Yesterday’s blizzard arrived just in time. The world’s best Nordic skiers in Maine for not one, not two, but three events this winter: The U.S. National Cross-Country Championships and two World Cup biathlon events.
First up is the 2011 U.S. National Cross-Country Championships, at Black Mountain of Maine, in Rumford. Training opens Jan. 1; racing begins the next day and continues through Jan. 8. Black is no newcomer to hosting world class cross-country events. Rumford’s Chisholm Ski Club’s rich history includes hosting the 1950 World Championships, 1976 NCAA Cross Country Skiing Championships, 1991 National Biathlon Championships, 1993 U.S .Cross Country Skiing Championships, 1993 U.S. Masters Cross Country Skiing Championships, 1996 National Junior Olympics, 1996 U.S. Nationals, the 1999 NCAA Cross Country Skiing Championship, the 2003 U.S. Cross Country Championships, the 2004 US Cross Country Championships, the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Skiing Championships, and the 2010 USCSA National Championships. So, yeah, this one should be easy.
From Rumford, head north to the big-snow country of Aroostook County to watch around 250 world-class athletes representing more than 30 countries ski and shoot in two back-to-back World Cup biathlon races—you know, the ones who ski with guns. The first takes place Feb. 4-6 at the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle, the second Feb. 10-13, at the 10th Mountain Center, in Fort Kent. And if you can’t make it then, make it a point to visit another time during the winter so you can ski these free world-class trails.