Racing in full 10th Mountain Division ski gear is not for the timid, but what a photo opp. This weekend Cranmore Mountain hosts the 17th annual Hannes Schneider Meister Cup, a race that pays tribute to America’s mountain troops and the founding father of ski instruction, Austrian Hannes Schneider who served as a mountain soldier in World War I.
The Meister Cup ski race is a New England classic - open to 200 racers in teams of five, gathering locals in vintage ski attire, along with some very competitive North Conway racers and Veterans, all for fun and fundraising for the New England Ski Museum. The entire weekend is a celebration of skiing, starting with tonight 's Welcome Party (the who's who of the ski industry) and Torchlight Parade at Cranmore. Tomorrow is the big quest for the Cup, a Dual GS, following an Opening Ceremony with full Color Guard of active duty 10th Mountain Division members. Après Ski festivities include a vintage skiwear show, a Silent Auction stocked with ski memorabilia and swag, and a Bavarian Band playing at Cranmore's Zips Pub. If tradition holds, Hannes Schneider's grandson Hannes will present the trophy and awards for the day's ski race - which includes the coveted Carroll Reed Cup for the fastest ski industry team.
The Meister Cup race and celebration was founded by Cal Conniff and Herbert Schneider - whose father Hannes came to North Conway and Mt. Cranmore in 1939. Hannes Schneider was released from Nazi captivity, and brought alpine skiing technique to New Hampshire and the states.
This year's Meister Cup coincides with Cranmore's 75th anniversary, along with the 70th anniversary of the 1943 founding of Camp Hale in Colorado where the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division trained. It is also the first year The Cup will commemorate Herbert Schneider, former Cranmore owner and 10th Mountain Division member, who passed away last June at 92.
The Meister Cup benefits the New England Ski Museum which was founded in 1977, and has been at the base of the Cannon Mountain Tram since 1982. The Museum is free, and offers a display of downhill skiing history, including archives and equipment from 10th Mountain Divisions skis and boots to Bode Miller's medals.
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.