Monday, January 7, 2008

White Pine Stampede and VASA - February's Michigan Ski Races

ski racers
White Pine Stampede 2005
photo from WPS
The first two weeks of February should be hot and cold. Hot, in the sense that northern Michigan hosts major Nordic ski races on each of the first two weekends of that month. Cold, well... it's hard to keep the snow around without it.

Both events have races that are part of the Michigan Cup series. Men and women who ski the race can qualify for Michigan Cup points.

White Pine Stampede
First up, on February 1 & 2, is the White Pine Stampede in Mancelona, Antrim County. For 31 years, skiers from all over the state have been gathering for these races to celebrate their passion for the sport of cross-country skiing, and for 31 years, smiling faces have raised money for charitable organizations around the state while having fun with their friends and family.

The 50 Kilometer Event (32 miles) is staged on professionally groomed trails which wind through the most picturesque landscape of northwestern Lower Michigan. The race ends at Summit Village at Shanty Creek.

The 20 Kilometer Event (12 miles) takes skiers over rolling hills and across fields, concluding at Schuss Village at Shanty Creek.

The Roger Eschedor 10 Kilometer Timed Tour (6 miles), finishes at Schuss Village at Shanty Creek.

All races begin at Mancelona High School. Pre-register at the web site below.

Awards given are: a White Pine Stampede tee shirt and commemorative medal to each entrant. White Pine Stampede commemorative plaques are given to the top three finishers in the each classification. The 50km and 20km men's and women's champions receive the traditional award together with a gift certificate for Shanty Creek. In addition, skiers finishing the Stampede will receive a specially cast and registered medal to mark their accomplishment as they cross the finish line.

North American VASA
The Vasa Trail of Traverse City welcomed skiers of all abilities to a warm-up event this weekend, in preparation for the big races to be held February 9 & 10. The unseasonably warm weather did not keep people away, although indoor recreation was popular due to sloppy trail conditions. Families turned out for games and ski instruction. More serious skiers came to practice the trails. Vasa organizers are confident that there will be plenty of snow before the actual race date.

As part of the Vasa weekend festival of Races, there will be 27 & 50km special classic skiing races, and a 12km Timed Class. The Sunday events will be offered by Hagerty Insurance. The Gran Travers will feature both 6km and 16km challenging loop courses that will capture the rich heritage of traditional cross-country skiing at it's finest.

The trail will be carefully groomed and double-tracked to provide kick-and-gliders the opportunity to test their skills while enjoying the breath-taking beauty of the Vasa Pathway.

The event includes Junior VASA races sponsored by the Bayshore Marathon. The races are for kids from 4-15 who are not part of high school ski programs. The Vasa Board supports youth nordic ski programs in the Grand Traverse Region. These high-energy events include 1 & 3km Classic, and a 3km Freestyle race.

from Traverse City Record Eagle, "Vasa warms to new skiers", by Jeff Peek, Jan 6, 2008
from White Pine Stampede
from North American VASA
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

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