Many athletes out on the Michigan Tech Trails enjoyed two non-race days amidst sunny skies and warmer temps, at least compared to last year’s U.S. nationals event, also in Houghton.
The dramatic difference in weather led racers like Alaska Pacific University’s Reese Hanneman, the winner of Monday’s 1.5 k freestyle sprint, to describe it as “paradise.”
While the initial three-day trek for some racers, coaches and techs to arrive in Houghton is perhaps worthwhile with the promise of sun, it is also the present state of the trails that drew these individuals to the event.
“My favorite part about Houghton, Michigan is the [area’s] ski trails,” said University of Denver skier Taeler McCrerey.
This week, much of McCrerey’s and other competitors’ time on snow and the ski trails is largely thanks to the area’s community volunteers.
“It’s all part of building community,” Shane Sullivan, a local and volunteer race starter for the U.S. nationals races this week in Houghton, said on Monday during the freestyle sprint. “It’s as much the community camaraderie as it is putting on the event.”