Fabulous conditions greeted racers in this year's North American Vasa. Great snow all year and some fresh snow over night made the course very skiable.
Two Marquette skiers took the top honors in the 50K freestyle. In the men's 50K Freestyle, Marquette's Andy Liebner took the victory in 2:23:20, ahead of Traverse City's Benjamin Lannin (2:28:49). Jeff Koch, also of Traverse City, was third in 2:29:29.
Marquette skier Angela Palomaki (2:53:10) was the top women. Amy Wichern of Lake Ann, who bonked mightily during the race, finished second in 3:02:11, in front of Debbie Mizikowski (3:09:13).
No 50K classic event was held this year.
In the 27k Freestyle, uber-star Milan Baic of Williamsburg won in 1:17:46, a minute and a half ahead of Nick Johnson from Toledo (1:19:23. Tyler Jenema of Marquette arrived third in 1:22:43. Baic had won the previous week's White Pine Stampede 40K - his 10th victory in that event.
In the women's freestyle, Joan Rudman topped the podium in 1:32:48. Traverse City's Susan Vigland was second in 1:34:13, with Ann Arbor's Cheryl Darnton in third in 1:38:51. Like Milan Baic, Darnton had also won the previous week's White Pine Stampede 40K.
The lack of a 50K classic event put all the fast classic the 27K classic division, making for a very competitive race, and the closest finishes of the day. The top three male skiers were just 4 seconds apart after sprinting the last 2 kilometers to the finish. Across the line first was Granger's Randy Bladell in 1:42:00. Jim Harrington from Petoskey was just 2 seconds back in 1:42:02, with Rob Fox of Negaunee third in 1:42:04.
Kathy Cook-Dowd from Cedar was the top 27K Classic woman, easily beating out second and third place finishers Sara Cockrell and Amy Kostrzewa. Cook-Dowd finished in 2:05:17; Cockrell and Kostrzewa finished in 2:20:12 and 2:23:09.
In the 12K Men's Freestyle, Even Cover, Greg Brown and James Paddin finished 1-2-3 in 38:35, 41:15 and 41:21 respectively.
Hilde Gronvold was the top 12K Freestyle woman. finishing first in 43:51. Marie Frick and Hannah Meacham were second and third in 44:06 and 49:31.
In the classic race, Barryy O'Brien, Ken Roth, and Mark Koschman finished on the men's podium in 1:03:48, 1:07:46, and 1:08:32.
For the women, Kennedy Culler was first in 1:08:49. Linda McInally took second in 1:20:20, just a little ahead of Alyssa Padden (1:10:59).