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New Keweenaw Nordic Ski Festival

Tue, Dec  22, 2009 - By Dean Woodbeck

A half-marathon and quarter-marathon, covering the length and breadth of the Michigan Tech trail system, will highlight a new weekend-long Library Restaurant Keweenaw Nordic Skiing Festival, January 16-17, in Houghton and Chassell.

The festival will also include a skijor race (one dog or two – your choice) on the Tech Trails dog loops and Pilgrim Road trails on Saturday, January 16, and the 42nd running of the Copper Island Classic in Chassell on Sunday, January 17.

Ambitious skiers can compete in the Paradise Pursuit, which includes the 13km race on Saturday and 10km race on Sunday. Complete details for all of these events, and registration, is available at www.keweenawtrails.com/KeweenawNordic/

The festival kicks off on Saturday, January 16, with the Copper Loppet. This race offers the choice of 13 or 26 kilometers using many of the new trails introduced at Michigan Tech last year. Skiers will start at the main trailhead and ski one or two loops of the race course.

On a different part of the Tech Trails, enthusiasts have the choice of the one-dog (5 km) or two-dog (10 km) TalviTohinat Skijor race.

Skiers will rendezvous in Chassell on Sunday, January 17, for the annual Copper Island Classic. This classic-only race includes a 2km youth race, and 5km and 10km races on the Chassell Classic Trails. Skiers can choose to race for the gold or participate in the “guess your time” event, in which the person closest to their estimated time wins the title.

The weekend will also feature a qualifying race for the Great Lakes Junior Olympic Team. These skiers, ages 13-19, will ski a 5km or 10km course at the Tech Trails Saturday morning and a 5km or 10km course in Chassell on Sunday.

The Library Restaurant will provide a sumptuous meal for all Copper Loppet, TalviTohinat Skijor, and Junior Olympic qualifier skiers on Saturday. Other race sponsors include Plum Creek, Aspirus Keweenaw, Self-Propelled Communications, Michigan Tech Sports and Recreation and Chassell Recreation. Proceeds will benefit the Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Team and area high school skier competing in the Junior Olympics.

For details and registration, go to www.keweenawtrails.com/KeweenawNordic/