It's time for the Grand Rapids Nordic Ski Team's two big fall events, the Flatbeiner and Super Flatbeiner, so hurry up and get in a couple of roller skis before the ultimate test of ski-racer integrity and fortitude.
These events will challenge the endurance rollerskier with distances up to and over 80K. But because the courses are out and back, you can do whatever distance you're comfortable with.
The Flatbeiner - Sunday, Oct 30, 9:00am
The Flatbeiner has moved from the Hart-Montague Trail to the White Pine Trail. Rollerski 50K or more on smooth, wide pavement. Steve Smigiel says the Hart-Montague Trail - the old site for the Flatbeiner - is too rough and, besides, the Muskegon guys don't show up so why drive that far. Seriously, the White Pine Trail is a very nice trial - both smooth and wide. Snowmobiles are not allowed.
Meet at the gravel parking lot at the 5/3 (1 and 2/3) Ball Park off of US 131. Simple take the exit at West River Drive and drive into the ball park, thru the stop light and find a gravel parking lot on the left. The White Pine Trail runs right through here and that is the venue for the Flatbeiner.
We will most likely head south from the parking lot to the end at Ann Street, then back north to the end at about 14.5 Mile and then back to the start point again. Young Steve has offered to lead an adventurous band on side excursions if needed or wanted.
The Super Flatbeiner, Sunday , Nov 6, 9:00am
The second big event! Rollerski on a great trail for up to 83.2K! Some skiers will do the whole thing, others won't. Ski out as far as you want then turn around and come back. Sometimes Muskegon folks start in Muskegon and meet us at the halfway point. Slackers have to provide the beer for the rest of us!
Meet at the east terminal parking lot of the Musquetawa Trail. Take I96 to exit just East of Marne - 8th Avenue. Turn North to the stop sign which is Eighth Avenue - Turn left and follow around to Trail head. 26 miles one way
Musketawa Trail is flat, wide and only slightly rough from snowmobile traffic. They sweep it every few days though. Ravenna is halfway and there is a grocery store within a 1/4 mile of the trail head. Conklin is about 7 miles from Marne and there is a little party store by the Feed Mill and Irish Bar (unfortunately not open on Sundays).
There are GRNST events, but other skiers are welcome to ski at their own risk.