The first Great Bear Chase took place in 1981 and Richard Clark was there. This year marks the 36th annual ski marathon and Richard Clark plans to be there, just as he has for every Great Bear Chase. (A note that, if you are doing the math, the event was cancelled twice – once because of no snow and once because a huge wind storm toppled a number of trees onto the trail on the eve of the race.)
Clark grew up in western New York not far from Buffalo and currently resides in the Twin Cities area. His connection to the Keweenaw started when he attended Michigan Technological University from 1977-1981, and has continued through cross country skiing and the Great Bear Chase. He says he loves the fun, low key atmosphere that the GBC provides. “It’s a well-organized event on a fun course with great snow – a great way to wrap up the (non-Yooper) ski season.”
Clark has many special memories of the GBC. “The very first one in 1981, starting in the rain and ending in heavy snow with post-race donuts and pie at the Parkside Bakery; the old loop course down to the river; the blizzard year of 1988; the frigid sub-zero race of 2003 – still the coldest ski marathon I’ve ever done; and several of the years in between with their sunny, rocket-fast, near-perfect race conditions.”
Clark plans to continue the unbroken streak this year and is registered for the 36th GBC on March 10, 2018. He continues to come back year after year because “it’s a really fun event, it’s a great excuse for another ski visit to the Copper Country, and also, frankly, to keep the ‘founder’ string going.”
Learn more about the Great Bear Chase at http://www.greatbearchase.com/ .