Juergen Uhl is a graduate student at the University of Vermont, who raced with the school during his undergraduate days. A member of the newly formed VTXC senior level Nordic team, which trains at Trapp’s, Uhl won the second annual Race to Slayton Pasture Cabin. The 5K race, which begins with yodeling and the ringing of bells, rises 800 feet in elevation. Uhl’s time—at 17:22—was just 11 seconds off the record for the course.
VS: There was a nasty thaw/freeze before the race. How were conditions?
JU: Although it had been warm the previous week, they got 5 inches of snow at Trapp, and then they groomed it just enough to make it firm on top. It wasn’t hard enough to be sketchy or soft enough to be slow. Conditions really were excellent. It was an amazing weekend for cross-country skiing. Trapp does a great job of grooming.
VS: Congratulations on finishing first.
JU: Thanks. There were about 40 people competing and most were in the Masters division. I didn’t train that much this year, but the course is only about 5K, so I knew I’d be able to finish, and that helped me go all out. It’s really just a fun race but I like to go hard. Some people just like to get to the end, but I’m happy if I’m exhausted when I reach the finish.
VS: What was the high point of the race?
JU: I’m a good climber, so I liked the hilly part of the course best, but I also really liked the après race. At the cabin people could sit and mingle over a wood fire. There was free hot cider and you could buy chili, as well. The ceremony was held at the bakery with free beer and probably soda for the kids and baked goods available for sale. After an effort like this, you always look forward to the treats you think you deserve.
VS: Would you do the race again?
JU: Absolutely. This was the second year for the race and I hope they continue it. It would be nice to get more families with children taking part. If I can stay in Vermont after I finish graduate school, I would definitely want to do the race again.
VS: Is there any way the race could be improved upon?
JU: The course is great and the preparation for the race is awesome. The only thing I might change is to have a later start like 10:30 a.m., but I understand that’s hard to do given the amount of skiers who come to Trapp and how crowded the lodge would get. Still, if they’re going to attract families, it might be hard for kids to get up for 8 a.m. registration. That’s not a criticism, though; just a suggestion. Really, everything was perfect. It was a cool atmosphere and a fun crowd.