You knew it was going to be a great day at the relays when Adam Swank of the U.S., skiing the 1st leg of the M1 relays, was so far in front of the next skier at the 3k mark he could have stopped and had breakfast and still been ahead. Needless to say, the M1 US team went on to win the first gold.
Our group had picked out a great spot to watch the race near the 3k mark of the 5k course. There was a long climb coming to the top of our spot and we were surrounded by 300’ Ponderosa Pines. If that wasn’t enough, the mountain blue sky’s reflection off the snow warmed us like we were sun bathing in the topics.
Our real anticipation of the day was the M4 relay team comprising of Milan Baic and David MacLean along with two other Americans. Milan was skiing the classic leg and David the 3rd skating leg. Only one US team could represent each age group in the relays; with two classic legs and two skating legs each doing 5k. Just to make a relay team is quite an honor and an accomplishment. Part of the course was the same for all skiers and part was separate for classic skiers and skate skiers. At our spectator location the course split with the classic skiers going in one direction and the skate skiers going in another direction.
Skiing the 2nd classic leg Milan was skiing strong and in 4th position but within striking distance of 3rd place. Waiting in anticipation for the 3rd leg, we were rewarded with an outstanding performance by David MacLean who now had a foothold on 3rd place. The U.S. had another strong skier for the final leg and the M4 group captured 3rd place. David had the 2nd fastest, 3rd leg of all the skiers in the relays regardless of their class. It was great to have Milan and David on the same team and representing the State of Michigan. Milan and David are great examples of the camaraderie and personality that is representative of our Michigan Cup skiers and symbolic of this World Cup Masters event.
Dave Maclean at World Masters
After the race my daughter, Natalie, and one of her friends took us up the Needles Trail. The trail took you up to the top of the mountain on the end of peninsula of Ponderosa Park. The trail was wonderfully groomed and the grade easy to manage. On top of the peak we viewed Payette Lake below surrounded by mountain peaks in a panoramic setting. The ski on the way down was a NASCAR like glide of 2k’s down to the trail at Payette Lake.
After the race a group of us headed to the Cascade Hot Springs. Not really expecting what to find, once again our expectations were exceeded. The hot springs spa was expertly designed and constructed to combine the natural surroundings and man made development to produce a spectacular set of pools with water cascading down from one pool to another. The top pool was the hottest and the lower pools were slightly cooler. Take a moment and view the pictures from skiing to the hot springs and the cultural diversity of this great event.