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Vasa Update & Trail Report

Wed, Feb  9, 2005 - By Jim Dombrowski

The 2005 North American Vasa Festival of Races will be held on Saturday February 12. The recent warm weather and rain have forced us to make some changes but we will hold the races. The Start/Finish will be moved to Timber Ridge Campground (formerly Jellystone) at the west end of Hammond Rd. Also race day packet pick up and registration will be at Timber Ridge.  

The race course will leave Timber Ridge and follow the traditional Vasa trail and return to Timber Ridge for the finish. The exact route is yet to be announced and will be determined by any additional snow we may receive between now and Friday night. The course was groomed today with the LMC and the snowmobile and the ice was worked up. We also received about 2 inches of new snow while the groomers were out and that was worked in as well. The 50K loop was badly damaged by the warm temps, rain and four wheel drive vehicles over the weekend and will not be used during the race. The 50K skiers will do 2 loops of the 25K course. The exact distances will be announced later, however both races will probably end up being shortened somewhat.

We will continue to work on the course between now and race day with work details shoveling snow on the thin spots, and the groomers continuing to break up the ice base. As of now we will probably not be able to set a very good classic track and any skiers that have signed up for the classic race will be allowed to switch to freestyle if they wish with no cost or penalty.

Parking at Timber Ridge is limited. Whenever possible, please carpool with other skiers or have friends or family drop you off at Timber Ridge. We will use both their buildings for warm-up, registration, etc. Bathrooms will be available inside with porta johns outside the buildings.  

Packet pick up on Friday will still take place at the NMC Hagerty Center at 715 E. Front St. (just east of the Holiday Inn, across the street from McDonalds and KFC.). The hours are Noon to 10:00PM. The Vasa pasta will also be held at the Hagerty Center from 5-8PM prepared by and benefiting the NMC Culinary Arts Department. Dinner will include fresh pasta with choice of sauces, fresh bread, a salad, water or lemonade. The price is $8.00 per person for all you can eat. Everyone is invited to the pasta dinner. We will also have the Vasa Awards Party at the Hagerty Center starting at 5:30pm on Saturday. Food and drink will be available for a nominal cost.

For those of you who are skeptical here is a unsolicited quote on the trail conditions provided by Milan Baic after skiing the trail today after grooming.

“I just returned from skiing the Vasa 25km loop from Timber Ridge.  I give you my take on the conditions as objectively as I can.

I would say that at least 95% of the trail is in very good to excellent condition (consistent snow with complete coverage).  The remaining 5% is thin with a mixture of light snow on top of an ice base but still providing coverage.  I encountered zero(!) downhill sections with any dangerous or even marginal conditions.  The hillier sections are actually some of the best sections at this point.  The one section of some concern is the powerline right before entering the Headwaters section.  Hopefully you will be going straight down Headwaters to the fence and up the normal 2 km hill. The side hill option  at this powerline is not skiable at this time.

I would not hesitate to use GOOD skis as of today.  The snow at Timber Ridge is probably the least consistent, with a fair amount of ice showing through. Fortunately this area would be the least difficult to improve with some added snow (shoveling or dumped).”

We will continue to send updates out daily. You can also check our website ( ) which is being updated several times a day. There will also be updates daily in the Traverse City Record Eagle and on many of the local TV and radio stations.

Jim Dombrowski
Vasa News