On Sunday evening I enjoyed a very nice dinner with eight of the Master Championship participants and some non-racing spouses at this weeks Masters in Marquette, Michigan. We had a big table at the old, stylish Landmark Inn in the historic downtown of Marquette.
The â€œwarâ€ stories were many and included (of course): missed the wax in so and so race, out-smarted that really smart/good ski racer (that no one else had heard about), drove off with the wrong rental car (wrong car and company) and discovered it the next day and many more â€œclassicsâ€. Time flew fast, but I got a chance to ask some of the West coast skiers why they travel this far to compete at Masters
Per Johnson – age category 55-59
I have enjoyed ski racing for many years. I skied in the first ever Birkie in 1973. I placed in the middle of the pack of the roughly 40 (!) participants that year. It was really cold the first two years. We skied from Hayward to Telemark and it was —5 Fahrenheit or so. The course wasn’t marked well and we were given maps so we wouldn’t get lost. We put the maps in our pants to help us stay warm.
I also did the race a few years later when Ozzie Nordheim, along with 300 Norwegian skiers that came over on a Charter plane, took off 10 minutes before the official start. I was running to the start-line when the entire field went off. No one could stop them. That’s the fun of ski racing.
I go to Nationals to meet old friend, share stories, race and have fun. I’m doing all four races.
Kent Murdoch age category 40-44
I do this to get away from doing the same old races and courses every year.Â It’s fun to race new faces on new and different courses. You don’t know quite what to expect and that’s part of the fun and challenge. I couldn’t justify being gone for more than the first two races. I have kids and a job, but I enjoyed this weekend.
Dave Bong — age category 55-59
It’s a vacation and mental break from work. It’s a good goal to have and I enjoy the company of friends and competitors. I’m going to many other races this year as well and Masters helps you stay motivated to work out and stay fit.
I’m doing all four races and maybe the Marathon.
Dan Packman — age category 35-39
Break from work, fun to ski new trails and a nice challenge. I might go next year as well.
I’m doing three of the four races plus the Marathon next weekend.