The Great Ski Race!   Leave a comment

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By Tim Hauserman

After a few rough years when it was cancelled due to lake of snow, The Great Ski Race is set to roll once again on March 6th. The largest cross-country ski race in the western United States usually draws around 1000 skiers who take on the challenging 30 kilometer course from Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area near Tahoe City to The Cottonwood Lodge above downtown Truckee.

The race attracts everyone from world class racers who chew up the course in just over an hour, to those who have the simple goal of enjoying the views and crossing the line before the cut off time. In-between is a huge mass of local and out of town skiers who are doing their best to beat their friends, or their personal bests.

The race’s first wave of top seeded racers leaves at 9:00 am, with more waves hitting the trail every few minutes after. The route follows the Yellow, Green and Orange trails of Tahoe XC, before starting to climb in earnest up to the Fiberboard Freeway. Now a long steady uphill brings the racers to Soup Station One, at about 12 kilometers from the start. Then it gets interesting: A series of long downhills, some quite steep and rutted by the time the later racers get there, interspersed with a few short uphills. The last kilometer is a narrow fast downhill followed by the Big Hill just above the finish line which is the steepest part of the course and provides boundless entertainment for those who have already finished. Once the finish line is crossed the party begins with food, drink and merriment.

 

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The Great Ski Race is the major annual fundraiser for the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team. These are the folks who go out in a blizzard in the middle of the night to rescue those who are lost. They have a remarkable record of bringing folks back to their loved ones, as well as carry out a valuable program of education on winter survival to local children. For more information on the TNSAR check out this article:

Mountain heroes · Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue

For information on the race go to thegreatskirace.com

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