How fast can you run? Now change the course to 3.5 miles up with 2,200 feet of elevation gain to the top of Big Mountain. Last Saturday, Aug. 23, the uphill run for Glacier Nordic Ski Team crowned a new king and queen with the winning time hitting close to 37 minutes.
The annual run up the Danny On Memorial Trail is a fundraiser for the ski team. “We’ve been doing the event close to 25 years,” says Larry Bruce, coach of the competition team.
Pete Metzmaker and Vonda Garcia hold the course records. But this year, Metzmaker took second to the new king Tyson Warner who finished with a time of 37.08. Stella Holt, who won the queen’s division, ran up the mountain in 47.56, while Garcia did not race.
It’s not just the Nordic ski team kids who compete in the run. “It’s a real cross section of people,” says Bruce of the 50-plus racers who ran up the mountain. The oldest competitor–74-year-old Sally Porcarelli—arrived at the summit well before the final racers and a good 13 minutes in front of the last women’s racer. The youngest racer was six-year-old Leo Grinepra. The Grady family of four—Dave, Linda, Madison, and Cassidy—even raced together.
In the 14 and under categories, Henry Holt took first in the prince division with a time of 58:45. Madison Grady finished first in the princess division in 119:32.
“Thanks to Whitefish Mountain Resort and Josh Knight, we’re able to have this annual event,” says organizer Debbie Mallams, “and thank you to my volunteers–Larry and Molly Bruce, Lori Miller, Nancy Symthe, and Mark and Chris Holt for a job well done!”
This winter, Bruce expects to have about 10 competitors turning out for the Nordic ski racing team this. On Wednesdays, some of the Junior Jets, the feeder program for the team, will have a chance ski up with the racers to taste the performance experience. With three returning Junior Olympics competitors—Stella Holt, Marshall Opel, and Jack Steele, he forecasts some good results this winter.
In addition to Junior Olympics medalist Holt, the women’s team is already showing strength in dryland training with Anne Miller and Megan Shaver. Bruce notes that Opel should be a powerhouse. “He’ll be my alpha male,” he says.
Bruce encourages newcomers to Nordic ski racing to test drive the program first by attending a workout or two. For more information on the ski team, call Bruce at 862-8780.
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