over the torso while the back, sleeves and neck use a wicking fabric that’s soft and comfortable. This makes it perfect for the shoulder seasons, the hardest-to-dressfor seasons of the year—a trail run at 40 degrees, a cross country ski on a sunny afternoon, or a zippy trot on a pair of snowshoes.

ride along, sensors automatically change the machine’s resistance to meet the route’s topography. If you ever wanted to climb the Alpe d’Huez, practice cycling around a velodrome, or compete on the cobbled streets of Paris-Roubaix, you now can—at home. While you’re riding, the machine’s software also gathers data on your heart rate, power, speed and distance, all of which is uploaded, analyzed and stored on the cloud. (Note that while there is a free library of 2-D videos, to get the full 3-D experience requires a $15 a month subscription after the first year.)

6. The Ultimate Indoor Trainer The BKool Smart Pro Turbo Trainer ($559 and up, may be the most ambitious cycling simulator yet invented. You can choose from more than 500,000 routes on 3D video and, as you

7. All-Weather Battery Charger It’s hard to keep a cell phone charged in the cold and if you are out for a multiday hut trip or backcountry ski, forget it. Now, there’s a solution: The All Terrain

($39) and All Terrain Plus charger ($59, meets military specs and is pretty much waterproof, dropproof and freeze-proof (we put ours in the freezer for a week and it still worked). The Plus 6000 mAh version can recharge smartphones, tablets and other mobile electronic devices in the worst conditions. Ours charged an iPhone 6 three times faster than the standard Apple charger. The All Terrain Plus pumps out 3.4 amps of power across two USB ports in case you need to charge two devices at once.

8. No-Fog Sunglasses With a wide field of vision and stunningly clear optics, Julbo’s Venturi ($180, www. sunglasses are designed for trail running, but ideal, too, for cycling and Nordic skiing. No matter how humid I’ve gotten, these glasses have not fogged


up, and the bendable nose and earpieces keep them firmly and comfortably on my head.

9. A Day-to-Overnight Pack Hikers and backpackers will appreciate the integrated rainfly on Osprey’s Kestrel 38 ($160, and Kestrel 48 ($180) daypacks. Both are big enough to stow a sleeping bag and enough gear for a couple of days. They also have a slot for a hydration bladder and incorporate the kind of sophisticated, back-sparing, sweatshedding suspension system typically found on much bigger packs.

10. Fast Skis, Good Grip The big question everyone has when it comes to buying cross-country skis is wax or waxless? It can be a pain to wax, but waxless skis with their plastic fish scales


15. 10.



tend to be noisy and slow. The waxless Atomic Sport Pro Skintec ($449, www. has a new take on old tech: it uses a short ribbon of replaceable synthetic mohair in the kick zone to give you grip on the uphills. These skis are surprisingly fast and responsive, with enough grip to make climbing a breeze and going downhill even breezier.

11 & 12. Keep-Out-the-Cold Jackets Based in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Stio knows what serious skiers need. This season the company has come up with an especially head-turning alpine kit, the Stio Shot 7 Down Jacket ($550, and Shot 7 Insulated Pant ($395.) Both are made with down with an outer layer of Pertex that will keep you dry and clement no matter the weather on the mountain. (There are women’s and men’s models.)



Down is an especially efficient insulator— ask any duck—but paired with an outer layer of Pertex, it’s a super-breathable fabric that moves well and casts off excess heat and water.

13. A Monthly Box of Goodies Sure you can give monthly boxes of wine, fruit or chocolate, but what about giving something your favorite athlete will actually use year-round? That’s the idea behind giving a subscription to a Cairn mystery box ($25 a month, www.getcairn. com). Each month a Cairn box arrives with things outdoors people need and use such as trail mix, insect repellent or socks.

