Cross country skiers meet up this Sunday

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(Host) This Super Bowl Sunday, women in New England will have another sports option besides televised football.

As VPR’s Nina Keck reports, cross country ski enthusiasts of all abilities will meet at Chittenden’s Mountain Top Lodge for the seventh annual New England Women’s Ski Day.

(Keck) Trina Hosmer of Stowe was a member of the first Olympic women’s cross country team in 1972, and she’s still winning gold medals today in master’s races.

Like downhill skiing, she says, cross country’s popularity has been declining in New England. For the sport to grow, she says, there has to be a bigger push to get first time skiers out on the trails and help occasional skiers reach the next level.

(Hosmer) "I think women need a little more encouragement than the men to try something like this. You know, I say it’s more than just going on and walking on skis. There’s a lot to it. And it’s a wonderful life long sport and I think ideal for women and you just need to help them."

(Keck) Because women often do better at a sport when taught by other women, Hosmer and fellow skier Anne Donaghy decided to organize a cross country ski clinic run for and by women.

The first one was such a hit, Hosmer says, they’ve continued to run them every year since. While the venues have changed over the last seven years, Hosmer says instructors always include former Olympians, master’s level racers and college cross country ski coaches.

Hosmer says she’s especially excited this year to have Olympic Gold Medalist Joan Benoit as their master of ceremonies. Benoit won the first women’s Olympic Marathon in 1984.

Organizers say they expect at least 200 women to hit the trails this Sunday.

For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Chittenden.

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