SRC: Ready, Race, Rock – Repeat

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Sugarbush Race Club held its first Race Training Clinic on Jan 2. The instructor, Chuck Goller, explained that shaped ski technology has made good skiing technique and good racing technique almost identical. Using the ski shape to carve a turn is the fastest and most efficient way to make a turn. This is great news for recreational skiers, because it means that they do not need to learn a separate set of skills to do NASTAR racing, and that racing will not interfere with the muscle memory developed in recreational skiing.  NASTAR rewards the carving skills they developed as a recreational skier. So, try out the course the Sugarbush Racing Dept has set up on weekends, or join SRC’s Thursday race. You may find you enjoy it enough to join the Club.
Chuck set up brushes on Racer’s Edge to indicate where to begin and where to end carving turns. Brushes have a black handle that gets buried in the snow, with colored plastic bristles that stick up about 10 inches to mark a location. Brushes are excellent for training because you can ski right over them without damage.  Chuck told us to imagine a gate roughly halfway in between each pair of brushes. Some of us had better imaginations than others. Skiing around the brushes is enough like a race course to practice path planning and turn rhythm, while demonstrating the value of recreational skiing carving skills.
The next SRC Race Clinic is tomorrow, FRIDAY JAN 11. Please come early enough to register and be prepared to depart the Gate House at 9:30am for the Racer’s Edge trail at Sugarbush Lincoln Peak. Sugarbush charges $45 for this long three-hour clinic, including video of your technique. Please email racing@sugarbushracingclub.com if you plan to participate. A minimum of five participants in needed to support the clinic.
Thursday, Jan 3, SRC skied real gates for the season’s first NASTAR race. The weather had made conditions questionable during the prior week, but excellent grooming and a few inches of new snow made for smooth carving and fast course conditions. The racers who showed up early to slip and inspect did a great service by compacting the fresh snow so it did not immediately blow off the course. Turnout was light, only six women and 24 men raced. The NASTAR web site also gives results for six guests. SRC thanks William Nye, the pacesetter, and Laura Jenks, Sugarbush Race Department head, for preparing and setting a great course. SRC skiers appear to come from Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average. Twenty-five of the 30 SRC racers earned NASTAR medals.
Elizabeth Walker was the fastest woman. At 32.04 seconds, she earned a NASTAR Platinum medal. Elizabeth beat Anne Halvorsen, who earned Gold, by over a second each run. Cindy Carr, and Janella Pennington were another four seconds back. Cindy earned Gold, Lauri and Janella each earned Silver.

Spaceman Winch posted the fastest men’s time: 26.28 seconds. Rick Duckworth, who had given Spaceman serious competition last year, was over a second behind on each run. Douglas Day, Paul Quinlan, and Dave Seymour all finished within one second of Rick, and each of these first five men earned Platinum medals. The next seven men finished within 3 seconds of each other. Michael Dixon, David Ellison, Peter Wicklund, Jula Fender, James Cutchins, Ray Bollerud and Al Hobart all earned Gold medals, except for Dave. The way NASTAR handicaps work, David’s advanced age earned him a Platinum medal. Rich Jones and Peter Koch were within 3/100 of a second of each other, but the difference gave Rich a Gold and Peter a Silver. A few more seconds back came six Bronze men: Peter Menkes, Stephen Ham-Ellis, Gary Salter, Phil Waier, Richard Brady and Michael Strojny. Several members took advantage of the free timed NASTAR runs until 1:00 PM, getting in as many as six runs for the day.

The second race was planned for this morning and the third next Thursday, regular schedule: registration opens 8:30 in the Gate House, inspect/slip 9:00-9:45, race 10:00 to noon, timed runs until 1:00 PM.
SRC Rocked the Tucker Hill Inn last Thursday. The bar downstairs seemed crowded because everyone stayed close to the hors d’oeuvre table. The Spanakopita (Greek spinach and cheese pie triangles) were excellent, and Tucker Hill’s owners, Kevin & Patti Begin, also supplied crackers, cheese cubes, salami slices and a large crockpot full of hot meatballs in tomato sauce to choose among. Despite the voracious skiers, there were still plenty of both hot and cold hors d’oeuvres available when the party ended.  Three people working behind the bar kept the wait for drinks very short, which allowed a quick return to the food.
Chelsea Winch showed the video she had taken of the race. Watching the video proves that the lycra racing suits make a skier much faster, because the skiers wearing them go by the camera so much faster than the skiers without them. See for yourself at the club website (sugarbushracingclub.com). Either the camera battery had run out or the editor was kind, because my spectacular fall when I hooked a gate is not there.
Special party events included raffle drawings for a gift basket, a Gift Certificate from the Tucker Hill Inn, and a cash cache split 50/50 with Vermont Adaptive. We were reminded that Vermont Adaptive is building a new facility at Mt. Ellen, so please be extra generous to them.
There are still seats available for next Tuesday’s Wine Tasting Jan 15 at the Tucker Hill Inn. The wine tasting has sold out the past two years, and it is open to prospective SRC members and their guests on a space available basis. Information and a signup form is available at the club website. The Wine Tasting is only a few days away, so act today.
Today’s (Jan 10) Post Race Party will be at the Mad River Taste Place starting at 4:30 PM. The party after the January 17 Race will be at Local Folks Smokehouse (Rtes 17 & 100).