14. Fattie Bike Fun Itching to get back on the bike? The new Specialized Fuse Comp 6Fattie. ($1600, will get

you through the winter. The Fuse (and its sister, the Ruze) are proven hardtails with aluminum frames and use Specialized’s new 6Fattie Wheel System: giant 3-inch knobbies on 27.5 inch wheels. The big tires provide superb traction and control, which makes the bike appealing to novices as well as to more experienced riders. The 27.5-inch wheels split the difference between the old school 26s and the newer school 29s, making the ride smooth and the Fuse easy to maneuver. The base model is the Comp, but if you want to upgrade your components or are looking for hand-built wheels, the Expert and the Pro models crank everything up a notch.

15. A Beer Lesson and Christmas Cake Anyone who appreciates good beer will appreciate it even more after getting a gift

certificate for a Beer Appreciation class at the American Brewers Guild. Based out of Middlebury’s Drop-In Brewery, the Guild draws both home and professional brewers from all over the world for advanced courses in brewing. However, anyone can take a class in Beer Appreciation ($75, In it, DropIn brewmaster Steve Parke (formerly of Woolavers, Otter Creek and Humboldt) covers everything from the history of beer to sensory analysis to food pairings. Oh yes, and tasting and cheese pairings too. The three-hour class will let you trump any wine snob. Or take it to the next level with a novice brewing course. Cap it off with a growler of Christmas Cake, $14. We’re not talking about a fruitcake here, but, Drop-In’s holiday ale that’s brewed with dried fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg and a “super secret” ingredient.


2 2 Terrific Menus

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helping you hit the slopes for more than 20 years. Welcome to the 21st century community hospital. Welcome to Copley. at copley hospital, we believe in providing patients with access to the highest quality care, close to home. for us, that means top surgeons and other medical providers who are attuned to the latest research and techniques, and can perform state-of-the-art surgeries and procedures with a focus on minimally invasive approaches. Match that with the warm, personalized feel of a community hospital. top medical care close to home. that’s what we’re here for. Our physicians: Brian Aros, MD; Bryan Huber, MD; John Macy, MD; Joseph McLaughlin, MD and Saul Trevino, MD.

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THE ICE MAN NAME Bob Dill AGE: 67 LIVES IN: Burlington OCCUPATION: Retired engineer PRIMARY SPORTS: Nordic skating and speed sailing

VS: What are some of your favorite places to skate? BD: Last year we skated about 30 miles from Benson’s Landing north to the Champlain Bridge. It wasn’t an easy skate because there were some tricky spots. Another area I like which is a lot tamer, but very pretty, is the north shore of Malletts Bay. Lake George is also a great place to skate.

VS: What made you create your website

If you want to find the best ice for skating or ice boating, follow Bob Dill, who shares his knowledge at Photo: Bob Dill


ew people know ice like Bob Dill. He has raced ice boats (sailboats that run on blades) for years, held the world speed record in a land yacht and, these days, puts his engineering background to work for a website that explains ice dynamics to those who enjoy getting out on New England’s frozen lakes and ponds.

VS: How did you start ice boating? BD: We started in the late 1970s with a homemade boat and then built a DN (a one-design racing boat named for a boat building competition in the Detroit News). We got some local sailors interested and there was an active fleet here. I organized the World Championship on Malletts Bay in 1989 and we had people come from as far as central Russia. Lake Champlain has been host to more championship DN events than any other lake; six in the last 40 years. It has the right climate and elevation and lots of bays, which makes it ideal for ice skating and sailing. Last winter the DN Eastern and New England regattas took place in Shelburne Bay.

VS: What's the fastest you've sailed? BD: When I was learning about ice boats I read as much as I could and I saw claims for high speeds that were just preposterously fast. I bought a radar gun and started measuring the speeds of the


ice boats, from DNs to the really high speed ones. The fastest I went in a DN was 62 mph and other racing iceboats rarely got over 80 mph, even though many claim higher speeds. In 1993 I built an iceboat with Bob Schumacher, but we didn’t get it on the ice until the middle of March 1994 and by then the ice was too soft to go fast. That summer I got interested in land sailing, which is easier to measure, so we modified the iceboat for land sailing by replacing the blades with wheels and made a few other changes. We named it the Wood Duck, and took it to a speed event in the Mojave Desert. The first day the wind was only 2530 mph and we couldn’t get it to take off. But the next day it blew 40 mph and we got the boat to go 71 mph. Unfortunately, a wind gust tipped the boat over and broke a wing. I learned a lot about what I shouldn’t do and we ended up building a new boat, the Iron Duck. We kept modifying it and in 1999 I got it to 114 mph and Bob Schumacher got it to 116.7. (He was always the better sailor.) That set a world record for wind-powered vehicles, a record that lasted for ten years.

