February 3, 2023
There are many adjectives used to describe Masters racers, not just here in New England, but across the country. The one that stood out above all else this past weekend was “dedicated”.
The New England Masters kicked off the month of February with a doubleheader race weekend at Berkshire East and Mount Southington. The original plan also included a stop at Catamount on Sunday, but unfortunately, the snow conditions would not allow for races to be held safely. Hopefully, we can get there next season.
In the days leading up to the weekend’s events, all of the talk centered on the looming cold front that would be slamming into the region at the exact time our races were scheduled to take place. Go figure! But it wasn’t just the cold that was causing concern, it was the wind that came along with it. Air temperatures were expected to be near zero with sustained winds of 20+ mph, and the potential for gusts of over 40 mph. The wind chill math got concerning real quick.
Our racers hung tough and said bring it on. The races were a go.
The group arrived at Berkshire East early Friday morning to an empty venue. Not surprisingly, the forecasted temperatures almost certainly kept the general public on the sidelines this day. As the Masters booted up and prepared to take on the extreme elements, there was laughter and smiles across the room. Everyone knew what they were up against and everyone was ready to race.
As the start of Race #1 approached, the racers began to gather at the top. A steady breeze made for a chilly start, but as the sun crested over the back of the mountain the course was fully illuminated and it was time to shine. Early course reports confirmed what racers had been saying during inspection, the snow was fast and fantastic, stay clear of those gates up top, and be sure to hit the breaks in the finish coral. Following their run, racers were immediately thrust into their next challenge, how to get their clothes out of the pile at the bottom and get inside as quickly as possible!
The day went on and so did the racing. Run after run, racers continued to push through the ever-changing challenges that were thrown their way. As expected, the winds began to pick up in the afternoon with high-wind guests becoming more frequent. The snow was whipping, the trees were bending, and the racers simply kept on pushing. At one point towards the end of the second race, the wind gusts had become reminiscent of being outside during a tropical storm. Not exactly an ideal environment to collect your thoughts and gain focus before starting a race.
When it was all said and done our racers managed to power through some tough conditions to complete two full giant slalom races. While the weather conditions got most of the attention, there was some great completion taking place across all categories. Being a joint race weekend, we had the pleasure of hosting our friends from Mid-Atlantic. It is always great to have them join us for races and it certainly added to the competitive spirit.
On the women’s side, it was Ashley Lindeman’s (F3) day as she took the victory in both races, holding off Liza Phillips (F1) and Deb Adams (F6). Lindeman threw down four consistent, and nearly flawless runs, to keep the competition at bay, and showed the field why she is a force to be reckoned with on the race course.
For the men, all eyes were on reigning Sise Cup Champion, Matt Dodge (M2), and Giacomo Migliori (M2). Migliori, who was fresh off a dominating performance at the Eastern Regional Championships at Stratton the week before, was dialed in and ready to compete for the top spot. The speedy duo did not disappoint, splitting the winner’s circle, with Dodge taking the victory in Race #1 and Migliori taking the victory in Race #2. Kyle Anderson (M2) took a very respectful third place in both races.
A special thanks to NEMS TD, Kip Blake, and Berkshire East Race Director, Ben Sullivan. Both of these guys stood outside all day in very difficult conditions to make sure we could hold our event. Their roles often take a backseat to the main performance, but on days like this it is important that we recognize their commitment to our sport and the roles they play in it. Without them we have no racing! Thank you, Kip and Ben!
We might lack the podium champagne celebrations, but we do have paparazzi shooting our events. If you haven’t noticed, this season Mark Phillips has been on the side of the course taking some awesome shots of our races as they charge down the course.
Photo Album: NEMS at Berkshire East
For complete results of both races visit: https://nemsracing.org/BerkshireEastResults
Top 10: Race 1
Top 10: Race 2