In 1987 Mal McConnell, president of the Shenendehowa Cross Country Ski Booster Club to host a ski race at Saratoga Biathlon to raise money for the team. NYSSRA calendared the event touted as a “Master Series Race” for January 16, 1988. Race entry was $10. The club was disappointed in the turn out [which was similar to this past Saturday’s turnout]. We also helped out the Uncas Booster Club football concessions for additional revenue those early years. That following summer I went to a NYSSRA meeting in Syracuse to plead for status as an “Empire State Games Qualifier”. In turn NYSSRA calendared a freestyle ESG Qualifier & Master series race at Saratoga Biathlon on January 7, 1989. Entry was $8, $9 for non USSA by 1/1/89. Turn out was fabulous and we made some money and more money at the chuck wagon concession stand.
Every year the Schrieners struggle with snow conditions. There are postponements and adjustments of the NYSSRA calendar and some years we had to finally cancel altogether.
As you know the Empire State Games has evolved from a state funded event to a Empire State Winter Games hosted by Adirondack municipalities around Lake Placid. NYSSRA has evolved into NYSSRA – Nordic and the important event of the season is the NYSSRA Championships. ORDA has also evolved to the point that they have invested in snow making equipment at Mount Van Hoevenburg and Gore Mountain Ski Bowl. So this year we decided rather than postpone our January 5 event we move our Shenendehowa Classic to a venue with snow. It worked, but we didn’t get the participation or the revenue we had hoped for. We did get fantastic turn out of BKYSL skiers! With infectious enthusiasm of the Polar Bear Ski ski club and two free thinking BKYSL coaches it made a fun day.
My recommendation for next year: increase the on-line pre registration to $25 and day of race to $30. This will give us more flexibility with the Saratoga Biathlon Club and better facilitate a move to a different venue should the need arise.