Ski the Beav hosting races and clinics Sunday, hopefully with a snow gun too

The steeple from the Congregational Church of Hooksett peeks through the weighted-down trees from the recent storms on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. The downtown view is from Lambert’s Park along the Merrimack River.

The steeple from the Congregational Church of Hooksett peeks through the weighted-down trees from the recent storms on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. The downtown view is from Lambert’s Park along the Merrimack River. GEOFF FORESTER

Heavy, wet snow bends the branches of the trees off of Route 3 in Bow on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. The recent rain of Sunday and then the snow that night caused the branches to be weighted down.

Heavy, wet snow bends the branches of the trees off of Route 3 in Bow on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. The recent rain of Sunday and then the snow that night caused the branches to be weighted down. GEOFF FORESTER

Truck tire tracks weave through an open area off of an industrial park off of Route 3 in Bow on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

Truck tire tracks weave through an open area off of an industrial park off of Route 3 in Bow on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. GEOFF FORESTER

Heavy, wet snow sits on the branches of a pine tree off of Route 106 in Concord on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

Heavy, wet snow sits on the branches of a pine tree off of Route 106 in Concord on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. GEOFF FORESTER

Heavy, wet snow bends the branches of the trees off of Route 3 in Bow on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. The recent rain of Sunday and then the snow that night caused the branches to be weighted down.

Heavy, wet snow bends the branches of the trees off of Route 3 in Bow on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. The recent rain of Sunday and then the snow that night caused the branches to be weighted down. GEOFF FORESTER

Heavy, wet snow bends the branches of the trees off Route 106 in Concord on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. The recent rain of Sunday and then the snow that night caused the branches to be weighted down.

Heavy, wet snow bends the branches of the trees off Route 106 in Concord on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. The recent rain of Sunday and then the snow that night caused the branches to be weighted down. GEOFF FORESTER

The steeple from the Congregational Church of Hooksett peeks through the weighted-down trees from the recent storms on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. The downtown view is from Lambert’s Park along the Merrimack River,

The steeple from the Congregational Church of Hooksett peeks through the weighted-down trees from the recent storms on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. The downtown view is from Lambert’s Park along the Merrimack River, GEOFF FORESTER

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 01-30-2024 3:15 PM

Before this past snowstorm, Sam Evans-Brown wasn’t sure the local non-profit Ski the Beav would be able to hold its Learn-to-Ski clinics and 5K race at Beaver Meadow Golf Course this weekend.

He woke up Monday morning to a pleasant surprise.

“We were like, ‘Huzzah! It’s a Christmas miracle! We can have a ski race!’” he said.

This Sunday, Ski the Beav will move ahead with a full day of events planned for skiers of all abilities thanks to the half-foot of snow the area received. They’ll have a 5K race that starts at 9:30 a.m. and a Bill Koch League race for youth skiers that starts at 10. From 11 to 12:30 and 1:30 to 3:00, they’ll run learn-to-ski sessions for anyone interested in trying out cross-country skiing.

The learn-to-ski sessions are free, but the races require registration and a fee to participate. Ski the Beav will be providing free equipment to use during the learning sessions.

It’s all part of the non-profit’s mission to make cross-country skiing more accessible to the Concord community. 

“We really need to talk about, ‘how do we get more people out skiing and introduce more people to this sport when we’ve got this great community resource here in Concord,’” Evans-Brown said.

They’re also hoping to have a snow gun on site to demonstrate what adding snow-making equipment to Beaver Meadow would look like. 

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The organization has a three-step plan to improve the Nordic skiing experience at the facility. They acquired a snow groomer last winter and now hope to purchase snow-making equipment and install lights in partnership with the city.

Evans-Brown estimated the cost of a snow-making setup to be about $200,000, which Ski the Beav would acquire through fundraising. The organization is still working with local ski areas and manufacturers to try to secure a snow gun for a demonstration this Sunday so everyone gets a sense of how it operates and the value it could provide. 

The gun hooks up to a water source and blows snow several hundred yards across the course. When Concord officially owns one, Evans-Brown said the ideal setup would allow it to be moved to various water hookups around the course, and it would be transported around by an ATV. They would also use the snow groomer to push the snow around and smooth out the trails. 

For now, he’s just hoping they can demonstrate how it works, either this Sunday or later this winter, to build momentum for the project.

With or without a snow gun this Sunday, the trails have enough natural snow for Ski the Beav to welcome new and experienced skiers and build their excitement over the potential for cross-country skiing at Beaver Meadow.

“Here’s the sad truth: We’ve tried to run a ski race pretty much every year for the past five years, and I think we’ve only successfully pulled it off three of the five years,” Evans-Brown said. “Because snow is so spotty, and we’ve had to cancel this race so much, we don't have enough people signed up. I would love for people to know that we're doing it this year and we’d love to have folks there.”

For more information on the schedule of events this Sunday, Feb. 4, visit https://sites.google.com/view/skithebeav/events