Date: February 10th, 2013
Location: Huntington, Vermont
Time: 7:30 A.M.
One of New England’s premier backcountry skiing events -- The Camel’s Hump Challenge (CHC) – is a highcountry traverse around the perimeter of Camel’s Hump (4083’) -- the third highest peak in Vermont’s Green Mountains. Dr. Warren Beeken, the founder and organizer, who passed away in 2003, conceived the CHC as a fundraiser for the Vermont Alzheimer's Association, and the event continues to raise money for support and educational programs of that organization, which is working hard for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.
The CHC is not a race, but rather a demanding cross-country ski that traverses around the entire mountain ranging in elevation from 2500-3500 feet. The trail passes through some rugged terrain including a variety of forest types including northern hardwoods, glades of spruce-fir and some the most beautiful park-like stands of paper birch in New England. Although the crowns of these trees have suffered from severe damage from windthrow and ice storms in the past decade, their beauty remains and in itself is worth the price of admission.
Participants in the CHC raise money by asking as many people as possible to support the “Round the Hump” trek with contributions. All participants must collect at least 10 pledges or a total of $125.00. Gear incentives are provided for skiers to raise more than the minimum amount. For more information about these prizes, and for fundraising tips to help you reach those levels, check out our fundraising section. Although skiers are advised to register in advance, participants can register and submit checks or cash and pledge form at the event. The average number of participants is usually 70 to 80 skiers, and there is a cap on the number of skiers due to safety and environmental concerns, as well as snow quality. Skiers gather at 7:30 A.M. at the Camel’s Hump Skiers Association Center in Huntington on February 10th, 2013, where pledges and registration are accepted and after a short introduction to the event, the skiers are off. The trail is generally broken by a vanguard of skiers and a team of sweepers, including a certified EMT, patrol the tail end of the CHC trail as the skiers snake around the mountain. Following the event, warm food and drinks and a fire await the returning skiers, giving them a chance to relax, rehash the tour, and warm up.
The CHC is not a lightweight kick and glide in the woods; the fundraising event will require long-distance cross-country, Nordic skiing in a remote wilderness environment, which demands a high degree of physical conditioning and competence in backcountry skiing. Participation is at your own risk and all skiers will be required to sign a waiver of liability. Skiers must be properly prepared and equipped for this backcountry tour with backcountry boots, skis and the appropriate clothing. For seasoned backcountry skiers familiar with Vermont’s backcountry, the loop is comparable to the backcountry tour from Bolton Ski area’s cross country trails to the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe. The approximately 25 km route takes 5-8 hours depending on the conditions and the ability of the skier. If, for any reason, first-time participants have doubts about their ability to make the full trip, the organizers suggest sponsoring another skier.