The Noquemenon Ski Marathon starts at the Al Quall Ski Recreation Area in Ishpeming, Michigan, and winds through beautiful forests and hills for 30 miles until ending at the Superior Dome on the campus of Northern Michigan University (NMU) in Marquette, MI.
The 50K classic event is the featured event for the American Ski Marathon Series and the FIS North American Marathon Cup.
Andrew Johnson (Steinbock Racing) won the men’s event and Hilary Patzer (Rossignol) won the women’s race.
Johnson had nothing but praise for the “Noque” in his recent article on kick-double pole technique, saying, “The terrain, excellent snow, technical and demanding trails, and the one-of-a-kind U.P. scenery all combine to create a memorable weekend.”
Johnson also wrote that although the conditions were great, the snow was very abrasive, and “even with green klister binder the talk in the front pack of the race was all about how long our kick would last.”
“ Fortunately,” added Johnson, “most of the climbing on the Noque course happens in the first 25 kilometers of the race, and the second half of the course is much flatter, with significant elevation loss. It’s quite possible to double pole almost all of the second half of the race (if you have to!), making good classic kick a little less important.”
Johnson, who finished with a time of 2:27:13 was followed across the finish line less than a minute later by Bjorn Batdorf of Minneapolis, MN who clocked 2:28:04. Andy Leibner of Anchorage, AK, finished third, in 2:28:26.
Hilary Patzer and Lindsey Dehlin, both of whom had raced for NMU and skied on the trail many times during their college careers, battled for first. It was Patzer, with a time of 2:59:11, who crossed the finish line first. Dehlin, who now lives in Marquette and had the current home-course advantage, finished 42 seconds later. Kelly Killicorn or Winona, MN rounded out the podium with a time of 3:06:59.