RUMFORD — The largest high school Nordic ski race in Maine is expected to have a record field of more than 520 competitors Saturday when the Sassi Memorial 5K Classical is held at Black Mountain of Maine.
Snow conditions are expected to be ideal for setting the tracks for this classical technique race, and temperatures are expected to be in the high teens to low 20s with light winds and possible snow flurries.
Classical or classic technique Nordic skiing uses a running motion in concert with alternating poling. Skis are prepared with sticky "kick" wax under the foot and glide wax on the tips and tails to provide a combination of optimum traction and sliding speed. Technique judges watch competitors to assure they do not use skating techniques, especially when climbing and cornering.
The format for the races will be individual 15-second interval starts with skiers negotiating a single 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) lap. The boys competition will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the girls at noon and the first-ever adaptive sit ski competition for the event at 1:30 p.m.
Admission to the races is free.
The Sassi Classical is a qualifying race for the New England J2 Nordic competition for skiers born in 1995 and 1996. The TD Bank Eastern J2 Championships and National Invitational will be held at the Gunstock Nordic Center in Gilford, N.H., on March 11, 12 and 123.
Broomhall Cup set for Sunday
Black Mountain of Maine also will host Maine's most prestigious collegiate Nordic event, the fifth annual Chummy Broomhall Cup, on Sunday.
Teams competing are the University of Maine, the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Bowdoin, Bates and Colby, the defending champion. Thirty-five men and 35 women are entered.
The event is a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) classical or classic-technique competition with a mass start using one track for each team through the site's newly designed stadium to the stadium's exit, where racers will merge. Competitors will make two laps of a 5-kilometer course.
The women's race is set for 11 a.m., followed by the men at noon.
The Broomhall Cup was conceived by Andy Shepard, president and CEO of the Maine Winter Sports Center, to promote the heritage and vitality of competitive collegiate Nordic racing. The race, named in honor of Rumford native, 10th Mountain Division veteran, two-time Olympian and figurehead of the Rumford-based Chisholm Ski Club, Wendall "Chummy" Broomhall.