Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

February 7, 2014

Conditions perfect for Vasa

TRAVERSE CITY — Veteran marathon skier Bill Greene called Vasa trail conditions “almost perfect” Thursday, two days before the 38th annual two-day Vasa Festival of Races at Timber Ridge Resort.

“The track is stomped down,” he said. “It’s like concrete. It’s fast.

“The deer have been running on top of the track and even with their hard hooves they’re not breaking through the crust. I’ve never seen that. Usually, we’ll see indentations two to three inches deep. But it’s so solid the deer are staying on top of it.”

That’s quite a change from past years when officials wondered if there would be enough snow on race day.

“These are the best ski conditions we’ve had in at least a decade,” Pete LaPlaca, Vasa president, said.

“The course is bulletproof. We were just walking on it (Thursday), making sure the aide stations were OK, and you couldn’t even see our footprints. It’s real fast. Everybody is going nuts over how good the conditions are.”

About 750 to 800 skiers are expected to compete in classic and freestyle races this weekend. In addition, a fat bike race will make its Vasa debut Saturday afternoon.

Temperatures are expected to be in the teens Saturday morning.

“The forecast looks good for the next two to three days,” LaPlaca said. “I heard we could get up to two inches of snow, but we don’t need it. It (trail) can’t get any better. They’re grooming every morning and they’ll be grooming through the night (tonight).”

The 50K classic skiers will be the first on the course, taking off at 8 a.m., with 17 waves to follow throughout the day. The 50K skiers will do two laps since Riley’s Loop will not be in use.

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