Looking for your first cross country ski racer, ever? The Chestnut Valley Freestyle on Saturday, January 1 may be your race. Run on the Chestnut Valley Golf Course near Harbor Springs, the race will offer challenging but not intimidating terrain for the newer racer. The course rolls up and over a number of smaller hills, with a couple fast but doable descents mixed in. The distance of 12 km (about 7 miles, half that for junior women and skiers 15 & under) is not too long, not too short. A nice warming lodge is immediately adjacent to the start – and lunch is served after the race.
The race is one of the best for spectators. Much of the course is viewable from the warming lodge’s deck. The multi-lap course winds its way in front of the lodge several times, so your wife, husband, dad, mom, significant other, dog, or cat will be able to cheer you on and take frequent photos or movies.
In a freestyle race, you may either skate or classic (traditional) ski.
In some previous years, the race did stray over to the much bigger (and intimidating) hills on the neighboring Nubs Nob trail system. According to race director Nick Biac, this year’s race will remain on the golf course. (If you still want to try the big hills, your race entry fee includes a day pass to the Nubs trails. After the race is over, go have fun!).
Racing commences at 10:00am; registration is between 8:30 and 9:30. It pays to be there early so you’re not rushed! The registration form (and more details) are at http://www.nordicskiracer.com/cgi-bin/Calendar/default.asp?date=1/1/2005.
For a story about and pictures of last year’s somewhat wet race, try this link: http://www.nordicskiracer.com/Racing/2004/ChestnutValley/ChestnutValleyExperience.asp. More photos from last year are here: http://www.nordicskiracer.com/Racing/2004/ChestnutValley/Photos.asp.