New England Masters Ski Racing

Beyond the Wax Room
May 2021

Greetings All! 

We are about halfway through spring and in New England that means the ski season is over for most of us. Yes, there are still a handful of diehards out there squeezing every last possible run out of this season, but for the rest of us mortals, it’s time for mud season, and to start getting ready for those warm weather hobbies. 

Two months have passed since our final races at Mount Southington in Connecticut. Since then I have taken some time to reflect on the incredible journey that was the 2021 NEMS season. While there is a lot to digest, the one thing I can say for sure is this season will not be forgotten anytime soon. Whether we like it or not, this season will forever be remembered as the COVID season. Yet, while COVID may have stolen the headlines, it by no means defined our season. What ultimately defines any NEMS season are the races, the people, and the experiences they have. It is really that simple. So, if anything, COVID pushed us to be even better, because at the end of the day, bringing our “A” game was the only option on the table.

This past season was a wild one in just about every way possible. Yet, even with all the obstacles and unknowns that we had to work through, we still managed to pull off one heck of a season. To recap, here are just some of the highlights:

  • 17 scored races (including regionals) 
  • 3 new venues – Berkshire East, Whaleback, Mt. Southington
  • A new state - CT
  • New online content – NEMS Learning Series
  • NEMS Philanthropy Night raised thousands of dollars for three non-profit organizations 
  • Held largest Masters race in U.S. at Wachusett Mountain 

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” – Sun Tzu (The Art of War)

Overall, I am very happy with how things turned out - I think everyone should be. We managed to hold a lot of races this season, and that fact alone should put a smile on everyone’s face. What really made me happy about this season, however, is the fact that we didn’t settle for “good enough.” That “good enough” mentality might get you to the start gate, but it will never make you better. Instead we took advantage of opportunities, tried new things, learned, and grew in the process. I believe this was the right approach and will pay dividends for us going forward. 

While this season might not have been one for the record books, it certainly turned out far better than any of us, including me, imagined it would. But as any ski racer knows, you always need to be looking forward, which means it is now time to officially close the book on the 2021 season and begin working on the 2022 season. We will again have our hands full over the off-season and I am excited for the opportunities we have in front of us. With that it is now time to get back to work. 

I hope you all have a safe and fun spring/summer. As always, if you have any questions/comments/concerns, please do not hesitate to send me an email at:

Matt Mitsis

Thank You

Seasons don’t just happen. From the individuals who work on putting it all together, to our amazing group of racers, and of course our incredible sponsors, it takes a village. Unfortunately, we were not able to properly recognize most of these individuals due to our inability to hold social events this season, so I wanted to take a moment here to thank them for all of their hard work and dedication. Our success this season, or any season for that matter, absolutely does not happen without everyone doing their part. 

Kip & Lucy Blake and Stacey Weston:

Every year there is an immense amount of work that takes place behind the scenes to allow our season to happen. Most of the work that takes place is never actually seen on race day, but without it our events, and the racer experience that goes along with them, would be a lot different. This year the work was far greater and even more important than it has ever been before. Kip & Lucy Blake and Stacey Weston played a huge part in that process, and without their support, guidance and dedication, this past season would have played out far differently than it did. 

So while they never ask for it, I want to personally thank them for everything that they do to ensure that we can go out and enjoy the sport we love so much. They absolutely deserve it.  Amazing job!!!

To all of our racers:

A ton of work went into making this season a reality, but all of that work means nothing unless people show up. So, for everyone who made it out to a race this season, regardless of how many, I want to personally thank each of you. It was so much fun racing with you this season. 

To our regular crew - I cannot thank you enough for sticking with us this season. We have some truly dedicated individuals who love to ski race, but I know this season required a bit of trust and a whole lot of patience. 

To the new racers - Thank you for giving NEMS a try. It is always great to see new faces at our events and hopefully you will join us again next season. Make sure to invite your other ski racing friends as well. 

Lastly, to our racers who were unable to join us out on the hill this season, you were certainly missed. I know you wanted to be out there, but for many of you there were simply more important factors that came into play when making that decision. The good news is that we’ll be back next year, and I hope that all of you will be as well. 

TD & Race Referees:

Every sanctioned USSS race is required to have certain race officials present to hold the event. The TD and Referee are two of those roles. NEMS has two dedicated TDs and a handful of racers who also volunteer as a Referee at our events. Thank you to the following individuals for all of their work to ensure that we have the safest race courses possible. 

Season Sponsors: 

A big shout out to our sponsors from this season. We are extremely grateful for the amazing partnerships that we have with these companies. 

Board of Directors: 

Finally a big thanks to the entire NEMS Board of Directors. These individuals volunteer their time in order to keep NEMS going. There is so much work that goes on throughout the year, and this team is always working to make sure our racers have the best races and the most fun possible. 

