Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

February 9, 2014

Vasa skiers contend with bitter cold

TRAVERSE CITY — Vasa skiers were greeted with a wintry surprise Saturday morning — sub-zero temperatures.

“I was at Bunker Hill at 7 a.m. to drop something off and it was 12 below,” Vasa president Pete LaPlaca said. “I was giving out hand-warmers, foot warmers to all the volunteers. It was brutal.”

It was reportedly 10 below at Jack Pine valley, one of the landmark locations on the course.

Organizers didn’t expect it to be quite that cold.

“Not all,” LaPlaca said. “They were predicting a low of 7 to 8 with a high of 21. Thank God for the sun.”

WESTPHAL INJURED: It was a tough day for Traverse City’s Deb Westphal.

The Traverse City skier went down with an injury early in her race.

“I heard it was a double compound fracture below her knee,” LaPlaca said. “I’m not sure exactly how it happened. But it was nasty.

“She’s one of the best cyclists and skiers in the state in her age (group). She’s a heck of an athlete, and a really nice person. You hate to see something like that happen.”

The accident occurred on the first lap.

“That’s where a lot of the accidents happen,” LaPlaca said. “Everybody is all geared up. They’re cold. Everybody is all together. That’s why we ask them to double-pole for the first 300 meters.”

FOOTBALL TO SKIING: Elk Rapids football coach Ed Schindler finished the 27K freestyle in 1:57:39.

He’s in his third year of cross country skiing.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s such a great workout. It’s a great way to embrace winter.

“And everyone out here is so healthy. The camaraderie is great.”

Schindler’s wife, Amy, skied the 12K freestyle, finishing in 1:10.52.

The two did the White Pine Stampede last weekend — as did middle son Peyton.

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