By Frank Rizzo
WALPOLE, NH April 10, 2001 - Coaches like to say that some sports are for life, but there is a considerable difference between, say, golf or tennis at one end, and nordic skiing at the other.
At 35, married with two kids, and with a job requiring a lot of travel, Jim Pammer somehow found the time to remain competitive in one of the more demanding individual sports, cross country skiing.
Pammer, who grew up in Harris and graduated from Monticello HS in 1983, has kept up a busy sporting life through the years.
He competed at New England College, a Division I school in New Hampshire and skied and coached at the junior nationals level. At age 19, he finished 11th in the nation in the junior nationals.
Its been a lifestyle for me, said Pammer, who makes his home in Walpole, New Hampshire. This year I got myself back in [competitive] shape.
Pammer entered the Lake Placid Loppet, which he called a jewel of the Great American Cross Country Marathon Series.
Pammer skied the 50-kilometer (32-mile) classical-style race and placed ninth overall and second in the 35-39 age group with a time of 3:19:51.
The race was run on the course originally constructed for the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Because this course was designed for Olympic competition, read the press release, it is more challenging than most citizen race courses. The altitudes range from 1,860 feet to 2,460 feet with the longest single climb being 230 vertical feet. The total vertical climb is just under 3,700 feet for the Loppet racers
On February 10-11 Pammer traveled to Quebec to compete in the Canadian Ski Marathon, a two-day, 50-mile per day event through remote, empty and beautiful back country in western Quebec.
Severe weather wiped out the first day, and on the second morning, Pammer set out with 300 other skiers at 6 a.m. on a cold clear day.
The object is to finish, said Pammer, who reached the finish line at 1:45 p.m. Every eight or 10 miles there is a checkpoint where you can relax and eat. But there are time constraints you have to reach a checkpoint within a certain period.
There is an unbelievable amount of rising, he added. There are serious vertical changes.
Pammer admits that his job as a sales rep for a medical equipment company as well as family responsibilities leave him little time to train during the week.
Using a headlamp, Pammer skis on snowmobile trails in the pre-dawn, and also lifts weights.
On weekends, hell do a three- or four-hour ski, come home, cook breakfast for everybody, and take a nap when the baby takes nap.
Pammer and his wife Erin have two sons, James Jr. (five years) and Liam (20 months).
I try not to do the same things every day, he said of his training regimen.
The 5-foot-11 Pammer still weighs the same as he did in high school, about 168-170 lbs., but I have a little less hair, he laughed.
Next: The Bicycle
Though Spring is here and cross country skiing is done, Pammer said there is two feet of snow on our front yard. Im not ready to ride my bike yet. Im still skiing.
This summer he plans to enter a couple of bicycle races and take part in the grueling Sea to Summit event.
It starts with a 12-mile kayak in the ocean at Portsmouth, NH, continues with a 90-mile bike race, and ends with a 10-mile run to the top of Mount Washington, a 5,000-foot climb.
Ive done it about half a dozen times, Pammer said. Its about a 91&Mac218;2-10-hour day.
Pammer likens where he lives the Connecticut River Valley and foothills of the White Mountains to the area around Grahamsville.
He and Erin, who hails from Middletown, make the 51&Mac218;2-hour trip to the area several times a year.
Jims parents, Bill and Alice Tierney Pammer, still live in Monticello.
Growing up in Sullivan County was a definite asset
you see the world in a different light, Pammer said. Up here [in Walpole] its more homogenized.
Pammer used to do a lot more ice climbing, taking on the ice gullies on Mount Washington. Its an activity with potential danger and hes cut back.
Since having kids Im more conscious of my mortality, he said.
Pammer hopes to introduce his sons to the wide world of sports he has experienced.
I was fortunate to be able to do interesting activities and see beautiful places before I got married and settled down, Pammer said.