Jeff Knight and Crew Rise to the Occasion
Chief Groomer Jeff Knight
What do you do when you are scheduled to host a State Championship Nordic Weekend with all high schools in the State of Maine and over 300 skiers participating and Mother Nature throws you a challenge? You call on Black Mountain's Jeff Knight and crew to take on the challenge and groom the John Roderick Trail System to a safe and competitive venue. On the night before the competition was to begin, Black Mountain in Rumford received a sustained overnight downpour with temperatures reaching near 60º on race day. That was the first challenge for the crew commissioned to set tracks for the classical races that were to be held on opening day of the competition.
And set the tracks they did. Even so, with the temperatures as high as they were, inevitably there was some standing water in parts of the course. Adding salt to the wound was the weather forecast that was predicting a drastic temperature drop and gale force winds overnight. At the coaches meeting on Day 1, TD Dan Warner made the wise decision to eliminate "High School Hill" on Day 2 because it would be "just too fast". The coaches all agreed with that decision. It would be safe to assume that the coaches had some trepidation about the ability to transform water and eventually ice to a safe skiable course.
But, after a successful Day 1, the race crew met with Jeff Knight to devise a plan for Day 2. After the competition, Chief of Competition Roger Arsenault stated "We talked with Jeff last night to form a plan for grooming today and we trusted he and Rob to pull it off. They more than exceeded anything we could have imagined." He added, "We finished a heck of a season in style today. Even though yesterday was a challenge for everyone, no one complained. No one expected to get what they got today. The look on everyone's face today was priceless. The real heroes today were Jeff, Landan and Robb. Dan said it best and I echo him in that without their effort and skill, we would have been dead."