By Brad Bates, Head of School
The International Ski Federation (FIS) voted recently to sanction Dublin School’s Nordic Center. Dublin School’s state of the art race course is the first high school course in the world to receive this certificate of homologation. The homologation process establishes an international standard for race courses to provide guidelines for course design and construction. Dublin School went through a rigorous inspection and application process to secure their homologation.
The homologated five kilometer course, designed by John Morton of Morton Trails, had to meet specific guidelines for course width, hill variety, length of climbs, safety of downhills, and size of the start and finish stadium. According to Dublin ski coach and Head of School Brad Bates, “the application process for homologation with the FIS has been a fascinating an educational process. I have spent a great deal of time with John Morton and the inspector from the FIS. The FIS is determined to create the fairest and most challenging venues possible. I have always seen courses from the athlete’s perspective and now I see them from the race organizer’s standpoint. We need to create courses that avoid bottlenecks so that athletes in a mass start have an equal shot at winning regardless of their starting position. Our course balances the artistry of John Morton and the technical aspects required by the FIS.”
Dublin’s course was intentionally designed to take advantage of Dublin’s high elevation (the course tops out at 1800 feet above sea level) and north-facing aspect. The course is in high demand due to its proximity to Boston and surrounding communities. According to Bates, “FIS homologation prequalifies Dublin to host national and international events where athletes hope to earn FIS points and qualify for the US National Team. For us, however, we are just happy to have such a fun and technical venue for our skiers to learn and enjoy the sport of skiing. None of this would have happened without the vision and support of Michael Lehmann, the son of our school’s founders, Paul and Nancy Lehmann. I also appreciate the efforts of our Buildings and Grounds Team and the support of trustee George Foote, who were all involved in constructing these trails. Our skiers already cannot wait for the 2016-17 season!”