ISHPEMING - The 15th annual Noquemanon Ski Marathon broke record numbers of participants for the second year in a row.
The Noquemanon had more than 1,600 participants sign up for the many events that were held throughout the weekend, which means organizers are doing something right, Noquemanon Race Director Jon Mommaerts said.
"It's a good culture and we're trying to develop a sustainable trail in a place that allows us to, and events like this allow us to do so," Mommaerts said.
Kim Rudd of Plymouth, Minn., rests after finishing the Noquemanon 50K Classic race last weekend. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Just a week before the race it was uncertain that the events would end at the Superior Dome in Marquette due to lack of snow. Then throughout the week it snowed a lot, including on the main race day Saturday, which unfortunately slowed down the trails, Mommaerts said.
"It takes a lot of time to groom all the trails and time to let it harden underneath to make them faster," Mommaerts said. "We just didn't have that time so it slowed the trails down. On Saturday morning it was snowing at about a rate of 2 inches per hour in the west end and that didn't help either."
The other problem with the trail was that because of having so many participants, the last 4 to 5 miles of the trail in Marquette began to break down, Mommaerts said. There was so little snow in Marquette on the trails that snow was brought in to the area from other places.
"We just have to work with the university and city better next year to help try and figure out how to make the trails better with the changing weather patterns we're seeing," Mommaerts said.
Even though there were problems with the trails, Mommaerts said overall the races went well and the several new races such as the adaptive ski and snow bike races had great feedback that the committee will use to make those races even better.
"I would like to just thank the whole community because we have hundreds of people come out and help," Mommaerts said. "It's really a whole community event and the community can be proud."
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.