Pinkham Notch, NH—Three-time defending champion, Justin Freeman, completed a four-peat with a victory in Ski to the Clouds this morning. Bates College’s Beth Taylor won the women’s race. Ski to the Clouds, presented by Maxiglide, features a $1,400 cash purse and a 6-kilometer climb up Mt. Washington making it North America’s Toughest 10k.
Despite rain and unseasonably warm temperatures, a record field came to test themselves on Mt. Washington. In typical fashion, Freeman of New Hampton, NH, a 2006 Olympian now racing for Salomon, let others lead the first 4 kilometers on the Great Glen Trails’ Nordic system before surging to the front. Sitting comfortably in a pack as they reached the base of the Mt. Washington Auto Road, Freeman took the lead one-kilometer into the climb and never looked back. He went on to win by nearly two minutes with a time of 43:25. This year’s margin of victory was the largest of his four wins. Stephen Monsulick of the University of New Hampshire was second in 45:12, and Samuel Evans-Brown of the Gunstock Nordic Association was third in 45:51.
In the women’s race, Taylor was not the first woman to make the turn up the Mt. Washington Auto Road, but, like Freeman, she pulled away on the steep climb for a comfortable victory. Her time of 55:38 was nearly a minute better than her closest competitors. The women’s podium was made up of entirely college students with Ellery Leeds of the University of Vermont second with a time of 56:51 and Kathryn Miller of the University of New Hampshire third in 57:33.
Last year’s 40+ male winner, Duncan Douglas, defended his title in 2011. Douglas, a1992 and 1994 Olympic Biathlete, from Honeoye Falls, NY and National Guard Sports finished fifth overall with a time of 47:28. Eliza Deery of Gilford, NH was the top 40+ woman with a time of 1:06:50 besting last year’s 40+ winner Meredith Piotrow of Jackson, NH who finished second in the 40+ category.
Also competing in the race was Timothy Mather of Marlborough, CT who will be competing in all the races up the Mt. Washington Auto Road in 2011: Ski to the Clouds, the Mount Washington Road Race, Climb to the Clouds, Newton’s Revenge and the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb. Dubbed the “Mt. Washington Auto Road Gravity Challenge,” more information about Mather’s quest can be found at www.mathersports.com. Mather’s summer of endurance will also include the 24 Hours of Great Glen mountain bike race.
The Ski to the Clouds course includes 4 kilometers of racing on the trail system at Great Glen Trails before the climb up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. The 6-kilometer climb up the mountain covers 2200 vertical feet making the race North America’s Toughest 10k. The race finishes just below the site of the historic Halfway House on the Mt. Washington Auto Road, at approximately 3800 feet above sea level. Ski to the Clouds is a true freestyle event: skiers can use either skating or classic technique in this mass start race. There are no separate categories for each discipline.
Thanks to the support of Maxiglide, Ski to the Clouds features $1400 in prize money. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three men and women: $250 for first place, $150 for second and $100 for third. The top male and female age 40 or older collected a $200 prize.
Complete results and photos available at www.SkiToTheClouds.com.
The 2011 edition of Ski to the Clouds is the first race to be held on the Mt. Washington Auto Road during its sesquicentennial year. As America’s Oldest Manmade Tourist Attraction, the Mt. Washington Auto Road will celebrate 150 years of operation this year with a full calendar of special events.
Beginning in 1975, Maxiglide was the first American company to address the issue of snow and ice on the bases of the first waxless cross country skis. Maxiglide created a Teflon-based coating that not only sealed the bases from accumulating snow and ice but also enhanced the glide. Maxiglide now offers user-friendly fluorocarbon rub-in waxes effective in a wide range of conditions for all types of skis and snowboards. Maxiglide was the first to develop liquid coatings for skis, then paste waxes, and eventually similar technology for canoes and kayaks. More information is available at www.Maxiglide.com.
Justin Freeman wins a fourth consecutive Ski to the Clouds:
Beth Taylor wins the women’s race: