The Fort Kent Outdoor Center will host our first ever New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) Eastern Cup Nordic Ski race in December.

NENSA is the New England based organization responsible for developing the sport of Cross-Country (XC) Skiing through organizing youth programs, U16 and Eastern High School Championships, a Marathon Series, four annual Eastern Cup Events, and a team of young athletes to represent New England at the Junior Olympics every March to compete against other teams from region in the US.

The Eastern Cup series has participants from early childhood all the way up to over 30 masters skiers and is scheduled to take place on Saturday and Sunday, December 16-17, 2017.

The series is sanctioned by USSA and the four races in the series are used for athletes between the ages of 14-23 to qualify for the Junior Olympics held in March.

The participants are the very best skiers in New England together with novice racers trying their hand at XC ski racing.

The field at past races has been as large as 400 skiers!

This would be the largest race they've hosted based on the number of entries, so hotels, restaurants and gas stations need to get ready!

Many racers will travel far from Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York so it is anticipated that the field might be a little smaller, realistically 300-350 racers plus accompanying families.

They are coming to Fort Kent this early because they are expected to have the most reliable snow in New England, however they are developing a snowmaking backup plan in conjunction with Lonesome Pine Trails ski area to guarantee that we can host the event.

Fort Kent has never had to cancel an event due to snow conditions, and they are not planning to this time.

The other three races in the series are Jan 13-14 in Middlebury Vt., Feb 3-4 in Stowe Vt., and the last Feb10-11 in Hanover NH, all historic Nordic ski centers in New England.

The schedule for our weekend will be as follows: 

Saturday, Dec 16           Sprint 1.4km Freestyle Event

9:00-12 pm        Sprint Qualifiers

12:00-1:25pm    Senior Heats Women & Men

1:30-2:00           U18/U20 Heats Women & Men

2:15-2:50           U16 Heats Girls & Boys

3:15                    Awards Sprint Races

Sunday, Dec 17 Classic Distance Mass Start Races

9:00 am U16 Boys 5km

9:30       U16 Girls 5km

10:30     Women & U18/20 5km

12:00    Men & U18/20 10km

1:00 pm Awards

The freestyle sprint races on Saturday are the most exciting Nordic races, with 6 racers going out head to head in the heats!

This format makes for some very competitive races with the results frequently determined by photo finishes.

Sunday’s Classic mid-distance race will then test the endurance of the best skiers in New England.

Securing this event is, in part, a result of the strategy and hard work that has been put together at the FKOC over the past few years that will have them hosting more Cross Country (XC) events in addition to Biathlon events in the future.

Next year they are scheduled to host the Eastern High School Nordic Championships in March, another NENSA event that will bring the top 48 athletes from each New England state plus New York (about 300 total racers) to Fort Kent for 3 days of racing.

The St. John Valley is about to get invaded by some of the best and nicest XC skiers from throughout New England and are looking to the North for great snow, food, and hospitality that can be served up!

So, expect to have the white carpet rolled in hopes to keep them coming back for more great skiing!

They need volunteers. So, if you would like to be a volunteer, please contact Carl Theriault at theriaultcarl@hotmail.com if you are interested in helping out in any way.