MAINE, USA — While we had our second false spring this week, and it was enjoyable even to the hardcore winter-lovers, winter returns this weekend.
There was quite a bit of melt, so be sure to check in with your local trail center or snowmobile club if you’re planning to partake in any non-downhill ski activity.
Our ski areas have been prepping for the warm-up, making snow in the days ahead of the spring tease so the snow base would get through just fine. If you’re looking for a different way to warm up, be sure to check out Sugarloaf’s Inferno.
“It’s sort of a hybrid downhill nordic type of race,” Ethan Austin, director of marketing at Sugarloaf, explained. “It’s all done on nordic equipment, but the race actually starts at the top of the whiffletree lift, which if you’re familiar with Sugarloaf at all, you know that’s alpine terrain. That’s for downhill skiers, not for people usually without edges.”
From the Whiffletree lift, the course connects into the Sugarloaf nordic network and finishes at the Outdoor Center. It’s certainly not for the novice nordic skier, and you should probably have some experience in turning and stopping on nordic skis.
“If you haven’t experienced doing those sorts of things before it’s tricky, and there are some good wipeouts throughout the race,” Austin said. “For the most part, we’re talking about advanced nordic skiers who have enough experience that they can navigate that sort of terrain pretty easily.”
They usually have 50-75 people registered for the race, but this year is outpacing previous years. Despite the recent warmth, Sugarloaf reports ample snow on the base of its nordic trails.
Austin recalled that after Christmas, Sugarloaf "had about a month and a half, two month stretch of decent snow and really no temperature above freezing so we were building on our base every single storm.”
He said last week’s warm-up and light rain didn’t affect the base at all, so a day or two of warmth will leave Sugarloaf plenty of snow for Sunday’s event.
You can register for the Inferno up through Saturday if you’re ready and willing to feel the burn of this infamous 7-kilometer race.