VS: You Nordic skate now more than sail. How do you find the best ice? BD: It depends on the weather but generally in the last half of November I

start looking at some of the ponds in New York with another skater from Moriah. (We sometimes wear dry suits as the ice can still be very thin). There are some bodies of water that commit very early and often we start the season there. From there we often go south to smaller bodies of water in Chittenden County like Shelburne Pond. After that, there might be ice at Missisquoi Bay and around Alburgh and then Inner and Outer Malletts Bay around New Year’s. In the first part of January the ice starts to work on some of the shallower bays like Thompson’s Bay or Point Bay in Charlotte. By late January or early February there may be some progression towards the deepest part of the lake from Thompson’s Point up to Burlington but most years we don’t get that.

VS: Last winter the broad lake froze over for the second year in a row. Did you get to skate across it? BD: I’ve been on that part of the lake in an ice boat but this was my first time skating across it. It was possible because there were two large leads off Appletree Point and Shelburne Point and since the snowfall had been light, the ice was snow-free and relatively smooth and glassy. Most years the ice would have been much rougher than it was last year. It was an almost perfect year for skating.

BD: I was DN class secretary for a number of years and wrote a bunch of safety articles. But what really spurred me to start working on it was a particularly bad snowmobile accident in 2010 which killed three people on Lake Dunmore on ice that looked safe but wasn’t. The purpose of the site is to give people a source for information on how ice behaves and to learn what gets you into trouble. The reality is that very few people die on the ice but we’ve all been in situations where we’ve fallen through or been out on ice we shouldn’t have been on. The website is designed for people to get an understanding of what they’re dealing with and what to watch out for. If they want to delve in further there’s plenty of scientific information there too.

VS: What advice do you give to anyone heading out on the ice? BD: Use your head and carry the right equipment: a throw rope, ice claws, and poles. You should also wear some flotation. With it, you can stay in the water for an hour and be rescued but without it you can lose your ability to swim in ten minutes. Also, stay off the ice at night when you have far less ability to avoid problems and rescue yourself or others. Definitely don’t take people on the ice who don’t know what they’re getting into. It’s a bit like mountaineering in terms of potential danger.

VS: Have you rescued anyone? BD: Not people, but some animals. Last year we found a deer on Shelburne Pond that couldn’t stand up. We got a rope and two of us managed to get the rope under the deer and slowly drag it to the edge of the pond to some snow where it was able to stand and bounded off. I also recently rescued a dog on Lincoln Pond. We had to yank it by the paws and it didn’t seem very happy with us, but we got it out. —Phyl Newbeck



March 6, 2016 register & donate at

Hosted by: The Memphremagog Ice Skating Club and Kingdom Games Lake Memphremagog, Newport and Derby, VT


Saturday Morning: 1 km and 5km races.   Free and open to all, young and old Saturday Afternoon: 24km race Saturday Evening: Seafood “Skaters” Buffet at The EastSide Restaurant, Newport, VT Sunday: 42km race


Free skating any distance all winter long as conditions allow.   Check the Facebook Page of the Memphremagog Ice Skating Club for conditions.


An Endurance Ski Event & Fundraiser To Benefit

Media support provided by Vermont Sports


Saturday or Sunday, February 13/14, 2016 we skate, ski, and sled the length of the lake between Newport, VT and Magog, QC (weather and ice dependent). SPONSORED BY North Country Hospital, Community National Bank, Vermont Sports Magazine, The Memphremagog Ice Skating Club, Newport Daily Express, Passumpsic Savings Bank, Jay Peak Resort, Q Burke Mountain Resort, The City of Newport, The Town of Derby, Northeast Delta Dental.


