Pro, amateur athletes compete at annual Climb to the Castle race

Jack Lange of Stratton Mountain School’s elite ski team wins the men’s division of Sundays Climb to the Castle race on Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington. (Enterprise photo — Eli Stack)

WILMINGTON — Pro and recreational athletes alike raced to the castle on Whiteface Mountain during Sunday’s annual Climb to the Castle Rollerski Race.

Olympian, World Cup competitor and member of the Stratton Mountain Schools elite ski team, Julia Kern, who ranked seventh in the FIS Cross Country World Cup Sprint standings this past season, won the women’s division of the Climb to the Castle race.

Kern returned on Sunday for the first time in 10 years. The hiatus did not slow her down. She finished with a stirring time of 44 minutes, 24 seconds. Jack Lange, who also races with SMS’s elite team, won the men’s category with a time of 39 minutes flat. Four years ago, Lange competed as a sophomore in high school, earning third place and winning the junior category.

The race was part of a multi-day rollerski festival, which included the Keys to the Castle race at Mount Van Hoevenberg. The route took athletes from the bottom of the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway to the top, an elevation gain of more than 3,600 feet. The event was hosted by the New York Ski Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aids young, aspiring athletes with skill development and competition in alpine, biathlon, cross country, freestyle skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding.

“Today was awesome,” said Lauren Jortberg, a World Cup competitor who placed third on Sunday.

Julia Kern, Olympian, national champion and World Cup competitor, smiles after winning the women’s Climb to the Castle Race at Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington on Sunday. Kern represents Stratton Mountain School and the Olympic national ski teams. (Enterprise photo — Eli Stack)

Jortberg and Kern were both excited about the upcoming FIS Cross Country World Cup, which will be held in Minnesota on Feb. 17-19, 2024.

“I absolutely can not wait. I have family and friends out there, I’m so excited,” Jortberg said.

Lauren Jortberg poses after the Climb to the Castle race in Wilmington on Sunday. “I’m really happy ... it was a really fun event,” Lauren Jortberg said about Sunday’s Climb to the Castle Rollerski Race up Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington. Jortberg is a World Cup competitor this year, and skis with Stratton Mountain Schools’ elite ski team. (Enterprise photo — Eli Stack)


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