Franklin Countys First News

Hundreds of skiers anticipated for high school Nordic championship

Nordic skiers at Titcomb Mountain in a previous year.

FARMINGTON - Hundreds of skiers, their coaches and their families will descend upon Titcomb Mountain later this month, for the first ever Maine Principal's Association Nordic ski championship to feature A, B and C racers at the same venue.

"It's a great opportunity for the athletes and the mountain to have all three classes at our venue," Deb Aseltine, coordinator for the Nordic Race Committee said. As many as 300 athletes, plus their coaches, friends and families are expected. "These are the best high school skiers in the state of Maine."

Typically, the MPA holds a Class A championship and a Class B and C championship at a separate location. Combining all three classes at the same location will provide the athletes and fans of high school Nordic skiing an opportunity to watch or compete against all of their peers on Monday, Feb. 17 and Tuesday, Feb. 18. Races will begin at 1 p.m. on Feb. 17 and 10 a.m. on Feb. 18.

The mountain will be open to the general public from 9 to 4 p.m. for the beginning of February break. General Manager Seth Noonkester said that parking spaces will be reserved for ski club members and that the Town of Farmington assisted Titcomb in developing a parking plan. Hannaford on the Wilton Road has volunteered some extra parking, Noonkester said, and a shuttle sponsored by the Community Regional Charter School will be running from that lot to Titcomb every 20 minutes.

"We're looking forward to a great, successful event," Noonkester said. "We're able to host these Nordic races because of the work of our passionate volunteers."

A small army of volunteers has been involved in planning and setting up the event, which will seek to build off the success of other big races held at Titcomb, including the New England Nordic Ski Association U16s in 2018 and the Class B and C championships last year. Aseltine said that the mountain would also be hosting another New England championship event in 2021. Improvements to the Nordic stadium - a large, clear area near the lodge where the racers begin and end their runs - and the wide range of terrain has turned the trails into a regional draw, Aseltine said, noting that a number of schools now send their Nordic racers to Titcomb to train. The mountain has also been able to maintain its trails this season, despite a lack of help from Mother Nature.

Organizers are looking forward to an end of the week storm, currently projected to drop 8 inches or more snow over Thursday and Friday, to put the finishing touches on the Nordic trails.

The event is being sponsored by a number of local businesses, including Franklin Savings Bank and Western Mountain Financial Services, McKee Law, Riverbend Property Management, Kyes Insurance, Ron Aseltine Law Offices, Living Acres, Dead River Company, Cullenberg Law Office, Mount Blue Motel and Colonial Valley Motel and Wilson Lake Inn. In addition to their parking lot, Hannaford is supplying food and beverage for the more than 35 volunteers working at the event.

"The community has really stepped up to welcome these skiers," Aseltine said.

Titcomb will also be hosting the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Alpine Championships on Saturday morning - the first day of that event is being held at today at Black Mountain - as well as the Mountain Valley Conference Nordic Championships Saturday afternoon.

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