The Washington’s Birthday Race is Back!
Join us on Saturday February 25th, 2023 for the revival of the famous Washington’s Birthday Race! In partnership with the Marlboro Nordic club, we are VERY excited to bring back this historic community race. All levels of skiers are welcome and encouraged to participate. This will be a classic (technique) race of approximated 12 kilometers that starts and finishes on the Marlboro Nordic Ski Club trails and meanders throughout the town of Marlboro, Vermont. We’re going back to the roots of skiing in New England: some of this race will be on pristine, wide, excavated competition trails but the majority is on single-track classic trails, including a section over South Pond.
What was the Washington’s Birthday Race?
In brief, the Washington’s Birthday Race was a race for the “people” to encourage more participation in cross country skiing. The first edition of the race took place in 1963. The route was from the summit of Hogback Mountain and traversed through Marlboro and finished in Brattleboro. In following years, the race rotated between local towns and participation grew from 54 skiers to over a thousand. The final “official” version of the Washington’s Birthday Race was in 1973. Why? Because the race become “too much of a race” according to the event’s first winner, Olympian Bob Gray.
Since the pandemic, cross country skiing is seeing a revival in participation, but mostly as a solo pursuit. We want to bring back the grassroots backwoods racing that transformed an individual event into a party. Think of this is a celebration of skiing for all. Ski fast if you want, or take your time and enjoy the company of other participants and the beauty of the wintry landscape. There will be road crossings, variable terrain, and lots of excitement. We will do our very best to prepare great course for skiers, but we will be racing no matter what the weather brings. This is southern Vermont, so rather than postpone or reschedule, we’re going to ski on whatever we have on race day. We will have great music, a food truck, perhaps adult beverages for those so-inclined, warm beverages for everyone, and so much excitement about skiing that you’ll be swept off your feet (and onto skis).
Date: Saturday February 25, 2023
Start Time: 11 a.m. mass-start. Shorter kids race at 10:30 a.m.
Distance: About 12 kilometers (that’s about… wait – this is skiing. We can’t do miles, sorry)
Technique: Classic (keep those skis in the track, folks!)
Fee: $25, kids’ race is free.
Registration: Register online here
Day of race registration available as well.
Waxing Service: West Hill Shop/Caldwell Sport will be on hand to provide kick waxing service for free! However, your skis must please be CLEAN. Of course if you’ve got fish-scales, skins, or other non-wax solutions we welcome those too!