Lots of races on the Michigan Cup Cross County Ski Race Series this season, including a race that has been absent for many, many years. Here's this year's highlights....
The 2013 Michigan Cup season starts early again with the US Season Opener Ski Fest in Traverse City on Sunday, October 21. Put on by the Vasa Ski Club, the race moved from Saturday to Sunday because there are more ice skaters on the weekend. Huh? Well, more skaters means more times the Zamboni needs to cut the ice, which produces more "snow" that will be used to create the ski course. Race Director Eli Brown would like to lengthen the course if possible this year, and the extra Zamboni snow might let it happen. There will also be a ski swap - bring gear into Brick Wheels between 3 and 6 pm on Saturday, October 20.
The inaugural Wintersonnewende kicks of on Saturday, December 15. Last year's "inaugural" race can postponed then finally cancelled when one of the worst winters in history (from a cross country ski point-of-view) failed to deliver enough snow. Perhaps this will be the year. Juniors will do a 7.5K classic race and seniors will race freestyle for 17K. There are some pretty big hills and some tight corners in the senior race.
Nick Baic's Tour de Ski at the Walloon Valley Lodge will run over a weekend of December 29 and 30 this year, so will again count for both junior and senior points. During the past couple years, Christmas and New Years fell on the weekend so the races were moved to weekdays. Being on weekdays, with many adult skiers having to work (have to afford those skis somehow...), the races were not eligible for senior Michigan Cup points. The races feature some long climbs and some screaming downhills. Michigan Cup are awarded for the entire weekend, not for the individual events. Lodging and food is available at the Walloon Valley Lodge.
The second annual Six Hour Relay and Pot Luck will run on Saturday January 5, 2013. No, you don't eat while you do loops on the course, but bring a dish to pass in the Activities Building after the race.
The leased snow gun that saved the REI Frosty Freestyle and REI Krazy Klassic races at Huron Meadows Metropark in Brighton last year has been purchased outright. Plans are to make snow as soon as the weather cools and stockpile it for the race - just in case. Last year, Huron Meadows was the only place in all of southeast Michigan to offer groomed trails during our season-long snow drought.
Little kids get to earn Michigan Cup team points in the Cote Dame Marie kids race on Friday night, February 18. Each kid gets 1 team point for participating in the race behind the Cross Country Ski Shop in Grayling. To get points, the child must be a registered Michigan Cup skiers. Points start for age 7 and above. The course will be different lengths for different ages.
After many years absence, Dave Forbush has decided it's time to reincarnate the Forbush Corner Freestyle. A 17K freestyle race on Saturday February 16, the course will cover much of the trail system at Forbush Corner in Frederic. Dave has been adding new trails to his property over the last couple years, so you may be racing on some brand new trail the day of the race.
When the Gobles moved to southern Michigan, Boyne Highlands lost their race directors, so the Highlands will not host any races this year. Expect the Highlands to be back on the schedule in 2014.
With the Highlands out, an opportunity opened for a second race at Black Mountain. Race Director John Gravlin will host Black Mountain 10K Freestyle race on Sunday, March 3 the day after the Black Mountain Classic.
And of course, the usual races will be back: The Vasa, White Pine Stampede, and the Noque; the race at the Boyne Mountain; the Muffin Race and various Junior Olympic Qualifiers, the Sprints and Gran Travers; the Cote Dame Marie and the Hanson Hills Classic; the Black Mountain Classic and the season-ender Michigan Cup Relays.
To get points, your registration and payment must be postmarked to the Michigan Cup Committee no later than December 31, 2012. Team's must send in a roster and payment by that time as well, but can add a few additional members, postmarked no later than January 31, 2013.
Click here for the 2012-2013 Michigan Cup Cross Coutnry Ski Race Series schedule.