Monday December 31, 2012

n The Nordic season starts this morning at Prospect Mountain.

Berkshire Eagle Staff

There won't be any snow worries this year.

With the seemingly never-ending snowfall of the last week, the Nordic ski season will start on time this morning with a 9:30 a.m. race at Prospect Mountain ski area in Vermont. That's reassuring for the county's Nordic skiers after a severe snow drought last winter made races a rare sight.

"I think morale-wise we're going to get in our groove a lot faster," said Wahconah coach Kiersten Touponce. "We're going to see improvements a lot faster. ... We've been grooming at the school. They're smiling again. They're happy. They don't seem as tense."

As usual, defending state champion Mount Greylock enters today's 9:30 a.m. opener as the projected powerhouse. The Mounties won state titles in both the boys and girls events last year. Today's race is hosted by Lenox and the first of seven scheduled regular-season meets. Two races will be hosted by Notchview Reservation -- site of the state championships on Feb. 12 -- and Wahconah, Mohawk, Greylock and Cherry Hill will each hold one race each.

Touponce spoke about the season as her team was waxing skis in preparation for today. She said she tried not to worry when snow was hard to come by earlier this month.

"I was trying to tell myself that there were other years like this," she said. "This year I was relieved when it finally fell in buckets."

It's a relief felt across the county after teams had to race at Berkshire East Ski Area, normally an Alpine facility, several times last year. The state championships were supposed to be at Notchview last year, but a lack of snow forced them north, to Prospect in Vermont.

"Oh, it's beautiful," said Greylock girls coach Hilary Greene. "It's game-changing for everyone's attitudes. It makes our lives easier."