PELHAM — After waking up at 4:30 a.m. to board a school bus, traveling 60 miles on snow-covered roads, and pinning on pink race bibs, students from Pelham Memorial School found themselves staring up at the summit of Pat’s Peak Ski Area in Henniker.
They were participating in an event called the Winter Wild, a series seven of uphill-downhill races at New England ski areas. Each Winter Wild event challenges participants to make it up one ski trail and down another under their own power.
The races are part of the ‘Let’s Move’ initiative, which encourages kids to lead healthy and active lives. When the start signal was given, the students and more than 200 other outdoor enthusiasts from New England took off for the top.
While some Pelham students hiked up and down in boots, sneakers or snowshoes, others carried their skis or snowboards up to the top and then clicked in for a faster ride down.
“At the beginning, I kept slipping in the snow, and I didn’t think I would ever make it,” eighth-grader Miranda Labonte said, “but then, suddenly, I was at the top and I knew the rest would be easy.”
After finishing the race, the exhausted students joined the rest of the racers for bagels, Nutella and an extensive prize raffle in the lodge.
At the end of the race series, the school district with the greatest participation will win $5,000, courtesy of Lake Sunapee Bank, the Children’s Fund of the Upper Valley and the Byrne Foundation.
With 29 students completing this race and many more students interested in participating in a future race, Pelham has a good shot at coming out on top.