December 22-23: Eastern Cup Opener. Saturday skate sprint, Sunday skate distance. More info.
Sunday 12/23 – Skate Mass Start (5km U16 and women/10km men)
The Craftsbury Outdoor Center is excited to welcome the NENSA Eastern Cup Opener back in 2018. The Opener is an all-freestyle affair this year, with a 1.5k sprint on Saturday, December 22 and 5k mass start for women and U16 boys and a 10k mass start for men (U18+). Masters waves are back, heading off 5 minutes after the open mass start fields.
This season the Outdoor Center is hosting the U.S. Cross Country Championships two weeks after the Eastern Cup, so the Opener is serving as a dry run for two of the events coming up at the national championships. As such we are expecting larger-than-average fields for the EC Opener.
Larger field sizes and early season snow concerns necessitate plans and backup plans. The Outdoor Center is hoping for substantial early season snow, which would allow for the running of both the newly re-worked sprint course Saturday and the South 5k course on Sunday. In the event of some natural snow, but not significant natural snow, Sunday’s mass starts will run on the North 5k. The backup course is the 3.75k. In the event of limited snowmaking conditions, Sunday will change to an interval start on the 2.5k course. Large field sizes may also necessitate the move to an interval start competition.
Looking at the schedule, racers will see the addition of a men’s and women’s masters A finals to start Saturday afternoon’s sprint heats. After the open heats (top 30 per gender), the top 12 U16s (followed by the top 12 U18/U20s) who did not make the open heats will get a chance to race semifinals and an A final. Note: In the event that field sizes exceed 250 per gender, the schedule will be modified to accommodate and the U18/U20 supplemental heats will be canceled.
Snow conditions and field size will dictate whether Sunday’s races remain mass starts or are changed to interval start competitions.
All racers MUST be NENSA & US Ski & Snowboard members ($10 daily NENSA membership option).