A select group of 48 skiers braved the sub-zero temperatures at the 2016 North American Vasa and ski the 50km course. Thirty-four skiers raced the 50K freestyle and 14 skied the classic in the frigid conditions. Alex Vanis led the way, finishing in 2:50:53, 10 minutes ahead of second place Boris Mikitenko. John O'Hearn was a minute back in 3:01:48. Mariah Frye-Colie was the top women in 3:51:10. Second and third were Karen Kirt and Brenda Carlson-Brown in 3:54:25 and 4:12:47.
In the 50km classic, Blair Zordel took the win in 4:03:18, followed by Daniel Novak (4:10:58) and Arne Ulbrich (4:27:50). Amy Giesen was the top women in 5:04:46, with Carrie Urbain (5:24:35) and Paula Dreeszen (5:46:49) in second and third.
A happy Blair Zordell who won the North American Vasa 50km classic
The big news of the day was Kaitlyn Patterson finishing third in the 27km freestyle. Not third among women; third OVERALL. Patterson "girled" all the men in the race expect the overall winner, Ethan Kennedy, who won in 1:39:59, and second place finisher Alex Dennis who was just behind in 1:40:02. Patterson's time on 1:40:55 even beat the third overall male, Tim Jenema (1:41:24).
Ellen Wiitala was the second fastest women in 1:49:05, followed by Eric O'Hearn in third in 1:51:14.
There were many more racers in the 27km...probably many who were originally in the 50km who changed races because of the challenging weather conditions.
In the 27km classic, Michael Davis was first in 1:56:00, followed fairly closely by Dave Borton in 1:56:59. Sean Newmister was third in 1:58:02.
Erica Dombro was the top women in 2:24:08, with Amy Kostrzewa breathing down her back to finish second in 2:24:40. Jennifer Brown took third in 2:25:20.