A record number of racers battled blustery winds and blowing snow on Mt. Washington at the annual Ski, Shoe and Fatbike to the Clouds event on Sunday, February 27th.
A sold-out three hundred participants registered for the event: 26 Nordic skiers, 93 snowshoers and a staggering 181 in the fatbike category.
Conditions of the trails and Auto Road were near perfect for the race, thanks to the goods from a timely snowstorm on Friday, Feb 25. Great Glen Trails grooming staff worked hard to pack the snow to create a solid packed powder base for all participants.
This event has truly become one of New Hampshire’s most iconic winter sporting events. First held in 1997 as Ski to the Clouds, the race became regarded as “North America’s Toughest 10K” as the final six kilometers on the Mt. Washington Auto Road gain 2,200 vertical feet.
Race organizers at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center added snowshoe and fatbike categories in the past decade, which rejuvenated the race and demonstrated the burgeoning popularity of fatbiking and snowshoe running.
Fatbikers in particular are thrilled at the challenge, but not only for the climb—there’s no other day in the calendar year that bikers are allowed to ride down the Mt. Washington Auto Road. One rider remarked, “that’s the reward for the incredible work it takes to get up!”
The fastest time was recorded by fatbiker Brett Danderson of State 9 Racing from Lee, NH, who covered the course in a blazing time of 47 minutes and 39 seconds.
Tristan Williams had the second fastest time of 50 minutes and 33 seconds and placed first in the Nordic skiing category. Tristan participates in many other events at Great Glen including the weekly running series and Nordic Meister series.
The fastest snowshoe time was 56 minutes and 36 seconds put up by Jacob Wormald, a Gate City Strider from Nashua who bested his first place finish time from last year’s race by over six minutes.
Other local racers included Theo Castonguay, who had the lead in the Nordic skiing division after the first four kilometers on the Great Glen trail system, and came in a close second behind Williams; Eric Nelson, fatbiker from Intervale, NH; Colin Pogue, Ford Sayer Nordic from Bartlett; and Madeline Ryan, snowshoe racer from Glen, NH.
After racers tackled the infamously steep course, they were able to retrieve a warm clothes bag transported to the finish line by the Mt. Washington SnowCoaches. After skiing, snowshoeing or fatbiking down the Auto Road, participants were welcomed by warm soup or macaroni and cheese provided by The Butcher’s Daughter food truck. The Butcher’s Daughter owners also operate a store in Gorham, NH.
Whether on skis, snowshoes or fatbikes, this year’s race lived up to its reputation, testing the athletes as only Mount Washington can. Congratulations to all racers, but particularly to the winners of each division:
Women’s Nordic- Alice Hotopp (Orono, ME) 1:09:56
Men’s Nordic- Tristan Williams (Chocorua, NH) 50:33
Women’s Fatbike- Angie Defilippi (Colchester, VT) 1:13:02
Men’s Fatbike- Brett Danderson (Lee, NH) 47:39
Women’s Snowshoe- Amanda Quinlan (Manchester, NH) 1:05:27
Men’s Snowshoe- Jacob Wormald (Goffstown, NH) 56:36
Results are posted on the Bart Timing website.
Racers can browse and purchase official event photos on Joe Viger’s website.
A big “thank you” goes out to all the event volunteers who also had to brave the wind and cold during parking, bib pick-up, and at the finish line.
Thank you to all the sponsors, who helped to make this annual event such a success! For 2021, those sponsors include the Glen House Hotel, Dion Snowshoes, Moat Mountain Brewing Company, Swix, Salomon, Friends of Tuckerman Ravine, and the Mount Washington Observatory.
More race details and information on the Great Glen Trails website: https://greatglentrails.com/ski-shoe-fatbike