By Thomas “Chi City” Schoorlemmer and Jake “Jakey-boy” Kobrin
Racers were all smiles at the 6th Annual Mathias Bartels Scholarship race last Sunday as they began lining up for the 6K – the first race of the day. Skiers and spectators alike were present to celebrate the life of Mathias Bartels and to support the scholarship fund in his name. The Mathias Jessup Bartels Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a graduating senior who exhibits the integrity, kindness, and commitment to excellence shown by Mathias. Entrants in the race included Berkshire alums, coaches, former Olympians, second graders, and High School skiers and their families. Most people were looking to have a fun day out on skis, and for many Mount Greylock alums, that meant proving that they’re still the baddest Nordic skiers around. Some of the County’s fastest skiers duked it out for over six kilometers of rolling hills, sharp climbs, and welcomed descents. Evan Dethier, Topher Sabot, Will Kirby, Nick Fogel, and Will Nolan all fought for the title of the best Greylock skier. They were joined by a contingent of Northfield Mount Herman, Lenox, Wahconah, Hoosac, and Mohawk racers, as well as many other Mountie teammates and skiers from the tri-state region.
Hiram Greene, the unofficial-official Spirit of Winter and course groomer, was recruited to start the race. After he roared “Go!”, the course was a flurry of snow as the racers struggled to advance their position without having much hard snow to pole on. This was thanks to 18” of new snow that fell consistently the two days prior to the event. A lead pack formed just after the start but spread out by the top of apple tree hill where Mathias’ monument stands. As the top skiers distanced themselves from each other, the next group of racers attempted to maintain their place, making dicey passes in tight situations. Behind the leaders, family members moseyed along, happily following in the racers tracks. The Lenox Ski team helped a previously injured teammate though the course from start to finish. This care and kindness is what the Mathias race is truly about. Families and friends had a great time sharing their love of Nordic skiing while supporting the Bartels’ family and the memory of Mathias.
The weather could not have been any better with a strong gusty wind petering out just prior to race time. A bright blue sky, fresh snow, and smiling Nordies made the event a joy for all. When Evan Dethier glided effortlessly into the finish, a large group of supporters were on hand to congratulate him for his win. Next came Topher Sabot, Northfield Mount Herman’s Estevan Velez and Henry Colt, and recently graduated “out of shape” Greylock skier Will Kirby. Greylock’s Grace Smith beat out her mom, Brenda Smith, by one second to be the first female finisher. They claimed 16th and 17th places respectively.
The next race was the 3k, which saw Michael Virgilio, Luke Sedor Protti, and Devon Mikaniewicz take the gold, silver, and bronze in the boys’ division. The girls’ 3K race was claimed by Heidi Peterson who also participated in the 6K. Clarissa Pollard and Louisa Kimball took second and third. 76 year old Grandma Fisher skied the course right alongside seven year old Phoebe Barnes showing how Nordic skiing can unite those of all ages and abilities. With skiers still milling around from the previous race, these finishers received a strong cheer when they crossed the finish line.
Leigh Niedeck and Thane Adams charged through the lollipop course presenting one of the cutest sights of the day. Leigh showed off both her classic and skating techniques en route to first place.
The Olympic theme music and announcing by Mark Santella provided special inspiration to the racers. After the races had finished, everyone made their way inside to eat delicious chili and baked goods. Participants perused the table of fabulous prizes, soon to be awarded to the top finishers in a variety of age categories. These racers could choose from Camelbacks, Swix duffels, waxing kits, and even top notch technical outerwear. But probably the most coveted prize was quickly grabbed by Matt Voisin of FasterSkier fame: the highly sought-after “Tower of Bunnies.” What age category he won, we’re not entirely sure, but he certainly won in the prize department.
After the standings were announced and the prizes claimed, Philip Bartels gave a heartfelt speech about his brother Mathias, and thanked all of the participants, organizers, and sponsors who made this amazing event possible. The Greylock Ski Team, in turn, presented a team card to the Bartels family.
All were appreciative of the Bartels’ family’s efforts and the volunteers who organized such a great race for the whole community. Mathias is a reminder to us all to never take anything for granted and to live our lives to the fullest everyday. Races like this one help us focus on what really matters – family, friends, and community (and good ‘ole Nordic skiing!).