By Karen Jenkins
On Saturday, January 29, 2022, a field of 77 classic skiers toed the line to stride and glide 30km in the annual Tour of Meissner just outside Bend, OR. While Bend is known as host to the US Ski Team spring training camp on the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center ski trails there are other groomed Nordic ski trails in the greater Bend area. The Meissner Nordic Community Ski Trails are located entirely within the Deschutes National Forest and operate under a grooming agreement with the United States Forest Service (USFS). Partnering together for over 20 years, Meissner Nordic Ski Club and the USFS provide winter recreation to cross-country skiers and snowshoers. The 47 km of groomed ski trails and snowshoe trails start at Virginia Meissner Sno-Park, located west of Bend on Cascade Lakes Highway near mile marker 14.
The Tour of Meissner follows a meandering 30 km loop of rolling terrain between 5,000 feet and topping out at almost 6,000’. The longest climb was just over 3 km long, and purportedly one of the hills used by Canadian Olympic gold medalist Beckie Scott during her training for the Salt Lake City Olympics. With both steep-n-punchy and gentle-n-gradual climbs totaling 2,000 vertical feet, the uphill efforts were rewarded with fast and flowing descents.
Racers started in waves, with the first wave reserved for wooden skis. Tour of Meissner event organizer and volunteer extraordinaire David Smullin raced in this category and had exceptionally good grip by using start grip tape as a binder covered with Guru Extreme Klister. Well-known local Bend racer and World Masters competitor Mary Wellington raced to first place in the women’s division. Overall winner Peter Tiernan divulged his training success, “I just ski as hard as I can for as long as I can as often as I can”. He works winters at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center just up the road from the Meissner Sno-Park and guides raft trips in Alaska in the summer.
Supported by a strong team of dedicated volunteers and local Bend based businesses the Tour of Meissner is an event worth heading to Bend for. Many thanks to the volunteers of the Meissner Nordic Ski Club for organizing this 30 km classic race.
About the author: Karen Jenkins teaches skiing at the Mt Hood Meadows Nordic Center. She says, “My suggestion for a future Tour of Meissner is to add another 10 -20km option and make the event a Birkie qualifier.”