Sunday, February 28 9 a.m. Sun Bowl Stratton Mountain, VT 3K & 5K Snowshoe Walk 3K Snowshoe Race Kids Snowshoe Dash Bring your own snowshoes or we will provide you with demo snowshoes.

Register online at PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT

Be a part of a premier organization The Vermont Army National Guard is host to the: • Army Mountain Warfare School • National Guard Biathlon Team and the only • Mountain Infantry Brigade in the ARMY. 1.800.4VTARNG



P.O. Box 2496, 1009 Depot Street Manchester Center, VT 05255 802-362-2733 Presented by

Official Snowshoe Partner

Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Monadnock Radio Group

Brattleboro Radio Group WEQX Radio 102.7



CALENDAR OF EVENTS Event organizers! Listing your event in this calendar is free and easy. Visit or e-mail All area codes are 802, and all locations Vermont, unless otherwise noted. Featured events, in yellow, pay a nominal fee.

27 "Chasing Shadows," Ludlow & Stowe, Vt. Okemo and Stowe's Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum each host Warren Miller Entertainment's movie "Chasing Shadows."

JANUARY Resorts collaborate in an attempt to set a world record for the largest group ski and snowboard lessons. Participating resorts include: Bromley, Okemo, Jay Peak, Smugglers’ Notch, Bolton Valley, Pico, Mad River Glen, Stratton and Mount Snow.

10 Winter Trails Day at Bolton Valley, Vt. Bolton Valley offers introductory lessons in snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.


12/12 December Demo at Okemo, Vt. 12/15 Test Fest at Killington, Vt. 12/19 Powe Snowboard Demo at Jay Peak, Vt. 12/12 Mountainfest Demo Day at Stowe, Vt. 1/16 RAMP Sports Demo Day at Mad River Glen, Vt. 1/24 Rocky Mountain Underground Demo Day at Bolton Valley, Vt. 1/26 RAMP Sports Demo Day at Mad River Glen, Vt. 2/7 Uphill Demo at Bolton Valley, Vt.

18 Mad River Glen Family Tournament, Vt. Mad River Glen’s popular competition helps families find their fastest skier.

23-24 NATO Telemark Workshop, Bromley, Vt. Bromley hosts a two-day telemark clinic for all levels of skier.

29 NASTAR Eastern Championships, Okemo, Vt. The Eastern Championships provide recreational racers with an opportunity to qualify for the Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships at Snowmass, Co.

DECEMBER 19 Fifth Annual Mount Snow Film Fest, Vt.

31 Ski for Heat at Bromley, Vt.

The Sundance Base Lodge hosts ski and snowboard films along with footage from last year.

19 Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge, Okemo, Vt. Okemo kicks off this popular East Coast series with a free, fun race on Bull Run open to all abilities.

19-20 NATO Telemark Workshop at Bromley, Vt. Bromley hosts a two-day telemark clinic for all levels of skier.

Bolton Valley hosts a popular eastern race series with a free, fun race open to all abilities.

MARCH 4 Special Olympics at Suicide Six, Vt. Suicide Six hosts the Special Olympics with alpine, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.

6 Extreme Skiing Challenge, Smugglers' Notch, Vt. Take on Smugglers’ most challenging lift-accessed terrain in this freeskiing competition.


7 Fisk Trophy Race at Suicide Six, Vt.

Mont Tremblant hosts a backcountry festival with tours, workshops, demos and a race.

Suicide Six hosts the 79th consecutive running of the oldest alpine trophy race in North America.

23 Saturday Night Lights Uphill Event, Stowe, Vt. The Gondolier trail at Stowe will be lit for the evening while skiers and split boarders earn their turns.

