Nashoba Valley Ski Area is modest in terms of vertical drop, but a giant in terms of its impact on American ski racing.

The Fletcher family, which operates the resort in Westford, Mass., is responsible for giving the world Pam Fletcher, one of America's great downhillers.

Pam tore up the World Cup circuit as a member of the U.S. Ski Team for nine years. She won six U.S. National titles, and a gold medal at the 1986 World Cup Downhill in Vail.

She was a member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team, but never got to compete, because she broke her leg in a freak accident in a training run. The disaster did not quash her dynamic personality.

This legacy of racing continues at Nashoba, with kids programs, NASTAR, and nightly adult racing.

Nashoba is hosting the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge Saturday Feb. 19. The event is a free, fun race open to all ages and abilities.

Registration is at 8 a.m., racing begins at 11 a.m., and awards are handed out at 3:30 p.m., with the party beginning afterward.

Nashoba Valley Ski Area has nine lifts with a combined uphill capacity of 11,600 skiers/riders per hour: three triple chairs, a double, three rope tows, and two conveyors; 16 trails and a glade; and 100 percent snowmaking and night skiing.

More information. Or call 978-692-3033.

Check out this video of Pam Fletcher talking about her racing career.