NYSSRA Nordic introduced a new format to the annual Empire State Games. Now dubbed the NYSSRA ESG TourNADO, skiers took part in a three day three stage race that challenged them over varying distances and techniques. Each race had it’s own nuance and was reminicent of a classic metal album… this was appropriate as Peru picked up an impressive amount of Metal at the awards ceremonies. The event was a real groundbreaker… like Anvil’s classic proto-thrash album Metal on Metal.
STAGE ONE: 2.5 km Freestyle Prologue
Friday featured the TourNADO Prologue under the lights at Dewey Mountain. In the teeth of Winter Storm Nemo, skiers rocketed around two laps of the 1.25 km race course. Heavy snow was falling, and skiers battled two abreast at the start. Like Venom’s classic Black Metal, it was dark and foreboding and even a little bit scary at the time, but in retrospect was simply just a blast!
STAGE TWO: 20 km Classic
Saturday’s test was a 20 km classic mass start race around the surprisingly tough biathlon course. The tracks were good for the most part, with only a few spots with grass or dirt showing. Like the Black Sabbath epic classic album, Paranoid, it was classic. The sameness of the course (most of it had been used for years for the old ESG’s) did not detract from the plodding vibe of the race, and the new distance made it resonate as well now as it had in the past.
STAGE THREE: 7.5 km Freestyle TourNADO Finale
Sunday featured a blistering 7.5 km freestyle interval start race around one lap of the previous day’s classic course. Jon Santor skied like a man possessed and pummeled the field. The race was like Slayer’s Reign in Blood. It was frenetic, brutally fast and did not disappoint!