30 Burke Backcountry Adventure, East Burke, Vt. Q Burke hosts a randonne race with over 4,000 feet of vertical gain with descents through glades, black diamonds and some groomed surfaces.


all the time!

Chiropractics | Physical & Occupational Therapy | Podiatry | Sports Medicine

The Sharon Health Center is Gifford’s sports medicine headquarters. Home to two general sports medicine providers, two chiropractors, and two podiatrists, not to mention an athletic trainer and physical therapists, Sharon offers care from providers who understand your drive to get back to the sports you love. To schedule an appointment call us today!


28 Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge at Bolton Valley, Vt.

8-10 Rando Alpine Festival, Mont Tremblant, QC

Indoors or out, Earl’s has what you need to stay active and healthy this winter!


Middlebury College Snow Bowl and Rikert Nordic Center hosts NCAA racing.


“Your Year-Round Fitness Headquarters”

2500 Williston Rd South Burlington

26-27 Winter Carnival, Middlebury Snow Bowl, Vt.


The first leg of the Triple Crown Series and the first stop of the Ski the East Freeride Tour.

Spruce Peak hosts the 66th release from Warren Miller Entertainment, "Chasing Shadows. 7 p.m.

22 Triple Crown Vertical Challenge, Mad River Glen, Vt.

Bromley hosts a fundraiser to help local neighbors in need of heating assistance.

20 Triple Crown Unconventional Challenge, Mad River Glen, Vt.

26 "Chasing Shadows," Stowe, Vt.

Ski jumpers from around the world compete on southern Vermont’s historic ski jump.

The second leg of the Triple Crown Series sees how many vertical feet you can ski in a day.

8 World’s Largest Lesson,


20-21 Harris Hill Ski Jump, Brattleboro,Vt.

Dr. Jonathan Bjork Podiatry

Dr. Michael Chamberland

Dr. Paul Smith

Dr. Steve Mustoe



Dr. Nat Harlow

Dr. Peter Loescher

Sports Medicine


Sports Medicine

Sharon Health Center

To schedule an appointment call (802) 763-8000 12 Shippee Lane, Sharon, VT |


CALENDAR OF EVENTS 31 RASTA Share the Stash Tour, Liberty Hill

19-20 24 Hours of Bolton, Vt.

The Rochester Area Sport Trails Alliance leads a strenuous ski tour suitable for advanced backcountry skiers/riders. Contact Dan McKinley. 802.770.4177

The Bolton Valley's first 24-hour backcountry ski and splitboard event. Participants compete for the most overall laps in a 12-hour or 24-hour period.


26 NE Rando Race Series “The Sun,” Peru, Vt.

6 & 27 Saturday Night Lights Uphill, Stowe, Vt.

Bromley hosts a 4,793 vertical feet randonnee race with a skintrack, but no bootpack.

The Gondolier trail at Stowe will be lit for the evening while skiers and split boarders earn their turns.

20 Winter Wild Uphill Race, Okemo, Vt. Skiers skin to Okemo’s summit before skiing back down to the finish line.

22 Catamount Trail Association Backcountry Day at Bolton Valley, Vt. The Catamount Trail Association holds a series of clinics for alpine touring and telemark skiing.

28 RASTA Share the Stash Tour, Brandon Gap The Rochester Area Sport Trails Alliance leads a strenuous ski tour suitable for advanced backcountry skiers/riders. Contact Karl Fjeld, 802.236.8023

MARCH 5 Snow Leopard Challenge, Jay Peak, Vt. Jay Peak hosts a rando-race up, down and around the mountain, totaling 5K.

6 Camel’s Hump Challenge, Hinesburg, Vt.

Ongoing: Wednesday Night Uphill Series, Bolton Valley, Vt. Bolton Valley hosts a series of casual uphill races on Wednesday evenings starting Jan. 27.

NORDIC DECEMBER 18 Quarry Road Opener, Waterville, Me. The Quarry Road Recreation Area hosts a season-opening race with a no-fee lollipop event.

