Friday, February 21, 2014

Celebrating Our Own Olympics

Have you been glued to the games like we have? I realize that Olympians have rare talent and tenacity, yet it's fascinating for me when I think about the fact that these athletes are real people who grew up in little towns like the one we live in, and skied and trained at mountains that I've skied. The inspiration they spark in me every time I watch a skater glide across the ice or a snowboarder soar in inconceivable whirls and turns makes me wonder if we might be able to have our own Olympic moments on our next visit to Bretton Woods.

With Bridget's penchant for flying down the mountain, we'd obviously start our Olympic tour on Bode's Run. Bode Miller himself helped design this run from the top of Mount Rosebrook, and it's full of the variety you'd expect from the iconic skier, with a good little headwall at the top, and then some sweeping turns around clusters of maples for practicing those race turns.

Next, we may want to see how we'd fare against gold medal ski race winner Ted Ligety. Even 4-year-old Timmy can see how he would compare to Ted with a few runs down the NASTAR course.  Every time you race NASTAR you are racing against Ted and his Par Time. The handicap you earn is the percentage your time is behind Ted's time (e.g. 15 handicap = 15 percent behind Ted's time). NASTAR is the acronym for the NAtional STAndard Race and is the largest public grassroots ski race program in the world. Participants compete within their age and gender groups to win platinum, gold, silver and bronze medals. 

For some freestyle flair, we'll have to hit one of the kids' favorite runs, Coos Caper. My guys are too little to actually hit any of the features, but they love to ride up and over the big whales of snow carved out for the big kids to fly off. Safety note: we try to keep our forays into this playground to the times that the real freestylers aren't there, like early in the morning -we don't want a little ripper to be hidden behind one of the jumps and have someone land on them!

We've enjoyed the Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon in the past, and the 2014 event is coming up on March 8. It's a great place for even a casual cross-country skier to get the feel of participating in a big Nordic event. There have been some famous names in Nordic racing participate in this event in the past, like Olympians Justin Freeman and Dorcas Wonsavage, but hundreds of participants have enjoyed this race, entering the full, half, or untamed divisions. Participants get amazing goody bags, and the banquet at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel that follows is the kind you'd only expect from a grand hotel.

When sliding down a snowy run at thrilling speeds is our Olympic aspiration, we can imagine we're on a luge on the tubing hill near the Bretton Woods Nordic Center. From the base of the tubing hill, it's normal to hear uncontrollable giggles and shrieks of laughter as kids and adults alike careen down the slope.

Next, we might try some ice dancing in one of the most scenic spots you could think of: on the rooftop of the spa and convention center at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel.  With the Presidential Range in the background, I'm hoping the views will make up for the fact that we aren't the most graceful of skaters, and if we have to pick ourselves up a few times, well then there's always a warm mug of hot cocoa waiting for us inside at the Rosebrook Bar in the Hotel.

As history buffs know, the Gold Standard was set at Bretton Woods, and I know that going for the gold will be a ton for us too, even if it's only in our imaginations!

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