MARQUETTE - With the help of recent snowfall, the 2013 Noquemanon Ski Marathon will be run as planned this weekend.
The course for the 50-kilometer races has anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of snow from its beginning at Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming through Forestville, but dwindles down to 1 inch in the city of Marquette, said Nicole Dewald, Noquemanon race coordinator.
"After the recent snowfall the director toured the track and decided to haul in snow," Dewald said. "We're hauling in snow for the last 4K from the Superior Dome and area communities that have clean snow."
Paul Watters of Marquette bikes along the Noquemanon trail near Marquette County Road 550 during the 2012 race. This year’s Noquemanon Ski Marathon is set for Saturday and Sunday and will feature several new races, including a 50K snow bike race that covers the entire Noquemanon trail from the Al Quaal recreation Area to the Superior Dome in marquette. (Journal file photo by Matt Keiser)
The trails are being groomed and will be ready by Friday, Dewald said. With the recent thaw and then deep-freeze, a layer of ice formed on top of the dirt and the trail has to be built up to cover it, but the Dewald said she is optimistic about the weather this weekend.
"The upcoming weather looks great and we're thankful for the cold weather," Dewald said. "Unfortunately, the colder weather will make the course slower, so there probably won't be any record breaking finishes."
Even though record times won't be set, one record is expected to be. Last year, the Noquemanon had about 1,500 participants and Dewald said she expects that number to be surpassed. With online registration ending at midnight on Wednesday, there were about 1,442 participants signed up. According to Dewald, about 100 more people are expected to register on Friday.
"The reason why people participate in events like this is because they want to get outside or have set goals for themselves," Dewald said. "It's a point where our community does something together and something to be proud of."
In addition, there are several new races that were added to this year's Noquemanon. Included is what is being billed as the Noquemanon World Champion Snow Bike race, which will cover the full 50K course beginning at noon Saturday.
Also new this year are a 300-meter and 500-meter adaptive ski, 24K and 12K snow bike and a 10K snowshoe races. Racers participating in any of these events will have a crowd of volunteers cheering them on throughout the course, Dewald said.
"The race committee would like to thank the community," she said. "It's an event that fosters economic development, health and community service."
Registration and packet pick-up is scheduled for 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Superior Dome. For more information and a list of events visit www.noquemanon.com.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.