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Still skiing at a high level

  • Dennis Page, a ConVal graduate, spent his winter competing in Nordic skiing races all over New England and New York, finishing with four wins. Courtesy photo—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Friday, April 26, 2019 11:6AM

Dennis Page was in high school when he competed in his first long distance Nordic ski event, a 25-kilometer race at Bretton Woods.

It was at the suggestion of ConVal Nordic coach Scott McGovern, so Page gave it a shot.

At the time, he was really focusing on the shorter race distances as the top skier at ConVal, but something in the back of his mind always told him he’d like to do more of those endurance races.

He went on to ski at Dartmouth College, and did a few 15K and 20K races, and in no way was he ready to stop competing.

Page didn’t have any illusion he was going to ski professionally, considering “I was never the fastest person,” he said. He has long viewed cross-country skiing as a lifetime sport and wanted to maintain that competitive aspect of it.

“I love the sport so I wanted to continue to do it,” Page said.

So for the last half dozen years, Page has been racing up to a dozen times a winter at various Nordic venues around New England and New York. For the last couple, he’s been focusing more on those higher mileage races that test both his mental and physical stamina.

“I realized my interest level and where I’m most successful was in the longer distances, the 30 to 50 kilometer range,” Page said. “It’s definitely painful and its long. It’s three hours at the highest level you can put out.”

Out of his 11 races this year, five were more than 30 kilometers, and Page said it takes a different mindset to attempt those kinds of distances. He still does quite well at shorter races, evident by his win to cap off the season at the Black Fly 10-kilometer at Prospect Mountain Nordic Center in Woodford, Vermont in late March.

He also took home a victory at the Nansen Milan Winter Festival 12-kilometer (his third overall top billing in the race) at Milan State Park in Milan.

“There are a lot of high level races that anyone can enter,” Page said.

But the race that Page said highlighted his season was his win at the John Roderick Marathon 50K freestyle at Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine on Feb. 9. He said it was a good mixture of endurance and tactical racing that resulted in his first place finish. But coming out on top isn’t the only way that Page measures what he considers a successful race.

“It’s about how my body performs and how I felt during the race,” he said. “And I’d say this may be the best season I’ve ever had.”

Page is one of those people that looks forward to snowy winters. He trains about five days a week, using the Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center and its 25 kilometers of trails. He calls it training because of his racing schedule, but it’s also the way he exercises during the winter months.

“What is actually different is your mindset and how you want to approach the race,” Page said.

Page finished 19th out of 138 racers at the White Mountain 30km Classic and 22nd out of 125 racers, sixth in his age group, at the Craftsbury Marathon 50km classic at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Craftsbury, Vermont. At the Lake Placid Loppett, held at the Lake Placid Olympic venue at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, he was 15th out of 87 racers.

“I’m going to keep doing eight to ten races a year until I can’t ski anymore,” Page said.