Sugarbush Racing Club Opens the 2018 Season


After days of sub-zero and single digit temperatures, on January 4 the weather warmed to 20F with some sun and very little wind making for comfortable racing conditions on the course Sugarbush’s Racing Department prepared on the Racer’s Edge trail. Nine women and 28 men, about one third of the total Sugarbush Racing Club membership, participated in the NASTAR race.

Sugarbush Racing Club is both a skiing and a social club, with a party after each race, and additional social events throughout the year. New members are warmly welcomed, whether they are racers or not.

The January 4 post-race party, hosted by The Bridges Resort, was cancelled by the SRC due to slippery roads. Parties usually attract about two thirds of the membership. Cancellations are very rare. The next party starts at 4:30 today at the Mad River Taste Place, halfway between Shaw’s Market and Bisbee’s Ace Hardware. The January 18 party will be at the Smokehouse, on Rt. 17 at the corner of Rt. 100. Party host organizations typically supply the venue and hors d’oeuvres, and have a cash bar.

There is an SRC wine and cheese tasting scheduled at the Tucker Hill Inn January 23 at 6:30. This is an opportunity both to learn about fine wines and for non-members to learn about the social aspect of the Club. The cost of $40 for members, $45 for non-members, covers the 5 wine and cheese tastings. Kevin and Patty, Tucker Hill Inn’s owners, are providing appetizers between tastings. Reservations & payment must be received by January 12, 2018 and sent to Gordon Hoare (payable to SRC Racing Club) PO Box 396, Warren 05674

On January 4, Snowmaking on Snowball made skiing to the Racer’s Edge starting shack more interesting than usual. More than half the trail on skier’s left was covered with whales and the wind blew snow from the guns onto the open trail. The outstanding base Sugarbush had laid down made for a steep drop off at the edge of the trail on skier’s right. The firm base and the mix of natural and artificial snow made for fast conditions on Snowball, and gave a good taste of what the course would be like.

Although Sugarbush began this season’s NASTAR racing in December, there are still some kinks to be worked out in timing the racers. It appears that Spaceman Winch’s time was reported to NASA instead of NASTAR. SRC has filed a Freedom of Information Act request, and will report the Spaceman’s time if NASA makes it available.

All nine women who raced completed the two runs with individual race times less than their age. Danielle Hampton and Elizabeth Walker led the women racers to the finish line as usual. Cheryl Brayman, Lauri Landau and Caryl Hurwitz rounded out the top five. Janella Pennington and Barbara Brady will continue to challenge Caryl for fifth place. Louise Messner and Renee Epstein are continuing their dual duel, which began in the Vermont Senior Games and has continued through the Chez Henri Cup.

The top three men, Douglas Day, John Lussier and David Seymour, were separated by less than 1 second, as were the next two, Al Hobart and David Ellison. David has been practicing on the NASTAR course Sugarbush sets Friday through Sunday, hoping to compensate for Al’s years of race experience.

Gunnar Sievert and Alvan Carr were also within a second of each other, while Jula Fender and James Cutchins finished eighth in a tie. Ray Bollerud and Michael Sharkey rounded out the top ten.
Don Simonini gets special mention for promoting, if not inventing, Giant Slalom Snowboarding on a NASTAR course.

Late breaking news: NASA responded to the FOIA request in record breaking time. Spaceman Winch did not finish in record breaking time, but he was still the fastest on the course by 5 seconds. His time was 2 seconds faster than his time in the first race last year, so he has a good chance at a record breaking run later this year. Everyone else shift your podium positions!

Late breaking news: In an excess of honesty, Al Hobart self-reported that he caught a pole on his first run and scored a DNF. The timing shack incorrectly reported the time of a later run as a race result. The timer is riding the Heaven’s Gate lift reciting “Racers only get two runs” until the current wind hold is over.

SRC races every Thursday weather permitting. See for updates.
SRC thanks Chelsey Winch for videotaping the races. Video is available here
Thanks also to Gina Henry, Gail Hutchins, and Jean Monroe for manning the sign up table for each race.

Club members will celebrate the race season at the Inn at the Round Barn on March 22. Race awards will be presented and a raffle to benefit Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sport will round out the club’s winter social events.