Some of the premier Nordic ski racers and backcountry ski enthusiasts from throughout the East will converge on the Catamount Trail in Stowe, VT on March 13th for the 4th Annual Catamount Trail Backcountry Challenge Race and Tour. This unique Nordic event will test the most skilled backcountry skiers as they make their way over one of the most famous sections of the Catamount Trail between the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe and the Bolton Valley Nordic Center.
Strength, stamina, and good downhill skills are key attributes if you want to be competitive in this race event while just being fit and enjoying a scenic tour will suffice for the non-competitive touring class. All participants will be challenged by the 2,300 ft. vertical ascent to the highest point on the Catamount Trail and be rewarded by the breathtaking views on their traverse of Bolton Mountain. The remaining section of the course will be a hair-raising descent on a narrow trail to the Bolton Valley Nordic Center, 1,300 feet below. The men’s course record for this event is held by Eli Enman of Huntington, VT set in 2010 with a time of 1:31:02 while JoAnn Hanowski of Underhill, VT set the women’s record in 2009 with a time 2:16:45.
This backcountry ski event is designed for experienced skiers who have a true sense of adventure and are open to the unexpected. Each individual is encouraged to bring a small backpack with food, water, and extra clothes since there are no aid stations on the course. Climbing skins will be allowed and competitive class skiers may only use one pair of skis. Past year’s winners have used touring skis without metal edges while some have also used kicker skins for the steeper sections of trail. Non-competitive skiers should plan on taking 3.5 to 4.5 hours to complete the full length of the course.
A special non-competitive start (10:00am) will take place 90 minutes prior to the start of the competitive race at 11:30am. This is ideal for skiers who wish to take a more leisurely tour, enjoy the scenery, stop for food breaks, and meet like-minded adventurers. The day’s event will culminate with a hearty meal, raffle prizes, and awards for participants. Registration for this event will close on March 10th and there will be no event day registration. For more information go to www.CatamountTrail.org or call 802-864-5794.
The CTA www.catamounttrail.org is a member-supported, non-profit organization with the purpose of building, maintaining and conserving the Catamount Trail (CT), a 300-mile backcountry ski trail that extends the length of Vermont, from the Massachusetts border to Quebec.