Xevo Optics Sungalsses Discount

The goggles might be away for the season, but the sun is still out in full force. If you need a new pair of sunglasses make sure to check out Xevo Optics. They have a great selection of high-quality shades to choose from. NEMS racers receive 75% off with discount code: NEMS75. With those savings go pick up two pairs!

Season Award Winners

This season we ended up having 17 scored races. We had an amazing group of racers competing at each event which lead to some fantastic battles and some very exciting racing, not to mention some rather animated trash talk. To view the complete list of the Class, Discipline, and Overall winners, please click hereDidn't made the podium, but curious how you did? Make sure to check out the NEMS Standings page!

Congrats to everyone who made it on the podium this season. Racing at a consistently high level all season is not easy and you should be proud of your accomplishments. A special congratulations go to our overall Sise Cup Champions, Becka Padgett and Matt Dodge. This was Becka’s first season racing with NEMS and she quickly made her presence known with a run of dominating finishes. It was very reminiscent of some our previous female champions who showed no mercy on the racecourse (i.e. Jessie McAleer, Katie Green, and Alex Mitchell). This was the fifth time Matt has won the overall Men’s title, and he has won it four years in a row (2015, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021). Winning the Sise Cup is not easy, and being able to race at a high level consistently for this long is incredibly difficult. As a fellow competitor and spectator, it is difficult not to be impressed with the way in which Matt moves through a course with such speed and finesse.  

A little history:

With this championship, Matt now sits in an elite class of racers who have won the Sise Cup at least five times. Jessie McAleer (7), Rodger Buchika (6), Lisa Densmore-Ballard (5), Bob Hill (5), Ben Green (5), and Matt Dodge (5). To see the complete list of winners, check out the NEMS Race Cups/Season Awards page. 

Other Items:

Helmet Rule Change – 2021-22

Starting next season, all Masters racers will be required to have a FIS helmet for any USSS sanctioned speed event (GS/SG/DH). We were able to hold off on this rule change for a few years, however, the rule was recently passed and will be in effect for the 2021-22 season. Most of our racers already have a FIS helmet so the impact should be minimal. We will do our best to remind everyone of this rule change, but all racers are responsible for ensuring their gear meets the property requirements.

Barb Settel

In April, long-time NEMS racer Barb Settel passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Barb was very well-known across the Masters racing community, both on and off the hill, and her loss is certainly felt by many. We will miss seeing Barb on race day. She always had a smile on her face, and you could just tell she loved being out racing with her friends. 

Barb’s daughter, and fellow NEMS racer, Lauren Bennett, wrote a truly amazing obituary celebrating her mom’s life. If you haven’t read it yet, I would encourage you to check it out.

Trek Across Maine

Stacey Weston and Patti Lane will be back on their bikes again this June to raise money for the American Lung Association in the Annual Trek Across Maine. While the event will again be held virtually this year, they will both be racking up some big time miles in June. If you are interested in learning about why they are riding in this great event, and supporting them on their journey, please check out their pages and consider donating to this great cause. Good luck!  

Good News Around NEMS

I would like to close out this year’s Spring Newsletter with some good news from around NEMS. 

Oh baby, baby, baby! 

We had some new additions to the NEMS family this season. 

Mike & Christine Suriani
The Suriani's welcomed their second child, Owen, in October. It's pretty clear based on that shirt what winter spot dad will have him doing very soon! 


Alex & Laura Tarberry
The Tarberry's welcomed their first child, Theo, in December. Mom and Dad made sure he got his days on snow this year.

Brian & Annie Plancher
The Plancher's welcomed their first child, Tess, in April. Alvin is actually thrilled to have a little sister. He just has a funny way of showing it. 

Congratulations, Graduates! 

Becka Padgett
Becka completed her Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University.

Eliza Phillips
Eliza completed her Undergraduate degree in Sports Management with a Minor in Communications from Nichols College. Eliza won't be going far, she will be returning to Nichols College in the fall to pursue her Masters degree. 

Sydney Murner
Sydney completed her Undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Connecticut. Sydney is heading down to Charlotte, NC to begin her career as an Engineering Specialist at STV, Inc.

Honorable Mention:

Congratulations to J.P Daou for graduating from Law School at Florida State University. I can’t wait to see him argue his first DSQ appeal for missing a gate at his next race.


NEMS on Social Media

Did you know that NEMS is on social media?  Make sure to follow us @NEMSRacing across all our platforms for photos, videos and event updates.

Copyright © New England Masters Skiing, LCC, All rights reserved.

Our website is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
New England Master Ski Racing · 320 D St Unit 233 · Boston, MA 02127-1276 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp