Among the things to give thanks for at this season, one that I think of daily is the work of the crew at the Rikert Nordic Center at Breadloaf. It’s been a low snow year around here, but Barney Hodges, Mike Hussey and their entire Middlebury College crew have kept the skiing world-class — every morning they groom out a creamy ribbon of snow through the woods.
Not surprisingly, expert skiers from around New England keep showing up; we’re blessed with the best cross-country skiing in the Northeast. But it’s most fun to watch the college, high school and youth racers hard at work honing their...
TIGER SENIOR SKIER Owen Palcsik, left, and his junior teammate Nick Suchomel crest a slope during the boys’ 4-kilometer freestyle race on Saturday at Rikert Nordic Center. Their host Tiger boys’ team coasted to a big win, while the MUHS girls were third in the six-team, season-opening competition.
Independent photo/Steve James
RIPTON — The Middlebury Union High School boys’ Nordic skiing team opened its season on Saturday with a dominant performance in a six-team meet at Rikert Nordic Center, while the Tiger girls posted some solid results in finishing third.
The Tiger boys placed all four scoring skiers in the top six of the 4-kilometer freestyle race, led by Jack Christner in first and Elvis McIntosh in second.
Mount Abraham independent Neil Guy finished third, and Tigers Lucas Palcsik and Zach Wilkerson claimed fourth and sixth, respectively. Mount Mansfield’s Jax Lubkowitz earned fifth to become the only other...
CORNWALL’S BARNEY HODGES is the new assistant director of Middlebury College’s Rikert Nordic Center. Hodges brings a wealth of experience as a skier, coach, organizer and businessman — and passion for the sport — to his new position.
Independent photo/Andy Kirkaldy
RIPTON — In February 2013 work to install snowmaking at Middlebury College’s Rikert Nordic Center was completed.
Before then, Mike Hussey, general manager of the two Middlebury College ski areas, said Rikert opened about 70 days a winter and attracted about 5,000 visitors a year.
But by 2018 Hussey estimated about 15,000 skiers annually made use of the Nordic center’s 55 kilometers of Ripton trails, and those skiers enjoyed an average of 140 days of skiing. Rikert, at the college’s Bread Loaf Campus, also hosts major regional championships every year.
And now Hussey said Rikert has made...