Great Ski Race to run as scheduled |

Great Ski Race to run as scheduled

File Photo/Courtesy of Gene MurrietaA skier crashes near the finish while almost taking out another skier at the Great Ski Race last year. This years Great Ski Race will be held on Sunday, no matter what kind of weather.

TAHOE CITY Rain, snow or shine, the starting gun will blast as scheduled for the start of the 33rd annual Great Ski Race on Sunday.Weve definitely had worse weather than what theyre predicting. And Great Ski Racers are tough, said Skip Reedy, 65, founder of the race and former owner of Tahoe Cross Country Center then called Tahoe Nordic Center.Each year you just have to roll with the weather punches. You never know.While weather forecasts waffle on when the next Tahoe storm might arrive, and what form of precipitation it may bring, event organizers are bracing themselves for the worst while hoping for the best. In the event of rain or snow, the army of volunteers will set out warming tents with heaters along the 30-kilometer (18.43-mile) course, which winds through the forest from Tahoe Cross Country Center in Tahoe City to the Cottonwood Restaurant in Truckee.Were on top of making sure everybody has a good event and are protected from any type of weather, said Doug Read, co-director of the race and an original member of the Tahoe Nordic Search andamp; Rescue Team.Now the main fundraiser for the Tahoe Nordic Search andamp; Rescue Team, the annual race that began in 1977 with 60 finishers has steadily grown to become arguably the largest Nordic race west of the Mississippi River. We only had 60 or 65 competitors the first year, and then it started growing and becoming more and more popular, Reedy told the Sierra Sun in a 2008 interview. It got so big I needed help, so I got the Search andamp; Rescue Team to help. Then I handed it over to them.The Great Ski Race has since swelled to become a behemoth in the Nordic world.In 2005, a record 1,109 people entered the race, while last years event drew 1,109 racers. The only Nordic event west of the Mississippi that rivals the Great Ski Race in size is the Boulder Mountain Tour in Sun Valley, Idaho, which had 689 finishers this year.Read said about 500 people had pre-registered by Thursday night, and that he expected up to 500 more to register leading up to race day, depending on the weather.While the Great Ski Race naturally attracts elite competition from across the country, many participants treat the community-supported event made possible by an all-volunteer work force as a non-competitive and festive party.Truckees Kristin Krone, a former Olympic Alpine ski racer, is one of those participants who enjoys the post-race party at the finish line perhaps more than the race itself. Even if the weather is funky Sunday, Krone said shell likely participate anyway and its because of the party.My biggest concern is missing the after-party, because that would just be wrong, Krone said.

Marshall Greene of Bend, Ore., set a new course record last year with a time of 1:06:51 in firm, fast conditions.Had Greene not broken the record, his XC Oregon teammate and Far West Nordic member Zach Violett, also of Bend, would have, as he finished right on Greens heels in a time of 1:06:54. Patrick Weaver held the previous record of 1:07, set in 2005.Read said this year hes not sure which elite racers may show up.I dont know of too many big-name out-of-towners, but Im sure there will be some, Read said.In 2008 Tav Streit of Reno was the top finisher among local racers, placing sixth in 1:10:21. He was followed by Garrett Reid of Truckee/Palo Alto, who was seventh in 1:10:27, and August Brautigam of Truckee, who placed 11th in 1:13:21.On the womens side, Abigail Larson of Salt Lake City won for the second straight year with a time of 1:17.18, and Rory Bosio of Soda Springs was the top local woman, finishing fourth in 1:22:04.

Cost is $45, or $65 if registering on race day. The entry fee buys a pre-race package, a T-shirt, refreshments and a hot lunch, a chance to win one of numerous prizes, and live music and dancing at the finish. See Wednesdays Sports andamp; Outdoors for a story about the race. For more information, or to view results, go to

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