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History was made again with the 2017 Ski, Shoe & Fatbike to the Clouds. Held in cold, blue-sky conditions on March 5, it marked the first time that fatbikers have joined this annual winter event.
Pinkham Notch, NH--Since the Mt. Washington Auto Road first opened in 1861, it has been a proving ground for all types of adventurers. Throughout the years, many have secured their place in the history of the Auto Road, be it with a fastest time, or a landmark ascent.
History was made again with the 2017 Ski, Shoe & Fatbike to the Clouds. Held in cold, blue-sky conditions on March 5, it marked the first time that fatbikers have joined this annual winter event. First held in 1996 as Ski to the Clouds, it quickly proved to be a new and unique challenge for Nordic skiers, and at that time was held entirely on the Auto Road. In later years it was modified to increase the race distance to 10 kilometers, utilizing the Great Glen Trails Nordic system for the first four kilometers, before beginning the steep ascent up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. The race finishes just before the halfway point of the Auto Road at about 3,800 feet.
In 2013, a separate snowshoe category was added to entice snowshoe racers to take up the challenge, and was so successful that in 2014 the event was renamed as Ski & Shoe to the Clouds. In 2016, a new fatbike category was added, which quickly became the largest group of racers, but was sadly cancelled due to lack of snow.
Mother Nature was kind to us this year, and the 2017 event was attended by 120 racers in three disciplines--18 Nordic skiers, 33 snowshoers, and 69 fatbikers. Whether on skis, snowshoes or fatbikes, the race lived up to its reputation as North America's Toughest 10K, testing the racers as only Mount Washington can.
The fastest time was posted by veteran racer Tristan Williams, with a blazing time of just 48 minutes 37 seconds, winning the men's Nordic division. Tristan was closely followed by fatbiker Jeremiah Macrae-Hawkins, winning the men's fatbike division with a time of 50 minutes 37 seconds--the second fastest time on course. Kudos to all the racers who battled the Mountain and finished, but particularly to the winners of each division:
Men's Nordic- Tristan Williams 48:37
Women's Nordic- Meredith Pietrow 1:01:42
Men's Snowshoe- Andrew Drummond 51:49
Women's Snowshoe- Hilary McCloy 1:05:56
Men's Fatbike- Jeremiah Macrae-Hawkins 50:37
Women's Fatbike- Renee Bousquet 1:12:26
A heartfelt "thank you" goes out to all the event sponsors, who have helped make this annual event such a success. For 2017, those sponsors included Dion Snowshoes, Stan & Dan Sports, Polartec, Littleton Chevrolet, Hannaford, and the Old Village Bakery.
The family-owned Mount Washington Summit Road Company was formed in 1859, and completed the road to the summit of Mount Washington in 1861. The Mt. Washington Carriage Road, now called the Mt. Washington Auto Road, has the long-held distinction of being America's oldest man-made attraction. Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, opened in 1984, is one of New Hampshire's premier Nordic ski areas, with 45 kilometers of trails for skiing, snowshoeing and fatbiking. During the summer months, the Outdoor Center focuses on human-powered outdoor activities including kayaking, biking, hiking and trail running.