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Middlebury-Suicide 6 Race Recap

in Race Overview by Matt Mitsis Leave a comment

This past weekend the NEMS Express rolled into the Green Mountain State (that’s Vermont) for a GS at the Middlebury Snow Bowl on Saturday and a SL at Suicide 6 on Sunday. We were a few days removed from a mid-week snowstorm which dropped about 7 inches of much needed new snow, and smack dab in the middle of a brutal cold front which brought in temps beginning with a dreaded minus sign (-) at the front of it. Needless to say folks were spending a little bit of extra time indoors this weekend. The one saving grace, besides hot chocolate and toe warmers, was the perfect blue bird sky which left the sun on full display and created some absolutely amazing views. We’re talking postcard worthy stuff folks!

Any weekend I have the chance to get out of the city and hit the slopes for some racing is exciting for me. This weekend was exciting for another reason. In all of the years I have been racing for NEMS, this was my first trip to the Snow Bowl! [Insert happy dance here.] It’s hard to imagine that I had never been there before. I had planned on attending last year but the race was canceled due to a lack of snow, so this was a weekend I had been looking forward to for well over a year. After all, everyone always talks about Middlebury and how it might be small, but its race trail, Allen, is really awesome. While I didn’t get a chance to experience a race down the full trail, I can certainly understand why people talk so passionately about it. It definitely looks like it would be an amazing GS course and I can only hope that I have the opportunity race down it one day in the future.

Saturday began with the temps hovering around -6 degrees and with everyone huddled up in the lodge trying to reassess why they still enjoy ski racing and what the right layering strategy would be. I always say it takes a special person to willfully throw themselves down a mountain on skis at high speeds in nothing but a thin layer of spandex. It takes a total badass to do it in artic temperatures. Nostril freezing temps aside it actually turned out to be an amazing day. The trees were covered in snow and frosted over which led to some really great views from the chairlift. The temps gradually warmed up to a balmy 12 degrees, oh and we did some ski racing as well. While I know there was some disappointment that we did not have a full-length GS down Allen, running a shortened three-run GS was actually a lot of fun. The joke around the group was that if you blinked you would miss your own run. It was definitely a shorter course than we are used to at around 30 seconds with a mostly tuckable top section, a couple of key gates on the pitch followed by a sprint to the finish. But as we saw at the Sunapee SL, even a short course can cause some issues. A unique aspect of this race was that the group ran the same course for the first two runs, and since there was a small field for the race and the snow held up really well, it was a good test to see if you could improve on your time having run the course already. At the end of the day and after three runs, the difference between the top two times was separated by a mere 0.03 seconds!! Congratulations to the men’s and women’s overall winners, Chris Beadon & Cinthia Audet, and thank you for everyone who made the trip up to the Snow Bowl and battled through the cold temps. To see the results from the race click here.

On Sunday everyone headed over to Suicide 6 for the annual Bunny Bertram Memorial race. Now before we get into all of the action I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention the real excitement that took place on Friday. To get a jump start on the competition a few NEMS racers were up at S6 doing some SL training. What they also got some practice in was how to get evacuated off a chairlift. Yikes! Kidding aside that is a situation you never want to be in, especially in the frigid temps they were fighting though. While I’m happy the paparazzi was there to capture it all, I’m happy that everyone was able to get off safely and get warmed up. Hopefully the mountain bought them a burger and a beer for their troubles! Ok, maybe two beers. Fast forward to Sunday, with the cold temps still lingering and the chairlift up and running, the NEMS racers attacked what is often referred to as one of the better SL hills on the schedule. With some great snow conditions and a couple of great courses to work with, the field made quick work of the day’s challenge producing some exciting runs, and of course a few defeats. Congratulations to the men’s and women’s overall winners on the day, Matt Dodge & Cinthia Audet, and to the winners of this year’s Bunny Bertram Memorial!!

