New England Bill Koch League Festival-Great Glen Trails hosts the largest youth cross-country skiing event of the season

New England Bill Koch League Festival-Great Glen Trails hosts the largest youth cross-country skiing event of the season

Pinkham Notch, NH The New England Bill Koch League (NEBKL) strives to introduce youngsters to the lifelong sport of cross-country skiing, and all that it offers for recreational and social opportunities. The league promotes fitness and competitive challenges, but its main goal is to create a fun environment where children develop a true love for the sport. Named after Bill Koch, the first U.S. Olympic medalist in cross-country skiing, the NEBKL is the largest cross-country ski program for children in the United States, and is comprised of over 45 clubs throughout New England, with well over 800 youth participants and adult leaders.

Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center has hosted a BKL club for more than 15 years, lead by Olympian and ski school director Sue Wemyss. Sue has a passion for bringing youth into a sport that she truly loves, and dedicates her Sunday afternoons to club activities. All children in grades 1 through 8 are welcome to join, and no experience is necessary. The club meets weekly for about two hours, focusing on skiing activities that are fun and exciting, and competitions which encourage the kids to participate at the best of their respective abilities.

The highlight of the season—for kids and coaches, alike—is the annual New England Bill Koch League Festival. For 2020, the Festival is being hosted by Great Glen Trails, much to the delight of its employees and the local cross-country skiing community. This two-day event will begin on Saturday, February 29, with a full schedule of races being held throughout the weekend. In addition to the multiple categories of races, the Festival will give kids a taste of ski jumping and biathlon, as well as fun activities such as snow tubing, obstacle courses, radar runs, ski tours, snowman building and face painting.

While most of the NEBKL clubs will be attending the Festival, you don’t need to be a club member to participate. Registration is open to all kids in grades 1 through 8 who are looking for a fun weekend of winter activities and racing. Festival information and registration links can be found at www.GreatGlenTrails.com.

Volunteers are critical to the smooth operation of a festival of this size, and we welcome the participation of anyone who would like to be involved. It’s sure to be both fun and rewarding, as you’ll be a part of an event that will have a lasting impact on youth skiers. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Sue Wemyss (sue@mt-washington.com) to sign up. For all those who have volunteered in the past, we give you our sincere thanks.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the Festival’s presenting sponsor, The Valley Originals, as well as a host of other regional and national sponsors including L.L. Bean, Swix, Nokian Tires, The Glen House hotel, Ragged Mountain Equipment, Skida, Living Shores Aquarium, Settlers Green, SkiErg, Bolt Depot, Northeast Delta Dental, and the Law Offices of Cooper Cargill Chant. If your business is interested in supporting this family-friendly event, please contact Lisa McCoy (lisa@mt-washington.com) for more information.