The 18th annual Hannes Schneider Meister Cup Race to be held at Mount Cranmore will kick off Friday evening March 7 with a twilight ski ascent of the mountain for skiers on alpine touring and telemark equipment, with a hearty buffet of sautéed chicken and braised short ribs following their nighttime descent. Eastern Mountain Sports of North Conway is the sponsor the event, and will provide alpine touring demo equipment from Dynafit, G3, Black Diamond and K2 for those who need it, free of charge. Skiers who want to take advantage of the demo offer should call the EMS North Conway store at 603-356-5433 to reserve gear or visit the store prior to March 6, 2014 so that their equipment can be properly sized.
The connection between the use of skis for climbing and the legendary figure honored by the event, Hannes Schneider, is clear and direct. Schneider developed his ski instruction techniques decades before the invention of ski lifts, and of necessity he employed uphill ski climbing techniques daily himself and taught them to his students in his native Arlberg region of Austria. Schneider’s 1939 arrival in North Conway to assume the directorship of the ski school at Mount Cranmore came just as uphill ski techniques were falling into disuse because ski lifts were becoming widespread. Seventy five years later, the sport of alpine ski touring is seeing increased popularity.
Skiers in the 2013 tour climb the South Slope with the Cranmore base area in the background as twilight fades to night. Photo by Brooks Dodge
The use of climbing skins and free heels for climbing on skis was also an everyday part of life for the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division as they trained in the mountains of Colorado during the winters of 1943 and 1944. The Hannes Schneider Meister Cup commemorates the contributions of the veterans of the 10th Mountain Division to the postwar US ski industry, and the half dozen or so of those veterans who are expected to attend the Hannes Schneider Race no doubt have stories to tell about the pros and cons of using skis to ascend the mountains surrounding Camp Hale while burdened with heavy rucksacks.
Event sponsor EMS was a pioneer in the retailing of Nordic and backcountry skiing gear in the early 1970s when the concept of cross-country skiing was becoming popular but not many alpine ski shops were prepared to cope with the surge in interest in Nordic skiing. The EMS store in North Conway became a center of cross-country sales and information in that period and for several years revived the fading Intervale Ski Area as a Nordic center
Registration for the EMS Randonee Night Tour begins at 4 PM on Friday March 7 in Zip’s Pub and costs $25, including the dinner buffet. Beginning at 5 PM, tour participants will ascend a defined route, then relax in the Meister Hut at the summit of Cranmore, which will be open with hot chocolate available to the group. All skiers will be urged to make their descent by 7:00 PM so as not to miss the hearty alpine buffet that coincides with the opening reception of the Meister Cup in Zip’s Pub and Grill.
Sponsors of the 18th Annual Hannes Schneider Meister Cup Race are Cranmore Mountain Resort, the Gibson-Woodbury Foundation, Newcastle Brown Ale, the Schneider Family, Eastern Slope Inn, the Connie Davis Watson Foundation, Eastern Mountain Sports, Magic 104 FM, 93.5 WMWV, Valley Originals, WPKQ 103.7, the Conway Daily Sun, Outside Television and Hill’s RV. For more information on the event call New England Ski Museum at 800-639-4181 or visit www.newenglandskimuseum.org.
New England Ski Museum
is located at Exit 34B, Interstate 93, next to the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway in Franconia Notch State Park. The Museum also maintains satellite exhibits at the Intervale Scenic vista in Intervale, in the lobby of the Eastern Slope Inn in North Conway, NH and at Bretton Woods Mountain Resort in Bretton Woods, NH.
PHOTO: 2013 EMS Randonee Night Tour skiers gather at the base of Cranmore just before setting off for their climb. Photo by Brooks Dodge