19-20 NENSA Eastern Cup Opener, Craftsbury, Vt. The Craftsbury Outdoor Center hosts 1.3K women’s and 1.5K men’s classic sprints and a 5K “barnburner” freestyle sprint.

Culminating the evening uphill series, the Catamount Trail Association holds an evening race up the Gondolier trail.

30-31 NENSA Eastern Cup #3, Whiteface, N.Y. Whiteface Mountain’s Nordic area hosts a 1.4K sprint on Saturday and 5K and 10K races on Sunday.

FEBRUARY 6-7 NENSA Eastern Cup Race Weekend #4, Stowe, Vt. The Von Trapp trails host 5K/10K freestyle races on Saturday and 10K/15K classic races on Sunday.

13-14 Romance Half Marathon, Ripton, Vt. The Rikert Nordic Center hosts weekend half-marathon on their trail network.

9 SIA Winter Trails Day, various Nordic centers

14 Valentines Paintball Race, Gilford, N.H.

10 Stowe Nordic Mini Enduro, Stowe, Vt.

26 Topsy Turvy Derby, Stowe, Vt.

The Craftsbury Outdoor Center hosts Masters through U16 divisions in 6K classic and skate races. BKL skiers race in 1-2K classic and skate races.


12 Bolton Valley Split and Surfest, Bolton, Vt.

Magic Mountain hosts two days of randonne racing including a 7,000 vertical foot race, an uphill-only race and an hour-long criterium.

24 Mansfield Nordic Masters and BKL Duathlon, Craftsbury, Vt.

The Craftsbury Marathon is a classical technique wave start cross-country ski race of 25 or 50K on January 30. It is on a 12.5K loop with three aid stations.

The Alzheimer’s Association holds their 29th annual 13.5mile trek around Camel’s Hump.

12-13 NE Rando Race Series’ Magic Mountain, Vt.

The Jackson Ski Touring Center hosts a day of Nordic clinics and races for women.

30 Craftsbury Marathon, Craftsbury, Vt.

Trail networks around the Northeast hold an introduction to winter sports including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

The Catamount Trail Association hosts a splitboarding festival with clinics, backcountry tours and an obstacle course.

24 15th Annual New England Women’s XC Ski Day, Jackson, N.H.

Participants race 7.5K or 12.5K with interval starts on the Trapp trails.

16-17 NENSA Eastern Cup #2, Rumford, Me. Black Mountain Ski Area hosts a 5K/10K freestyle race on Saturday with interval starts and a 5K/10K classic race on Sunday with a mass start.

18 43rd Geshmossel Classic Ski Race, Bretton Woods, N.H.

Gunstock Nordic Association will host its annual paintballbiathlon race for kids. Distances include 3 x 2.5K freestyle laps.

19 Family Fun Day, Ripton, Vt. The Rikert Nordic Center hosts a day of family friendly Nordic skiing activities including tours, races and scavenger hunts, finished with a bonfire.

19-21 Canadian Ski Marathon, Buckingham, QC Novice and elite-level cross-country skiers head north for a 160K, three-day, point-to-point marathon tour that ends in Lachute, QC.

A 15K classic Nordic ski race that takes place on the Ammonoosuc trail network at the Bretton Woods Nordic Center.



JUNIOR SKI LEASE Pkgs start at


• Overnight service • High performance tuning • Binding adjustments and calibration • Lease skis & snowboards at unbeatable prices • Daily equipment rentals

Visit us today for the complete Fischer EZ Skin line. Including the Traverse 78, Excursion 88, and the S Bound 98, 112, 125! 20 Langdon Street • Montpelier, VT • • (802) 229-9409


Main Street, Richmond Open 8 to 6 Daily 434-6327 or 863-FAST


CALENDAR OF EVENTS 26-27 Winter Carnival, Ripton, Vt. The Rikert Nordic Center hosts NCAA cross-country ski racing. The neighboring Middlebury College Snow Bowl hosts alpine racing.

