|Pinkham Notch, NH—Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center is known for holding some of the Granite State’s most unique and challenging human-powered races, but one of its annual events sets the benchmark in both regards. First held in 1997 as Ski to the Clouds, the race has evolved over its 22-year history, but still holds true to its moniker as North America’s Toughest 10K, with the final 6 kilometers climbing over 2,200 vertical feet up the Mt. Washington Auto Road.
In 2013, a separate snowshoe category was added to entice snowshoe racers to take up the challenge, and was so successful that in 2014 the event was renamed as Ski & Shoe to the Clouds. In 2016, a new fatbike category was added, which quickly became the largest group of racers, but was sadly cancelled due to lack of snow. However, Mother Nature has been kind to us for the last two years, offering up perfect snow conditions, with 120 racers competing in the 2017 event, and a record 156 racers registering this year—17 Nordic skiers, 68 snowshoers, and 71 fatbikers.
Whether on skis, snowshoes or fatbikes, the race lived up to its reputation, testing the athletes as only Mount Washington can. The fastest time was posted by veteran racer Tristan Williams, with a blazing time of just 49 minutes 47 seconds, winning the men’s Nordic division for the second straight year. Tristan was closely followed by fellow Nordic skier Ryan Kelly (51:54), and the winner the men’s fatbike division, Logan Kasper (52:07). Kudos to all the racers who battled the Mountain and finished, but particularly to the winners of each division:
Tristan Williams 49:47
Amalia Siegel 1:01:20
Francois Leger Dionne 58:42
Annabelle Wilson 1:16:12
Logan Kasper 52:07
Amber Ferreira 1:02:50
A heartfelt “thank you” goes out to all the event sponsors and volunteers, all of whom have helped make this annual event such a success. For 2018, those sponsors include Dion Snowshoes, Stan & Dan Sports, Cliff Bars, Swix, Moat Mountain Brewing Company, Hannaford, Gutsey Bars, Appalachian Mountain Club, Fuller’s Sugarhouse, Pearl Izumi, and the Mount Washington Observatory.