Bayfield, Wis. (Jan. 24, 2024) — The 18th annual Ashwabay Summit Nordic Ski Race will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2024, and will showcase some of the most scenic segments of the 43k network of skate and classic cross-country ski trails at Mt. Ashwabay.
“We are expecting a big turnout this year because other races have been canceled, and skiers are eager to get out on the trails!” said Race Director Kate Ullman. Mt. Ashwabay opened all of its Nordic trails on January 20th, offering skiers the chance to ski on natural snow, a rarity so far this winter.
The course climbs through mature stands of maple, hemlock and birch to top out with views of Lake Superior. Then comes a long descent down the south side of the ridge to finish at the chalet. New this year, the race has added more options for citizen racers. Skiers can choose to compete in 15k or 30k events and can choose the classic or skate technique in each. Another
“We love the festive atmosphere of the Summit Race. It is really great to host so many visiting skiers and introduce them to our trails. And it is super impressive to witness the skill level of the top racers, as well as the sheer joy of the youth participants,” said Doug Olson, outdoor recreation program director of Mt. Ashwabay.
Skiers can also choose the skiathlon, a format that has gained in popularity and was featured as a Nordic event at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. After one lap on the course using classic skis, competitors switch to the skate technique. There are only a few opportunities to compete in this unique event in the Midwest.
“The Summit race is so fun because of the small-town feeling, the unique chance to do a skiathlon, and getting to ski on the Ashwabay nordic trails, which are some of the best in the area,” said Ketzel Levens, who grew up in Bayfield, skied for the UW-Madison nordic ski team, and now travels from Duluth to participate in the race.
In addition to citizen races, the Northern Conference middle (3.5K) and high school (7.5K) races will take place starting at 9:00 a.m. This is the home race for our local 4-H CANSKI middle school team, and high school varsity Chequamegon Area Nordic team.
There will also be a college division. The unique opportunity to do a skiathon race means that the college division has grown quickly, well over 100 skiers from colleges across the midwest are expected to participate in this conference event for The Midwest Collegiate Ski Association.
The day will culminate with an outdoor awards ceremony, including age group awards, as well as pies for the overall winners. New this year, all skiers will get a slice of pie, thanks to generous local sponsors and community bakers.
Youth and college racers must pre-register with their team, or they can register individually online if they are not part of a team. Citizen racers can register online.
All funds raised benefit the non-profit host of the event, Mt. Ashwabay, and support youth programs, and Nordic grooming operations.
Register today to enjoy edible prizes, scenic skiing trails, and a great community event. Or consider volunteering to help make the race a success. For additional information about the race see our website, https://ashwabaysummitskirace.com/.
A special thanks to our sponsors for making this event happen: Peak Sponsors: Edmunds and Company, Howl Adventure Center, Black Cat Coffee Shop, and Sharptail Construction. Northern Lights Sponsors: Madeline Island Ferry Line, Adventure Us, Full Keel Coffee, and Honest Dog Books. Pie provided by local bakers, as well as CoCo’s Cafe, Ashland Baking Company, The Fat Radish, Harbour House Sweets, and the Northland College Food Center. Thanks also to individual sponsors Donn and Ann Christensen, John and Megan Boyle.