BY DENNIS CHASE
— MANCELONA — All systems are go for next Saturday’s White Pine Stampede.
Race director Jack McKaig is putting out the word, welcoming skiers after some significant snowfall in recent days.
“It was gorgeous (Saturday),” he said of trail and weather conditions. “Hopefully, Saturday will be the same.”
The White Pine, Michigan’s longest-running point-to-point cross country ski race, was canceled a year ago because of unseasonably warm weather.
Although the temperature is expected to jump into the 30s, and possibly low 40s, Tuesday, it’s expected to go back down into the teens and lower 20s the remainder of the week.
McKaig said AccuWeather is predicting a high of 22 next Saturday.
“If we get this warmth (early in the week), I think it (snow) will settle a little bit,” McKaig said. “And then the cold will get at it, and man, if it does, it (trail) will be fast.”
Still, McKaig is checking weather reports constantly to stay on top of it.
“I’ve been following AccuWeather like it’s my bible,” he said. ”I look at it four or five times a day because it changes during the day.”
McKaig said the Shanty Creek portion of the trail is groomed and tracked. The trail that’s on private property has been rolled.
“We’re monitoring the trail according to the weather,” McKaig said. “I guess you could say babying it. Depending on what we get, we’ll react.”
The 37th annual race will feature 40K, 20K and a 10K races that start at Mancelona High School. The 20K and 10K will end at Schuss Village, the 40K concludes at the Summit at Shanty Creek. All races feature classic and freestyle divisions.
The entry fee is $65 for the 40K and 20K races, $35 for the 10K tour. Organizers donate $5 from each skier’s registration to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. More than $92,000 has been generated to date.
Skiers are required to pick up their ski packets prior to the event, either Friday at Shanty Creek Resort or Saturday morning at Mancelona High School. Registration can be completed on-line at www.whitepinestampede.org.
For more information, call 587-8812.