Frosted, Frozen, and Flying: BEEs Brave The Cold At Noque
The Noque is always cold. This year, it was absolutely freezing.
In the coldest edition of the Noque Ski Marathon since 2014, skiers of all ages and disciplines deserve a pretty special nod for what they did this weekend. Somehow, the Noque has scheduled itself on some of the most frigid days of the season each winter, and athletes keep showing up to prove that they are just as tough as the weather.
This year was an especially cold year, and in the days leading up to the race, skiers from around the Midwest watched as the expected temperatures fell and fell…and fell. By Friday night, temperatures were expected to go as low as -20 with windchill, and organizers made the decision to cancel a number of kids’ events due to the extreme cold. They did not, however, delay the race’s marque event, the 50km Classic race, and kept the rest of the weekend largely on schedule.
That meant no sleeping in for the Scott and the Howard clan. Scott took on the big dance, the 50 kilometers of classic skiing on sticky, slow, Velcro-like snow. Up against some of the best skiers in the country, Scott’s efforts turned into simply staying steady, moving, and warm. He finished with a time of four hours and six minutes, a true marathon effort that earned him 68th overall and 4th in his age group. It’s hard to imagine even being outside for four hours, let alone working so hard to keep a smooth, competitive pace!
The whole Howard clan raced, too, with Michele and the kids hopping in the 12km skate race. An active family is a connected family, right?
Jen Brown was in action as well, with the Classic discipline serving as her specialty. She took on the 24 kilometer race on Saturday, facing the same brutal conditions. She cruised to an age group win in the time of 2:06, also good enough for 11th overall!
We’ve got a lot of respect for our athletes who not only hop between sports so seamlessly, but have no issue taking on elements that prompted dozens of skiers to stay home. In a sport that is just as much about facing the conditions as the competition, races like this are lasting accomplishments, beyond the results sheet.