An hour before the state Class A classical ski race began Feb. 18, the only person on the trail on High School Hill at Black Mountain in Rumford was Derek Adams.
“It’s peaceful and quiet. I just like it out here. It’s energetic,” Adams said as he unwrapped some cookies he had stashed in one of his pockets.
Adams has been a fixture on the mountain since he was 2 years old. “I guess it’s in the blood. My father, Herb Adams, was a big part of making this mountain what it is, and I took to it.”
When he was a kid, he got to spend time with some of the premier cross-country racers at the time, like local favorite Marcus Nash. While in high school, Adams skied for the Mountain Valley Falcons, then became a coach in the early 1990s.
Today he is more laid back and enjoys a more relaxed lifestyle.
“My biggest worry these days is making sure I stay hydrated out here. I’ll crank up the heater in just a few minutes.”
The small officials’ hut is a cozy place where he can watch the athletes ski past, making sure they stay in the classical style and not “ski skate” to get an advantage. There is a separate race for that discipline.
“So far, I have never had to disqualify anybody.”
Like most officials on the course, he is a volunteer, working for the love of the sport and to watch the next generation of racers, some of whom he has known since they were toddlers. “I just love to see the progress these kids have made.”