By: CXC Team athlete, Chris Pappathopoulos
I have likely skied on snow for the last time for the winter of 2015/16. All of the skis are storage waxed and back on the wall. Little snow fell in the Madison area this winter, but it stayed cold enough after it started to snow that I was able to scrape by most of the winter on snow. The Rossignol rock skis did get quite a workout.
One of the benefits of skiing on the CXC Team has been that when you have an off day, often times a different teammate is having a good day. It has been fun to watch my teammates succeed when I haven’t raced as well as I would like.
City of Lakes Loppet went well for me this year. As Marybeth Liebsch put it “Dad Power” prevailed in the classic race which gave me a big enough lead to win the Minne Tour. Unfortunately I missed out on the race I was most looking forward to, the Age Gap Relay. Tula fell on ice and hurt her knee the Thursday before, so we will have to wait until next year.
The Mora Vasaloppet 58k Freestyle ended up being a lap race. The race organizers did a fantastic job with the little snow they had to work with. Race morning ended up being pretty cold, but I was happy to be sliding around on the white stuff. Andrew Brown ended up being the teammate getting the job done at Mora.
The Birkie certainly wasn’t my best race of the season. I struggled at the start and never felt like I was moving well after. Any day on snow is a good day, so I won’t complain.
After the Birkie I crossed over to the dark side and double poled the classic leg of the Squirrel Hill Pursuit. I wish that wasn’t the direction classic skiing is going, but the reality is it is. I opened up a comfortable gap on the classic leg and skied in for the win in the skate leg. The groomers at Minocqua Winter Park certainly know their stuff. These were the best classic tracks I skied in all winter.
From there it was on to the last race of the year and one of my favorites, the Great Bear Chase. This was another skiathlon and the final race of the CXC Marathon Cup. I was really hoping to repeat last year and win this race, but Nick Power was too strong and skied away for the win during the skate leg.
The highlight of my winter was probably the ski Tula and I had the day after the Noquemanon at Blueberry Ridge in Marquette, MI. It left me wondering if Saint Peter stands guard at the pearly gates to control who gets in, or to give out day passes to go skiing on days like that.
In coaching news, Madnorski East Ski Team had another successful season. We had our first state sprint finalist and did better at conference than last year. We also increased the number of young skiers on the team which was my goal for the year.
With the season over, it is time to start looking toward next season. Snow Machine 1.0 is likely going to be going under the knife to be an organ donor for Snow Machine 2.0
On the subject of companies that helped with the ski season that aren’t as noticeable as ski gear companies such as Rossignol and Start, I do dream that there would be an option like Lake Express to ferry me to ski races and home after. As much as I have enjoyed Snow Machine Beta, Snow Drift King, and Snow Machine 1.0 the last few winters, spending 12 hours driving in about a 30 hour time frame isn’t always my favorite thing to do.
And let’s not forget about maintaining trails so there are groomed places to ski. Like skiers, ski trails are made in the summer and fall. This is even more true if you live in a low snow area. I wish I had Avant equipment to prepare the trails I groom at McCarthy Park.