During the 2010 Sons of Norway Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski Race, a young skier heads down the river trail in the gorge at Maasto Hiihto. The six-kilometer race along the river was a new addition to the Barneløpet last year. Click on photos for larger versions. (File photos by Keweenaw Now)
HANCOCK -- The Sons of Norway Ulseth Lodge 5-670 invites area youth and their families to the 4th annual Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski race from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Maasto Hiihto cross-country ski trails. Registration will begin at 1 p.m. at the Hancock Chalet in the Houghton County Fairgrounds.
Parents and kids prepare for last year's Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski Race at Maasto Hiihto Trails. Ski waxing is provided at left.
The Barneløpet, a Norwegian word meaning "the children's race" and pronounced "bar NEE lop it," is FREE and open to youth ages three through 17 and their families. Parents are encouraged to ski with their children if they wish.
The event is sponsored by Sons of Norway, Portage Health, the City of Hancock, and the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC).
"This is a special day for youth and their families to spend some time skiing and having fun together," says Wayne Stordahl, president of the local chapter of Sons of Norway. "Cross-country skiing is a popular family activity in Norway, and we want to encourage that here too."
Some of the younger participants and parents line up for the start of the 2010 Barneløpet races.
Stordahl adds that a second reason for hosting the Barneløpet is to spotlight the great cross-country trails in Hancock. He says the the KNSC maintains and grooms over 26 kilometers of "striding" ski trails, with financial assistance from the City of Hancock, membership dues and volunteers.
In February 2008, Wayne Stordahl, left, of Hancock, a member of the Sons of Norway, organized the first Barneløpet race, assisted by KNSC's Jay Green of Houghton, who also made the chili. This is the fourth year the Sons of Norway and KNSC are organizing the race.
The KNSC will groom four courses for this event. Relatively easy one-, two- and four-kilometer courses will be set, as well as a more difficult six-kilometer course, which descends into the gorge and follows the stream. Skiers can "stride" any of the four courses.
The non-competitive family ski race is free, with a suggested free-will donation of $3 per skier or $5 per family.
Yum! Cookies and hot chocolate after the race -- thanks to volunteers!
All youth who finish their course will be awarded a colorful Norwegian Olympic-style enameled medallion. Skiers will also be treated to cookies and hot chocolate after they finish.
Click here for a Barneløpet registration form.
For additional info, contact Wayne Stordahl at 906-482-0292 or visit www.NLC-Calumet.org/SON.