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Sunday, February 6, 2000 -- Davis, WV
Mountain State 25KM XC Ski Race
Story & photos by Julie Black

[Coverage] [Results] Pics: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3]

White Grass Touring Center
The mass start of the XC Ski Race gets underway
Since 1979, White Grass Touring Center has taken pride in their laid back atmosphere, their exciting backcountry trails, and the 2,500 acres of beautiful mountainous terrain that surrounds their day lodge & cafe. On Sunday, February 6th, the center continued a wonderful rich tradition of theirs, the Mountain State 25KM XC Ski Race. This event offered a cross country ski 25K and 10K race. There was even a 2K XC race for kids. Many local XC skiers were there to take part in the race, and the gorgeous weather. Participants from other states were signing up as well, and waxing their skis for some interesting competition.

White Grass Touring Center
Rick McCall glides smoothly through the snow farm loop
The challenging course marked by Matt Marcus started the skiers in front of the cafe, and sent them gliding for a 2 small loop stretch through the snow farm. Then the 25K racers skied up through Springer Orchard, Harr Shelter, and Gandlfs Glade for 3 big loops. The 10K racers skied through those same runs for 1 big loop. The difficulty varied from easy to more difficult, with some tough hills.

Getting off to a fast start was Chipper Chase, who lead the 25K briefly before Sue Haywood made her move. Haywood held on strong for quite a while, but Mike Leman suddenly turned on the speed and started to give the snowmoblie that was grooming the trail in front of him, a "run for the money". Reaching speeds up to 15 mph, Leman (86:15), gapped Haywood by 5 minutes into the last loop to take the overall 25K win.

Photo courtesy of White Grass
Sue Haywood is all smiles when it's all over
Sue Haywood, and 16 year old Nick Waite battled from the start. Haywood kept a steady pace ahead of Waite who was coming on very strong, but it was Haywood (90:52) in the end who took 2nd in the 25K. Waite (95:08), finished 5 minutes behind Haywood for 3rd place respectively. When crossing the finish line Haywood remarked, "Everything hurts!" There's no doubt that everyone was feeling a little pain after that high intensity race!

The race for first in the 10K was a close one as well. Steve Strothers took a strong lead at first, but into the last lap, Skip Brow had shortened the gap. Strothers (43:59), keep his edge to finish 1st in the 10K, with Brow closing the gap to almost 2 minutes, and finishing 2nd with a time of 45:44. Jim Casbarian (52:57), kept up a smooth pace to finish 3rd.

White Grass Touring Center
Chipper falls to the ground from sheer exhaustion
One of the closest races of the day was between Chipper Chase, and "Charlie" Waters. Waters had the lead on Chase until he turned on the juices, and picked up the pace in the very last loop of the 25K race. It turned into a battle of "who was hungrier", and the exciting finish came down to the last second as the spectators cheered and rang their cow bells. Chase (103:39), was feeling the burn, and skated his way in front of Waters (103:40), just before the finish line. In the end, both racers collapsed and laughed in the spirit of good friends and great competition.
Many thanks to the great folks at White Grass Touring Center for putting on this special event, and for their very generous hospitality. WVOutside can't wait to go back and enjoy another day of racing & beauty at White Grass in Davis, WV!