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Great Race Sunday

JEREMY MORRISON, Sun News Service

Whether they’re striving for blur status, or gliding along at an easy feel-good pace, the key word at the Great Race is “fun.”

“It’s a good race with a good party afterwards,” explained Doug Read, of the 25th Annual Great Ski Race. “It’s an old-time favorite for locals as well as out-of-towners.”

Stretching from Tahoe City to Truckee, the cross-country course is 18 miles of schussing ecstasy. Beginning at the Tahoe City Nordic Center, the trail works its way over Stirrup Pass, between Mt. Watson and Mt. Pluto, through Deer Creek and then onwards to the finish line at Cottonwood Restaurant.

“It’s kind of a grueling course,” said Read, an organizer of the silver anniversary event.

Though the race is open to everyone and their uncle, it is suggested that cross-country virgins sit the event out.

Approximately 800 racers are expected to turn out for the jaunt through north Tahoe.

“It wouldn’t be a surprise to go to 900,” Read said. “Talk around town is it may even be bigger this year.”

In addition to growing in size, The Great Ski Race has also grown in stature. According to Read, the event is considered one of the best of its sort and is beginning to attract “big name racers.”

Along with change in number and demographic, the event’s course itself has gone through some incarnations.

In its infancy, the race’s course was etched by skiers hauling homemade tracks behind them. Over time the course began its courtship with the groomer. Presently, Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area grooms the first half of the course and Northstar-at-Tahoe has taken command of the second half.

“With the advent of skating, we’ve definitely had to up the ante with the grooming,” Read said.

This year The Great Ski Race is scheduled for 9 a.m. March 4. Entry fees are $29 in advance and $34 the day of the race.

“It’s not a good idea to sign up race day morning,” Read advises. There’s a chance you’ll be standing in line when the gun goes off.”

Racers will meet at the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area on Saturday morning.

The money raced through The Great Ski Race goes to fund the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team. According to Read, the event usually raises approximately $8,000 to $10,000 for the group.

“It gets spent,” he said, explaining that the money is used to purchase new equipment, pay for volunteer training and fund educational school programs.

The Great Race

– Sunday, March 4

– 30-km event

– Starts 9 a.m. at Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area in Tahoe City

– Ends at Cottonwood Restaurant, Truckee

– Sponsored by Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue

– Fees: $29 in advance, $34 day of race

– Register: Form online at http://www.tahoenordicscar. com or pick up at the ski area

– Info: Call 583-5475


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