24 hour ski to benefit disabled athletes
March 3, 2016
A typical training day this winter for Bill Ross, 58, of Granby consists of rowing 10 miles, skiing 4,000 vertical in the morning (at Ski Granby Ranch or Winter Park Resort), and an afternoon run or ride bike for an hour.
All for a great cause.
"I'm blessed as an athlete and climber. I am raising funds to give opportunities to athletes with disabilities," he said.
"Skiing is my passion and I have worked with NSCD and Paralympians at development camps for Nordic skiers."
It makes perfect sense that he challenges himself in this race to help benefit people who want to push their limits, too. Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports is the largest program in Vermont.
Although he has already met his Initial goal of raising $1,000, he is hoping to raise more.
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24 Hours of Bolton
The race is March 19 and 20 in Bolton Valley, Vermont located about three hours north of Boston.
"The race is not skiing and it's not racing," he said. "It's an uphill and downhill endurance race."
RJ Thompson is an endurance athlete who is running the event. His event company, Native Endurance, is hosting this first ever 24-hour backcountry ski in New England.
The race offers two challenging courses: a daytime loop in Bolton's backcountry and an overnight loop on Bolton's groomed terrain.
Skiing in Grand County is the perfect training ground for this course.
Heading to Vermont from 8,000 feet would seem like an advantage during the 24-hour race, however, Ross thinks differently.
"I'm a high elevation guy. As I go higher my body gets better, more efficient."
Ross grew up in New York State and spent summers in Vermont. He has hiked the Long Trail and has climbed many mountains in the area. Humidity may be a challenging factor, he said.
The gear needed for this race, and for ski mountaineering, is a bit different from Nordic skiing. He wears Scarpa ski mountaineering race boots and lightweight racing skis. His helmet is a combination climbing and ski helmet.
As part of his training regiment, he skis uphill at Winter Park Resort once a week.
"I'd start at Winter Park, ski to the top of Parsenn then to Mary Jane base and back up. It's about 6,000 vertical feet per day; a six hour training day."
For Ross, skiing every day and pushing limits is "just who I am."
For a man who says he doesn't play well with others, a 24-hour backcountry ski race is a perfect outlet.
"I feel alive when I can push myself."