Racers at Northstar Resort’s second snowshoe race of the three race series were greeted by a stellar Sierra day.
Our first race of the year on December 20th saw double the participation of last year’s races and the Sunday January 11th race drew nearly double the entrants of the year’s first race.
In the first race – participants of the 5K and 10K followed the same 5K course with 10kers completing two loops. It was a challenging course with 80% single track. And recent snows made for deep, challenging conditions. Racers commented that they red-lined from the minute they stepped onto the single track on the first lap and required the entire first lap to settle into a rhythm.
With a guidance from Jim Telling, who recently moved from Vail and was a usual suspect at the wildly popular Beaver Creek snowshoe series, drawing hundreds of participants, the January 11th race courses were revised. In order to make the 5K course more enticing to recreationalist and first-timers – it followed groomers and then jumped onto the single track for the final fourth of the course. The 10Kers arrived race day to discover a revised course taking them to the far reaches of the Northstar Cross Country trail system creating one challenging loop that included a nearly equal mix of groomers and unpacked, crusty powder single track. They were rewarded to a fast and furious, drag-strip finish down groomed Forest Trail.
Spectators viewed a spirited sprints in the 5K men’s with Ron Ayres nipping John Campbell at the line, in 36:16 And in the women’s 5K Deborah Paquin and Carin LeVine dove for line in a 44:40 photo finish. Dot Roy rounded out the top three.
In the highly competitive mens’ 10K, the finish line spectators witnessed a thriller with Bill Raitter storming around the final switchback and down Forest’s finishing stretch with Peter Fain in close pursuit. Raitter held on for the victory in a sizzling 46:14, Fain finished in 46:19. Ross McMahan flew over the finish to take third in 48:34. The woman’s race stacked with talent, blew apart from the start with Sara Raitter pulling away and maintaining her impressive lead to finish solo in 51:15. Delores Bergmann held off Sarah McMahan for second in 56:17 and 58:38 respectively.
However, the fastest time of the day belonged to Damion Bergmann – who returned to defend his 500M title in a time of 3:15.
Relishing that exhilarating sense of accomplishment – racers lounged in Adirondack chairs and soaked in the Sierra Sun, while feasting on the post-race spread during the awards and raffle presentation. No one went home empty handed – from monetary prizes, thanks to the Northstar Foundation, for the top 10K racers and product prizes for the 5Kers from Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance, Atlas Snowshoe Company, Camelbak and The North Face to raffle prizes from Northstar Resort and Clif Bar. The day’s success was seen in the smiles.