Interesting conditions! The start area of the race was freshly groomed, and skiers choose skis based on those conditions. But once the race hit the 2km mark, the grooming ended. Instead, about 3 inches of fresh snow covered the course base. Through the 40km mark, racers had to skate through the fresh powder.
In one section of the 50km course, a snowmobile had groomed a best-line classic track through a narrow area - and through the middle of the skate zone. Skaters had to gingerly skate around the tracks or doublepole in the tracks.
Matt Weier and Dan Dehlin, the first and second place finishers in the 50km Freestyle, reportedly said they doublepoled up to 75% of the course because of the fresh snow.
27km skiers were able to take advantage of all the 50kers packing the course ahead of them. Much faster conditions greeted the shorter-distance racers.
There were unconfirmed reports of top skiers skating during the classic race.
Matt Weier and Daniel Dehlin, both from Marquette, had the fast times of the day in the 50km Freestyle even. Weier time was 2:22:30; Dehlin finished about three minutes back in 2:25:35. Third place was Wisconson's Bryan Cook in 2:29:09.
Amy Powell (3:01:46) had the fastest Freestyle time first among the women, with Gussie Peterson (3:09:44) and Kellie Stahl (3:13:37) in second and third.
Jim Harrington (3:14:10), Bill Brundage (3:23:24) and Randal Bladel (3:23:32) finished 1,2,3 in the 50km Classic.
Mary Connor (4:10:32), Marnie Sutter (4:56:12), and Kathy Garvin (5:07:18) were the top three Classic women.
David MacLean and Debbie Westphal took first in the 27K freestyle. Maclean (1:21:14) was followed by Cliff Onthank (1:23:40) and John Gravlin (1:26:13).
Debbie Westphal finished first in 1:34:48, followed by Donna Marlor (1:38:24), Kelley Peterson (1:44:17).
In the Classic Division, Sean Kelly was top man in 1:52:32, with Gerard Grabowski (1:54:53) and Jim Mowry (1:57:10) in second and third.
Emily Flynn (2:08:31) beat Amy Todd (2:12:54) and Debra Laurie (2:18:38) to take first among women.
It was all Juniors taking the top spots in the Men's and Women's 12km Freestyle. Mac Brennan was first in 36:54, followed by Ross Williams (37:26) and Raymond Innis (39:13). Juniors Kaitlyn Patterson (43:00), Maria Frick (45:36), and Julia Otwell (45:36) were the top three women.
2008 North American Vasa, full results: