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Family Fun on the Nordic Trails: Find the Top Local Races This Winter

Jan 12, 2016 05:24PM ● By Victoria Pipas
Despite this season’s dramatic snow deficit, the Nordic skiing racing circuit is gearing up for a fun and competitive winter. Whether you’re a hard-core racer or just looking for some friendly local competition, these races are guaranteed to get your blood flowing and your heart pounding even in the depths of January.

January 22 to 24 – 6th Annual Nansen-Milan Winter Festival

The festival runs Friday through Sunday and includes a dog-sled race, a bonfire, a market with craft and food vendors, ice skating, and more winter activities. This is a festival with a serious view—racers will enjoy vistas of the Presidential and Mahoosuc Ranges as they ski around the course. The races take place on Sunday and include opportunities for kids and adults. Race day begins with the men and women’s 14k classic style race, followed by a 5k fun ski and a 1k kids’ race. Enjoy lunch and awards afterwards.

January 24 – MNC Nordic Duathlon

This race features a switch from classic to freestyle skis mid race, testing the racers’ agility as well as their fitness. The race includes 6km of each classic and skate, and is open to racers 16 and older. For younger skiers, there are free or inexpensive ($10) races by age group, offering the whole family a chance to compete. The course opens at 10am and the race begins at 11am. Stick around for an awards ceremony at 3:30pm.

January 30 – BKL winter fun race at Gunstock

This fun, easygoing race atmosphere will be sure to delight all the members of your family. Registration ranges from $5–$10. During the course of the race, you can choose to participate in an obstacle course or just go for the skiing (classic or skate). All ages are welcome.

February 28 Relay Races at Strafford Nordic Center

These sprint races are for teams of two skiers and are open to people of all ages. Prices range from $15–$25, depending on how many laps your team plans to complete. Team members must be in the same age category, and races will be held in both classic and skate style.

March 12 Relay For Life of Nordic Style

 Not a race per se but a truly worthy cause, this event invites participants to raise money to fight cancer while enjoying the beautiful outdoor scenery. The event runs from 4pm–midnight. Teams set up tents and take turns skiing or snowshoeing on the extensive trail system. Food and live entertainment will keep you warm all night long, as will the spirit of the cause—a celebration of life.

March 20 Biathlon Race

If you have experience or qualifications in shooting, skiing, or both of these together, then this is a great race for testing your skills. The course is made up of four laps and totals up to 6km. Fee for the race is $15 if you bring your own equipment and $35 to borrow a rifle and participate in a prerace clinic.

For an even more extensive listing of Nordic races, including lists of races for biathlon enthusiasts and youth, visit the New England Nordic Ski Association’s calendar here.

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