Sport: The Loneliness of The Long-Distance Skier

Seven national championships were at stake in the snow-covered countryside outside Putney, Vt., last week, but nobody except the contestants seemed to care. There was no grandstand at the finish line, only a dozen spectators and race officials were on hand to greet the racers, and no one offered the finishers so much as a cup of hot chocolate. In fact, one Putney resident passing by did not even know that the U.S. National Cross-Country Championship Races, the big so-called nordic skiing event of the year, were taking place almost in her backyard.

That kind of privacy is nothing new for long-distance...

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