A stormy success
February 15, 2008
If there’s one person who will not forget the non-stop storms of this winter, it will be Parkite Dave Hanscom. As one of the organizers of the Timberland Wasatch Citizens Series races, he has experienced the wild weather first-hand.
Each weekend was a test of will and determination to try and beat the weather and stage a quality community cross-country race.
Sure, there were some weekends that were sunny and beautiful, but Hanscom says this year they had more than their share of bad storms that seemed to hit Park City right before race time.
"It happened at the wrong time on a few occasions, but others it was perfect, so all in all, we can’t complain," Hanscom said. "But participation is definitely down this year."
Still, even on the snowiest day, Hanscom proudly reported that 200 people braved the elements.
"The people that showed up enjoyed the races," Hanscom said. "The people that were there had a great time and great skiing conditions."
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Hanscom said the races have seen record numbers in the last year and is confident that with better weather the program would still be growing.
There have still been plenty of highlights this season, including numerous appearances by big names. Hanscom says there has always been an assortment of Nordic stars that drop by the races, but it can often be few and far between. This year, the elite made the races a regular practice. Ski Teamers like Bill DeMong and Park City’s Brett and Eric Camerota stopped by on a few occasions and the University of Utah cross-country ski team also attended.
"It was just amazing to have someone at that caliber show up," Hanscom said.
Hanscom is also happy to report that Timberland has signed on for another year as the title sponsor. Hanscom met with Timberland officials at last month’s OutdoorRetailer Winter Show and firmed up plans for next year’s season.
Hanscom is still excited about the remainder of this season. After Saturday’s final race, a 20-kilometer competition at the White Pine Touring Center, the Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA) will host food and festivities at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The event will include lunch, prizes and awards for the entire season.
And, the party doesn’t stop there. TUNA has a packed schedule after the Wasatch Citizens Series wraps up, including races at Alta and in Logan as well as the Masters World Cup, which will be held in nearby McCall, Idaho.
"There are usually races in March and April, but there are more this year," Hanscom said.
The season wraps up with a fairly daunting challenge at Snowbird called Ski Up sponsored by the U.S. Ski Team, which is literally that skiers cross-country ski straight up the mountain.
Hanscom hopes that new people will continue to pop up events this year and next. There is a novice class in the Wasatch Citizens series for people that enjoy cross-country skiing recreationally and want to give competitive racing a try. The novice race is just five-kilometers — once around the golf course at White Pine. Hanscom says that he has seen locals give that class a try and soon move up into the age-group races. There is also an open class for the top skiers, so weekend racers don’t need to feel intimated by the "hot dogs," as Hanscom calls them.
The final Timberland Wasatch Citizens’ race will be held Saturday, Feb.16, at White Pine Touring Center at 10 a.m. Parking and registration will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, just north of the Osguthorpe farm. For more information about programs and membership, log onto http://www.utahnordic.com.