27 Frigus, Goshen, Vt. The Endurance Society holds a combination, snowshoe, cross-country ski and sled race with varying distances in each division, as well as a triathlon.

28 Strafford Nordic Center, Strafford, Vt. The Strafford Nordic Center hosts a sprint relay race for teams of two. Free Strafford Organic Creamery Ice Cream for all participants.

28 71st Stowe Derby, Stowe, Vt. Ski from the top of the Toll Road down to the Rec path and finish in the center of town. Race open to fat bikes too.

MARCH 4-6 2016 Bill Koch Festival, Gorham, N.H. The Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center hosts a weekend of racing for all styles of Nordic skiing.




7 Frozen Onion, Montpelier, Vt.

30-31 3rd Annual Memphremagog Marathon, Newport, Vt. Kingdom Games, hosts free 1 and 5K races, a 21 and 42K race plus a 42K untimed skate.

6-7 Memphremagog Pond Hockey, Newport, Vt. Kingdom Games hosts a pond hockey tournament for teams of six from Vermont and Canada. The second weekend of competition is Feb. 20-21.

13 The Great Skate, Newport, Vt. Skaters and cross country skiers attempt a 25-mile “border buster” skate from Newport, Vt. to Magog, QC.


Bretton Woods Nordic Center at Omni Mount Washington Resort hosts a 42/21K classic.

8 – 10 Extremus, Richmond, Vt.

12 Bread Loaf Citizens Race, Ripton, Vt. The Rikert Nordic Center hosts their umpteenth running of the 5K cross country race with the traditional loaf of bread for the winner, plus a lollipop race for the kids. Costumes are highly encouraged.

12 Relay For Life Nordic Style, Williston, Vt. Teams camp out on the snow while taking turns for eight hours skiing or snowshoeing. Live entertainment and food all night long.

28 Bob’s Birthday Bash and Relays, Ripton, Vt. The Rikert Nordic Center celebrates Robert Frost’s birthday with a day of races ending with cake and a grill. Costumes are encouraged.

Kingdom Trails hosts a day celebrating fatbike culture with group rides, demos, races, food and beverages. www.

OTHER EVENTS FEBRUARY 7 Polar Bear Obstacle Challenge, Benson, Vt. Shale Hill Adventure Farm hosts an eight-hour obstacle race over a 10K course with over 60 obstacles.


Bretton Woods hosts a 10K freestyle race. A short-course BKL event will also be offered.

MARCH 3 Winterbike, East Burke, Vt.


5 Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon, N.H.

6 42nd Mt. Washington Cup, Bretton Woods, N.H.

Onion River Sports in Montpelier hosts a fatbike race in Hubbard Park plus demos, food, bonfire and group rides.

The Endurance Society holds a 50-mile, nonstop, pointto-point trek on the spine of the Green Mountains. Trek is self-supported and limited to 50 participants. www.

Ethan Allen Biathlon Club 2016 Winter Race Series

MARCH 18-19 Peak Snowshoe Race, Pittsfield, Vt. Peak Races hosts 10K, half-marathon, marathon and 100mile snowshoe races on a 6.5-mile loop with 1,200 vertical feet on each lap.

DATES January 7, 14, 21, February 4, 11, 18 TIMES 5:00 pm - Registration 5:30 to 6:00 pm - Zeroing 6:15 pm - Race Start WHERE Ethan Allen Biathlon Club Ethan Allen Rd., Jericho, VT


NEW: See our website for NEW mandatory

Safety Clinic information

JANUARY 16 Rikert Fatbike Roundup, Ripton, Vt.


Rikert Nordic Center hosts group rides, a bonfire and cookout. Fatbikes can be rented.

One stop shopping for your Nordic needs.

