The Great Nordeen Race has a rich history dating back over 75 years.
Emil Nordeen emigrated to the U.S. from Sweden in the 1920’s, working in a lumber mill in Klamath Falls, before moving to Bend. Emil regularly participated in the epic Nordic races around Crater Lake, finally winning the ardourous event in 1931. Imagine 75 km on 15 lb skis with no set track. Nordeen’s legacy is honored in the race, which bears his name, held annually in Bend for many years.
The race has traditionally been a classic event, run on the trails at Mt. Bachelor. This year, with the vision of Ben Husaby and Chuck Kenlan of the Mt. Bachelor Ski Education Foundation, and the support of Tumalo Langlauf Ski Club, Mt. Bachelor and dozens of sponsors and volunteers, the race took on a different dimension. Modeled after the popular Boulder Mountain Tour in Sun Valley, the 2003 Nordeen was a point-to-point freestyle event. Starting with a brief uphill in front of the Alpine Lodge at Mt. Bachelor, the route followed forest service roads, finishing near the Wanoga Snow-park some 36 kms later.
The grooming was superb, double-wide autobahn style, save for a small section of sno-mobile route where, while adequately wide to ski, was a bit too tight for the large grooming machine. The course dropped some 1600′, much of it in the first and last few kms.
Overcast skies and just below freezing temperatures greeted the 200 starters. Justin Wadsworth set a blistering pace, and was virtually out of sight within minutes. Behind the three-time Olympian, the first chase group of 5 zipped past the 15 km mark in under 30 minutes. Long pace lines of exhilarated skiers ensued.
The road â€˜crossing’ consisted of a tunnel, akin to the trails at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. The only real climb came about 10 km from the finish up Wanoga Butte. A steady grade for 3km offered the perfect place to apply some intense V2 alternate and split apart the many groups. The final kms were all downhill, pure joy to those with fast skis. The combination I chose of Solda HP05 over F20 (a.k.a. F15) orange, over a base of FC27 had superb glide, especially at the end.
The 2003 Great Nordeen was a huge success, a truly fun and popular event. It has â€˜great’ potential to become a major event on the western U.S. xc calendar.
Justin Wadsworth won the overall race. Suzanne King was the first female finisher.
Dan Packman has lived in Bend for 10 years. He often skis at sunrise, before heading off to work. Dan finished 2nd overall in the 2003 Great Nordeen Race.