About this Event
The Camel’s Hump Challenge (CHC), one of New England’s premier backcountry ski events, is set for Sunday, February 19, 2017. The CHC offers participants the unique opportunity to ski Camel's Hump State Park and adjoining lands in Huntington, Vermont, while raising funds and awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. Download the Camel's Hump Skier Packet here.
The CHC will test your endurance. The loop is about 13 miles long, starting in Huntington on the Camel's Hump Nordic Ski Area trails. This demanding cross-country ski trek traverses around the entire mountain ranging in elevation from approximately 1250'-2750'. With a vertical rise of 1500' the trail passes through some rugged terrain including a variety of forest types including northern hardwoods, glades of spruce-fir and some of the most beautiful, park-like stands of paper birch in New England.
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 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. If, for any reason, first time participants have doubts about their ability to make the full trip, the organizers suggest sponsoring another skier.
What skiers need to know
Registration opens at 7:30 A.M. This year skiers will be able to hit the trail with a rolling start begining at 8am. Assume it will be a full day event - most skiers complete the loop in 5-7 hours. The trail begins at approximately 1350’ but after an initial climb, most of the loop is a clockwise circumnavigation of the Hump at 2500’ to 3000’ elevation. The majority of the trail is extremely remote, with no easy bail out points. There is a mid-station about half way around, near where the trail crosses the Monroe hiking trail. Hot drinks and treats are provided, although skiers should plan to bring their own food and drink as well. Due to daylight and safety concerns, all skiers should be past the midpoint station by 1:00 P.M., otherwise CHC volunteers will bring them down the Monroe trail.
Most participants ski the loop on metal edged backcountry skis with fish scales and a lightweight backcountry boot, though we do get skiers on all manner of gear. Skins are not required, though many skiers find them quite helpful on some of the steeper sustained climbs. AT gear has been used, but is not recommended, since there are no big downhill sections and the equipment tends to be heavy. On other hand, skinny nordic skis are also tricky unless you are highly competent on them. The trail can best be described as a goat path - lots of ups and downs, and often quite narrow. As a side note, it is also one of the most scenic backcountry routes around, winding through terrain not easily accessible via any other route.
The ski concludes back in Huntington after a long but fairly mellow downhill coming back down through the Nordic Ski Area trails. At the finish skiers enjoy hot soup, sandwiches, cider, a fire pit, and great conversation. We encourage folks to linger for a bit, rehashing the day and enjoying a mellow post ski gathering.