49 Brickyard Lane, Putney Vermont







By Lisa Gosselin



anta drives a snowplow. I know this for a fact: I’ve seen him. A year after I moved back to Vermont I got my first glimpse of him. The snow had fallen heavily all night and, though it was December, it was already stacked high on the sides of the road. I’d recently exchanged my apartment in Summerland, Calif., for a cabin at the end of Nebraska Valley in Moscow, Vt. The address sounded redundantly cold and snowy. It was. Often, snow squalls would cover the dirt road with a thick, white blanket while down valley a mile, the pavement was clear and the sun was shining. The cabin was three miles up a dead end road, where it started to twist up through a deep, dark valley. On one side, the dirt road dropped off steeply to a rushing brook. After a heavy snow, the hemlock and pine branches would bow down so low it was like driving through a tunnel to get home. One early morning, I heard the plow grinding its way up the valley, orange lights reflecting off the snow. It had snowed all night and hearing the plow, I smiled: It would be a powder day. There would be fresh tracks for those who got there first. I’d be there… if the road was cleared. It was still dark and temperatures hovered around 10 when I bundled up and headed out. I was warming up the car when I saw him come back down the road just as the sky began to lighten. There he was, high up behind the wheel of the plow: an unmistakable white curly beard and wild hair, rosy cheeks and piercing blue eyes. No question, it was Santa. He waved. I waved back. Then he was gone. The next summer, strange things began to happen. I came back from a two-week vacation and my lawn had been mysteriously mowed. A month later, a mound of dirt and weeds that I’d been wanting to clear became a level parking area. I called my neighbors, Mike and Sarah, and asked if they were responsible. “Not us,” Mike said. “Our lawn was mowed too.” That Christmas, Mike and Sarah were home with their two-year-old son, Sargent, when Santa appeared, unannounced. On Christmas morning there was a knock on the door and there he was; barrel-chested with a real white beard, red velvet suit, boots, a cap and all. Over his back was a pillowcase stuffed with toys — including Sargent’s favorite, a toy chainsaw. Mrs. Claus, dressed as you’d expect, was right behind. Santa, it turned out, was our neighbor. For 25 years Melvin Wells has worked for the town, plowing roads around Stowe. He and his partner, Lois Johnson, own a tract of land on our road and camp out there during the summer in their RV, returning to their home in Morrisville each winter. Melvin’s resemblance to Santa Claus wasn’t lost on him. For several years now he and Lois have played the part, dressing up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus to hand out gifts and listen to kids' Christmas wishes at VFW halls, hospitals, restaurants and pretty much wherever they are asked. “We sometimes make eight or nine stops in a row going all the way from Morrisville to Stowe,” Melvin says with a grin.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus strike a pose in front of Stowe Mercantile where they made an appearance in mid December. Photo by Marc Sherman

“I saw him come back down the road just as the sky began to lighten. There he was, high up behind the wheel of the plow: an unmistakable curly beard, shock of white hair, rosy cheeks and piercing blue eyes. No question, it was Santa.” Their most popular performance has been at Stowe Mercantile in the heart of town. In early December they arrived by (plow-drawn) sleigh. And for every kid who visited Santa, the shop donated $10 to go to the Lamoille County Food Share. (This year, the store donated more than $2,000. ) And though Mr. and Mrs. Claus are often offered money or asked what they charge, they have never taken a dime. “We do it because we love it,” says Lois, who is as convincing as Mrs. Claus as Melvin is in his role, adding, “Santa would never take money.” Marc Sherman, owner of Stowe Mercantile, has given them gift certificates by way of thanks. "You know


what they did with the gift certificates?" he asks. "They turned around and bought toys for kids who didn't have them and gave those away." This past year, Sargent was three and old enough to head down to the village to see Santa. It took some explaining that Santa didn’t always make house calls. The line was long, but Sargent peered past the crowd to catch a glimpse of the white-bearded man in the red suit. “Hey,” Sargent said in a loud voice as he pointed to the man with the kid in his lap, “that’s Melvin.” There was a hush. Kids turned around. Parents frowned. “Santa, Melvin—it’s kind of the same thing,” my neighbor Mike whispered to his son. That couldn’t be more true.






Vermont Sports, December-January, 2016  
Vermont Sports, December-January, 2016