– words by Peter; all photos by Laurel Minde
Each time I crested the aptly named Killer Hill, my legs flooded with lactic acid. Naturally, there was no rest for the wicked: from the height of land, a gradual descent turned into a plunging, corkscrewing ride requiring utmost concentration. Including a tree in the middle of the trail. At long last, I’ve found a location for the Sonny Bono memorial technique video.
And that location? Dewey Mountain is a fabulous municipal ski area flying undeservedly under the radar. With its narrow, technical trails, Dewey Mountain packs a wallop into 30 acres. The unassuming lodge gives no notice of what lies in the woods. The trails twist and turn and feature a couple of stiff climbs. For a small place, Dewey Mountain oozes heritage: Bill Demong, Tim Burke and other top skiers cut their teeth here as juniors.
Organized by Peru Nordic, the race was held on a 2.5 km loop. Four laps to make 10 kilometers. After losing count of my laps in a 9-lap 30 km some years ago, I’m not a fan of short loops, but I figured it’d be tough to lose count of four laps. As an added bonus, our entry fees were split between contributions to the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Association and to Dewey Mountain itself – they’re raising money to build a new lodge. Do I smell a tax deduction?
Conditions were great. Right around freezing, there was intermittent snowfall before and during the race. Here and there, it was thin on big climb, but overall the coverage was good.
From the start, it was a barnburner. The pack stretched itself out over the first few hundred meters, which were flat or a false flat. On the Killer Hill, I gradually lost contact with most of the lead pack, trailing Ed Lis by 20 meters. He extended that lead on the wild descent which was followed by maybe 200 meters of twisting, technical gradual up. For me, this section of the course was the toughest: it was difficult to maintain momentum around multiple 120-degree turns.
Going through the stadium, I reeled Ed back in some, but he dropped me for good going up the Killer Hill the second time. From there it was a matter of skiing smooth and light, and keeping the tempo up, and keeping my head in it.
Four laps of that course, and you know why Demong, Burke, and Lowell Bailey – to name a few – kick ass on the World Cup. Imagine doing that two or three nights a week.
Mike Wynn won handily, followed by Jon Santor. With a vanful of skiers showing up, Paul Smiths College took home the team prize. The post race feed featured cookies. Lots of them. Peanut butter with Hershey’s Kisses; M & M cookies, good old chocolate chip cookies and more. How do you spell sugar rush?
Considering that I haven’t been able to train consistently for the last few months, I was pleased with my result. And Dewey Mountain delivers. Whether you go for the race or you’re just looking to cruise, Dewey Mountain is worth the trip.