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Skiing, volunteers and perfect timing
Bob Arsenault of the Chisholm Ski Club leads a contingent of people who are responsible for timing the ski races at Black Mountain of Maine, which will host the TD Bank J2 Nordic Ski Championships this Friday through Sunday.
RUMFORD -- This weekend, the best 14-15 year-old Nordic racers from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, and elite guest teams from Colorado and Wisconsin will compete at Black Mountain for the TD Bank J2 Nordic Ski Championships.
The 228 athletes will have three days of intense junior Nordic ski competition this Friday through Sunday, and they will have the best timing equipment available to record their efforts.
Bob Arsenault of the Chisholm Ski Club leads a contingent of people who are responsible for timing the races. Some time ago, it used to take three days to produce final race results. "We now do live timing, providing updates every 30 seconds on the website."
There is also a hanging monitor on the outside of the timing building for people at the mountain to view results.
Arsenault, whose involved on the network side of the timing, said they utilize several computers, using software developed by Tom Kendall of Auburn, who developed this software for the NCAA's. Next to what Kendall uses, he said their timing equipment is the best in the state.
"You never want to miss a start or a finish," he noted. That is why they have keep separate timers on an "A" system and a "B" system. As a backup to those, people also do the races using hand timers.
He said he spends more time with prep work than during the actual event. For example, when the Sassi Memorial was help, more than 500 names, school and run orders had to be put into the computer.
And, as a public service, Arsenault said they use the timing equipment off site at no charge for events like road races, such as the Healthy Hearts 5K.
Arsenault said the club is always looking for volunteers. "We'd love to find someone who like to be the announcer for our events. A race with an announcer makes a difference."
And while what they do may look complicated, there are a number of small assignments and simple tasks that volunteers could provide. "It's all about the kids and athletes having a good time."
Those interested can contact the club through the Chisholm Ski Club website.
This weekend's event is hosted by the Chisholm Ski Club and the New England Nordic Skiing Association (NENSA).
“The Chisholm Ski Club is looking forward to hosting this event,” said Chief of Competition, Roger Arsenault. “This is an exciting event and it’s the first opportunity many of these top junior skiers from the northeast have had to compete against each other. We are also very pleased to welcome the teams from Colorado and Wisconsin to Rumford.”
He continued, “The snow made for the U.S. Cross Country Championships in January has held up very well over this very busy competition season and we have accumulated quite a bit of natural snow on top of it. We anticipate conditions will continue to be very good and the club is
working to make this an outstanding event for both the competitors and the spectators.”
Arsenault commented, "The Black Mountain of Maine lodge, the tiered parking and bridge access allows both recreational Alpine skiing and Nordic competition events to take place without conflicting with each other. The lodge’s second floor and upper tier parking are always reserved for Alpine skiers on competition days."