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Black Mountain prepping for this weekend

Thu, Feb  27, 2014 - By Denny Paull

Final preparations are being made for the 10th annual Black Mountain Nordic Classic 31 km race on Saturday March 1st and the March Into Madness 12 km freestyle race on Sunday March 2nd. The annual Marv Mendyk & John Hardin Memorial 10km tour will also take place on Saturday. The cold winter has made a lake start for all three events possible. The two track trucks have been out on a daily basis preparing both the 31 km single loop classic course and the separate, stand alone 12 km skate loop. As is the case with other ski areas in Northern Michigan, there is an unbelievable amount of snow on the Mountain this year which has made for some very interesting grooming sessions. The 12 km loop was groomed again last night and will be groomed daily until Sunday. Both courses should be very firm and smooth for the events this weekend.

2014 Black Mountain cross country ski race logo

One big change for this year is that race headquarters is now at the Bluffs on Black Lake. (10905 Doriva Beach Rd. Cheboygan 49721.) Registration and bib pick-up will take place at the Bluffs from 7:30 until 9:30 on both Saturday and Sunday. Participants will then make a short 2 mile drive to the starting line on Trout Lake below the Black Mountain Lodge. Racers are encouraged to park at the DNR parking lot on Twin Lakes Rd. near the Black Mountain Lodge where they can easily ski down the hill and to the starting line on the lake. Saturday's event will conclude with a nice buffet at the Bluffs and Sunday's event will include a pizza buffet.

This year's shirt logo is especially fitting for those who have participated in this event over the last 10 years. Mother nature has thrown a major weather curve nearly every year . Some of the curves have included a Thursday evening thunder storm with freezing afterwards and 22 inches of heavy snow the night of the event. This year's curve will be yet another round of polar vortex temperatures which should be a walk in the park for most Black Mountain Nordic Classic veterans. Sunday's freestyle course has been aptly called "The Beast," by those who have skied it. The course is totally seperate from the 31 km classic race course and features, well, lets just say a lot of hills! This rollercoaster of a course made its debut last year and is back by overwhelming popular demand. Whether one is primarily a skate or classic skier, this weekends Black Mountain events will be an epic way of closing out racing during an epic winter!