NEMS is off next week for the holiday weekend. I hope everyone who is attending the race camp at Mt. Snow this week has a great time and picks up lots of tips along with some valuable gate time. Next up are the Eastern Regional races at Stratton! It’s going to be an amazing few days of racing with some great after parties as well. I hope to see you all up there!

Thanks,

Matt Mitsis

NEMS Goes to The Boston Ski Expo!

in Announcements, uncategorized by Matt Mitsis Leave a comment

If you have ever attended a ski expo, whether in Boston, Denver, New York or elsewhere, you know that it is essentially a sensory overload of all things related to the ski & snowboard industry. In other words, it’s complete chaos, but in a fun and exciting kind of way! You literally have hundreds of vendors, representing anything closely connected to the industry, spread across a massive floor space and they are all trying to get your attention (and your money). Now, when I say anything, I mean anything! For example, I found it ironic that T-Mobile was at the Boston expo this year. Not because they are a cell phone company, but rather because everyone I know that has T-Mobile always complains about how terrible their service is on the mountain when they are trying to check Live-Timing! That’s just one example, but there are usually a few more that can leave you scratching your head in confusion when you walk by. Kidding aside, there are a ton of great companies at the expo each year that give attendees a glimpse into what is happening across the industry. From capital improvements at resorts, to the newest fashion trends, and even the newest technology, it’s all there under one giant roof.

In the middle of it all was the hottest booth at the expo this year…the NEMS booth! This year NEMS had the pleasure of being located in the Maine section next to Sunday River, Sugarloaf and our friends at Shawnee Peak. So if anyone says that NEMS doesn’t spend enough time in Maine, I would just refer them to the four crazy days we spent there in November, plus the one day at Shawnee Peak we have scheduled in February of course! Anyways, the expo, in many respects, is a competition between the Marketing departments of every company in attendance. As an attendee I absolutely love it, but as a vendor it gives me heartburn. Thankfully, over the last three years NEMS has been investing in our booth for the expo and this year our booth looked great! We even sold some NEMS merchandise. Go figure!

Overall it was a really good showing at the expo for NEMS this year. Not only did our booth look great, but we continued to build our brand awareness within the ski community. We even signed up a few new members! More on that in just a moment though. Being able to promote the NEMS brand to such a broad and diverse group of people at the Boston expo is such a huge advantage for us. In addition to some key players in the industry, many of the venues we race at, and the business partners we are connected with, are also in attendance. Layer on the over ten thousand people (yes, that’s 10,000+ people) that visit the expo during the course of four days and you could not ask for a better platform to showcase NEMS. While we have made great progress here we still have a lot of work to do, but I am excited about where we are headed. You must be doing something right when a penguin stops by, right?

Now, remember those new members I mentioned? In addition to brand promotion, we also use the expo to try and sign up new racers. This year we signed up eight individuals, a few even have some pretty solid racing experience. I am always excited to introduce new people into our NEMS community and I am very much looking forward to seeing them out on the hill this season. So welcome to the family! We hope you are as excited about the upcoming season as we are.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to give special thanks all of the volunteers who helped out at the NEMS booth this year. Our success at the expo does not happen without you being there.

 

Needless to say we will be back at the expo next year, but for now we’re on to 2019 and the start of what should be a terrific race season! I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and holiday season. Just remember the speed suit you need to fit into when reaching for that second slice of pie! 🙂

All the best,

Matt Mitsis

NEMS 2018-19 Schedule Released

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The wait in finally over! It might be mid-summer, and months away from anything that closely resembles snow, but we’re so excited about next year’s schedule that we just had to share it with the world. Ok, the world might be a bit much but we are really pumped about the schedule and we know just how much our racers anticipate its arrival…..so here it is!!
As you can clearly see, this is one jam packed season with potentially 21 races across 5 states. Just let that sink in for a minute. Now, given its August and we are still working on many of the details that will go into making this season a success, there aren’t a whole lot of specifics we can get into just yet. But stay turned! We’ll have more updates as we head into the fall.