St. Paul, Minnesota
Per K. Johnsen
South Colby, Washington
Kongsberger Ski Club
An unusual winter with little snow added a great deal of uncertainty and worry for the organizers of the 2005 National Masters Cross Country ski races. The original venue of Battle Creek looked for a while to have good conditions for the races, but a couple of warm days ruined those plans. But with optimism, good cheer, and skill the committee moved the races to St. Cloud, an hour northwest of the Twin Cities, and to Trollhaugen Alpine area right across the Wisconsin border. And they provided great racing and challenging courses.
The first event, the 20/30 k classic race, took place at the Greystone Ski Trails in the orchards and wooded hills near the Minnesota State Reformatory in St. Cloud. The snow cover was thin, but the track was in excellent shape. The course consisted of a fairly flat 5k loop through the orchard area, and a 5k loop in hilly wooden terrain. The hills were short and steep. Racers completed 1 Â½, 2, or 3 laps, depending on the distance of their event. Temperatures held below freezing we had dry corn snow. Most participants used hard wax for kick, although some tried klister, with less success. In all 144 skiers completed the race, which included 30 women. The organizing committee had provided for excellent facilities, including a warm place to get inside, quick results, and awards ceremony. Given the required change of location, the opening race was a roaring success.