First Chance Ski Race at Mora, MN - the 2nd Tour de Finn event of the season.
Race recap - First Chance Race
This last Saturday in Mora, Minnesota, an eager 31 skiers gathered together to spin 10 laps around a very well-earned and prized 1 kilometer loop around the Mora Nordic Center. Organizers spent all week putting it together as a batch of cold temperature days gave an opportunity to make snow in a hurry. It was flat, it was fast, and there was a robust cheering section as spectators could catch skiers twice per lap.
Ten laps sounded a little intimidating, but it turns out when you have the whole loop to think about which lap you’re on, it sort of just works out. It was a solid event, as all events in Mora are, and if you’ve talked to the Mora event organizers as of late, they are a receptive and friendly bunch. They are enthusiastic to bring more people up to their events and open to collaboration. One goal of putting on the First Chance Ski Race was to show people that they have some snow and are going to put together an event for the Vasaloppet USA, their featured winter event, and will put on a good show no matter the level of natural snow.
If you’ve ever been to a Mora event, you know the level of care and community is a whole next level. From the outfits to the hand-painted dala horses, to the people lining the streets of Main Street, to the blueberry soup, to the winner wreaths, the variety of events, this town puts a ton of love into the ski races, in addition to all the other seasonal events they put on. A side note that the Snake River Canoe Race in early May is the biggest canoe race in the state of Minnesota. Mostly because it's awesome and inclusive and a beautiful windy river.
As we move into the main part of the racing season, we posted the team registration deadline to line up with this past weekend, and we have TEN teams signed up! (I think there’s a lucky number vibe going on here!) Check out the standings page for a list of teams. There is still time to register as a team, but no retroactive points will be given, so for example, a team could register this week and still get points for any races going forward, but not for the first two races. But there are plenty of races left on the calendar!
Next up, we have the Pre-Loppet at Wirth Park, which has a growing foundation of manufactured snow as they prepare the World Cup courses in February. Race organizers have predicted a modified course of about 12K, give or take. Enter visions of pretending we're Team USA racing the Val di Fiemme... if it's on a World Cup course, it counts, right?
On deck is the RiverView Loppet on Jan 20 in Brule, WI, and frankly I’m crossing my fingers for a good old fashioned snowstorm, because that’s one that I’d really like to do. I'm hopeful for some lake effect snow. We’ll report back on plans there.
Early season standings after two races are up on the website, for both individuals and teams. Still many races to go, but it’s fun to start to see things stack up.
Also, just a general note to the ski community: I’m noticing a lot of creativity going on out there, with changes in race plans and snow/weather conditions. Self-made time trials, nautical themed ski 50 kms, getting friends together to ski… I personally went sledding on the Birkie trail last week (maybe don’t tell anyone that; is that okay? I think it's okay...) All I’m saying is, keep having fun and bringing people together and thinking outside the box! Happy Trails, everybody!