PINKHAM NOTCH — There was a record turnout for this year’s Ski, Shoe & Fatbike to the Clouds on Sunday, with 184 registered racers — 23 Nordic skiers, 69 snowshoers, and 91 fatbikers taking part in the race up the Mt. Washington Auto Road.
During its 23-year history, Ski, Shoe & Fatbike to the Clouds has grown to become one of New Hampshire’s most iconic winter sporting events. First held in 1997 as Ski to the Clouds, the race quickly became regarded as North America’s Toughest 10K — due primarily to the fact that the final 6 kilometers climbs over 2,200 vertical feet up the Mt. Washington Auto Road.
In recent years, the race organizers at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center have added separate snowshoe and fatbike categories to the race, which have proven to both increase the number of racers in the field, as well as the unique character of the race.
Mother Nature blessed this year’s event with beautiful snow conditions, sunny skies and unusually calm winds.
As the clock struck 10 a.m., Great Glen’s signature cannon boomed to signal the mass start of the Nordic skiers — and again 5 minutes later for the snowshoers, and finally 5 minutes after that for the fatbikers.
The first four kilometers of the course winds through Great Glen Trails, before starting its steep ascent up the Mt. Washington Auto Road.
At that point the racers have just one final hill to climb — but for many, it will be one of the most physically demanding climbs of their lives.
Whether on skis, snowshoes or fatbikes, this year’s race lived up to its reputation, testing the athletes as only Mount Washington can. The fastest time was posted by veteran racer Logan Kasper, with a blazing time of just 50 minutes 36 seconds, winning the men’s Fatbike division for the second straight year.
Kasper was closely followed by Nordic skier Silas Eastman (52:15), and fellow fatbiker Eric Follen (53:54).
The winners of each division were:
Men’s Nordic, Silas Eastman 52:15
Women’s Nordic, Kelsey Spare 1:00:32
Men’s Snowshoe, Jason Lantz 59:30
Women’s Snowshoe, Ellen Beth 1:19:01
Men’s Fatbike, Logan Kasper 50:36
Women’s Fatbike, Jennifer Murphy 1:29:50
For complete results, go to racesplitter.com/races/63827121C.
Event sponsors include Dion Snowshoes, Stan & Dan Sports, Swix, Moat Mountain Brewing Company, Hannaford, Appalachian Mountain Club, Fuller’s Sugarhouse, The Glen House Hotel, and the Mount Washington Observatory.