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Monday, February 15, 2010

Sons of Norway, KNSC host successful Barneløpet Ski Race

A photo essay by Michele and Gustavo Bourdieu

During the recent Third Annual 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 this year. Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos by Keweenaw Now, unless otherwise indicated.)

HANCOCK -- The Third Annual Sons of Norway Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski Race attracted about 70 young skiers and a number of supportive parents, some of whom skied with their kids, on Feb. 7 at Maasto Hiihto Trails in Hancock.

Parents and kids prepare for the Barneløpet Cross-Country Ski Race at Maasto Hiihto Trails on Feb. 7. Ski waxing is provided at left.

Barneløpet skiers practice a few runs before the races begin. (Videoclips by Keweenaw Now)

"We had a good turnout," said John Diebel, Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club Board member and treasurer and one of the organizers of the race.

Some of the younger participants line up for the start of the Barneløpet races.

The Barneløpet, a Norwegian word meaning "the children’s race," welcomed youth ages three through 17 and their families. The non-competitive event was sponsored by Sons of Norway Ulseth Lodge 5-670, Portage Health, the City of Hancock and the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club (KNSC).

Skiers line up near the Maasto Hiihto Chalet as the six-kilometer race is about to start.

"Thanks to all the volunteers, the event was a success again this year," said Wayne Stordahl, Sons of Norway Ulseth Lodge president.

This year a new event was added -- a challenging six-kilometer course, which descends into the gorge and follows the scenic river trail along the stream.

Skiers head toward the river trail during the six-kilometer race. (Photo © and courtesy John Diebel. Reprinted with permission.)

Barneløpet skiers follow the river trail during the new six-kilometer course through the gorge at Maasto Hiihto. (Videoclip by Keweenaw Now)

For more novice skiers, relatively easy one-, two-, and four-kilometer freshly groomed striding courses were available for both youth and adults.

A young skier heads toward the finish line.

Although the races were non-competitive, awards were given to those with the best times: Ethel Karinen for the 1-k race, with a time of 6:42; Heidi Karinen for the 2-k, with 11:26; Sal Sharp for the 4-k, with 19:45; and Pete Karinen for the 6-k river trail ski, with 24:13.

"Who needs poles?" This little guy seems to be doing just fine without them as he heads for the finish line.

In addition, all youth who finished their course received a colorful Norwegian Olympic-style enameled medallion.

The Sons of Norway 2010 Barneløpet medallion was awarded to each skier who completed a course in the race.

Skiers were treated to cookies and hot chocolate or coffee, thanks to volunteers who braved the cold to serve the large numbers of participants outside the chalet.

Yum! Nothing like cookies and hot chocolate to warm up after a race!

After the race, a group of advanced young skiers received special travel scholarships from KNSC to help them qualify for the Junior Olympics.

Following the Barneløpet races, these skiers each received a generous scholarship check from KNSC for travel expenses to help them qualify for the Junior Olympics: Pictured, from left, front row, are Ruth Oppliger, Emily Humes and Emily Oppliger; back row, from left, Elias Featherly and Kai Sharp. (Photo © and courtesy John Diebel. Reprinted with permission.)

Watch for a slide show with more photos of the 2010 Barneløpet, coming soon!

For more information about the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club, visit their Web site.

Sons of Norway is an international organization promoting Norwegian traditions, fraternal fellowship, and cultural learning in the United States, Canada and Norway. Local Sons of Norway lodge activities may include language camps, scholarships, handcrafts, cooking and cultural classes, heritage and sports awards programs, travel opportunities and the monthly Viking Magazine. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., Sons of Norway was founded in 1895.

Visit for more information about the local chapter of Sons of Norway.

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