On Jan. 12, the same day that a ski race was cancelled in Ironwood, Michigan, 145 skiers donned their gear to compete in the REI Frosty Freestyle Race at Huron Meadows Metropark, the only Michigan Cup Race held south of Higgins Lake.
Despite a week of warm temperatures and a few rainy days, a ski race track made with snow shot from snow guns in December saved the event.
“We had a four to 12-inch base of hard-packed snow on the course, which provided us with better ski conditions than some of the other Michigan Cup races held earlier this year,” said Mike Muha, race director. “It was awesome to see the green grass everywhere with this ribbon of white snow for the race. This is the second year that the park staff provided outstanding efforts to make snow, spread it on the trail, and groom it for skiing. I applaud their efforts.”
Racers lapped a shorter 1K course made with the artificial snow instead of traversing a 15K route through the park. The 15K race length was shortened to a 12K race, with 118 skiers starting in two waves: 12K skate and classic, and 5K skate and classic. It was a balmy 48 degrees at the start of the 12K race.
Ryan Harris, of Grayling, took first place in the 12K Men’s Skate Style, with a time of 30:14; Alison Crocker took first place in the 12K Women’s Skate Style, with a time of 31:13. In the 12K Classic, Katharine Atto took first place with a time of 31:13, and Zbigniew Ziobicki finished first with a time of 34:53.
In the 5K Skate Style race, Sarah Goble, of East Lansing took first in the women’s division, with a time of 12:41, and her brother, Reid Goble, of East Lansing took first in the men’s division, with a time of 12:46. In the 5K Classic Style Race, Aaron Croff took first in men’s with a time of 20:13, and Amy Kostrceua, of Northville, of Ann Arbor, took first place in women’s with a time of 22:17.
In addition to these races, 27 children ages 4 to 11 competed in a shorter-length race.
Proceeds from the race will be donated to the Huron-Clinton Metroparks for cross-country skiing-related expenses. Stories and photos of the race can be seen at www.nordicskiracer.com.
Huron Meadows Metropark is located at 8765 Hammel Road, Brighton.