Twelve-year-old Madison Williams of Twisp took home the top honors at the Hanz’s Big Adventure Nordic ski event last Saturday (Jan. 22) on the Sean McCabe Trails at the Methow Valley School campus near Winthrop.
Largely an event that caters to the local Nordic skiing youth program, there were 94 participants in the “Hanz” this year, ranging in age from 4-year-old Lumi Nelson of Winthrop to 51-year-old Brian Lund of Selah, Washington.
The event combined classic cross country skiing with an obstacle course, skiers being timed on an interval style start. Besides classic style skiing, there was a slalom component, a teeter-totter, a small jump, a bamboo forest and a catwalk across the top of a snow bank. Biathlon-trained contestants were also encouraged to make a stop at the range as part of their event.
Participants choose the length of their ski from 1-kilometer, 2.5K or 5K courses. At check-in, skiers record their predicted time to complete the course, and the winners are determined solely by how close they came to meeting their time estimate. The use of clocks, stop watches and other timing equipment is not permitted and no coaching is allowed during the race.
Williams, a sixth-grader at Methow Valley Elementary School predicted her time in the biathlon portion would be 15:40, only 3.1 seconds under her finishing time of 15:43.1. Runner-up Colin Eschbach, 8 years old, came in at 20:49, very close to his predicted time of 20:40. Chloe Kolman of Winthrop, also 8, placed third, predicting a time of 19:47 finishing the course in 19:29, 18 seconds faster than she estimated.
The annual event is coordinated by the Methow Valley Nordic Skiing Education Foundation. It is the brainchild of local skiing and mountain biking enthusiast Hanz Scholz.