With four inches of new snow falling into the evening Friday the grooming crew headed out on trail around mid-night to groom until 6:00am. While strong winds made conditions even more challenging for the groomers, their efforts were greatly appreciated by nearly 800 racers who took part in the festivities of the 35th Annual North American Vasa.
In addition some changes to the start format this year, the course was altered to include “Riley’s Loop” which was named in honor of former junior Nordic coach Riley Messer II who passed away in September.
The men’s 50km freestyle was won by Jeff Koch of Elk Rapid, Michigan in a time of 2:26:12. Milan Baic (Williamsburg, MI) took home the second place honors in a time of 2:30:56 and Dan Peckman (Bend, OR) climbed the last step of the podium in a time of 2:32.20.
In the ladies’ 50km freestyle race Amy Powell of Lake Ann, Michigan took home the first place title in 2:50:41. Traverse City, Michigan’s Mary Kuhn (3:15:29) and Fern Spence (3:15:55) took second and third respectively.
In the 27km freestyle race Andrew Nadler (Chicago, IL) finished in a time of 1:25:21 to best Ryan Halstead (Grayling, MI), who finished in time of 1:25:39 and Clifford Onthank (Traverse City, MI) who came across the finish line in a time of 1:26:03 for third place. The ladies’ 27km freestyle race was won by Cassidy Edwards (Cedar, MI) in a time of 1:31:18 with Laura Webb (Traverse City, MI) in 1:34:28 and Susan Vigland (Traverse City, MI) in 1:41:32 placing second and third respectively.
The 12km men’s freestyle race was won by Evan Cover (Traverse City, MI) in 38:19 and Lauren Pflughoeft (Traverse City, MI) took home the ladies’ title in 51:41.
In the 50km classical race Rob Fox (Negaunee, MI) bested Randal Bladel (Granger, IN) by nearly seven minutes to capture the top step of the podium. Tomas Linden (Stevensville) was third in a time of 3:11:22.
In the ladies’ race it was Lorraine Lund (Harbor Springs, MI) in a time of 4:28:07 that claimed first. Susan Easlick (Benzonia, MI) and Sara Cockrell (Grawn, MI) took second and third respectively.
Jukka Lyly-Yrjanainen (Elk Grove Village, IL) was first across the line in the men’s 27km classical race in a time of 1:40:18 just nine seconds faster than Jim Harrington (Petoskey, MI). Sean Kelly (South Bend, IN) was third in a time of 1:47:56.
In the ladies’ 27km classical race Marnie Sutter (Cedar, MI) was first to finish in 2:24:19 with Carole Mueller-Brumbaugh (Grayling, MI) in second and Kerri Finlayson (Petoskey, MI) in third.
The 12km men’s classical race was won by Charles Needham (Traverse City, MI) in a time of 1:01: 15 with Kennedy Cullen (Traverse City, MI) taking the ladies’ title in 1:04:19.
A Great Event
When asked what makes the North American Vasa such a great choice with so many ski races to choose from in the Midwest, Pete LaPlaca, President of the North American Vasa state, “people tell us we’re a no hassle Birkie, you can park right near the trails, don’t have to take a shuttle and the start and finish are just a 30 second ski from the lodge.”