Nordic skiers ready for Great Race
The 26th Annual Great Ski Race, considered the largest cross country ski race in the West, will return to North Lake Tahoe Sunday, March 3. Last year, more than 800 participants skated, skied and snowshoed from Tahoe City to Truckee.The race begins at the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area in Tahoe City and climbs through the Tahoe National Forest with glimpses of Lake Tahoe.The challenging, 30-kilometer trail varies in elevation from approximately 5,800 to 7,800 feet.The race ends with participants descending into Truckee with the finish line at the Cottonwood Restaurant.”The course has been groomed, it has great coverage and it’s in excellent condition. And if it is anything like it was when I saw it on Monday, I predict there will be a new course record,” co-organizer Doug Read said.Although the Great Ski Race has attracted athletes from across the country and around the world, the majority of participants are from the Lake Tahoe region, Reno and Northern California.”The Great Ski Race is more than a race. It’s a local celebration of winter and a kickoff to springtime in our beautiful Sierra setting,” Read added.All proceeds from the Great Race will benefit the Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue Team.Since 1976, the Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue team has rescued lost alpine skiers, cross-country skiers, hikers and climbers, located downed aircraft and educated the public about mountain safety.Proceeds from this year’s race will be used to purchase equipment, educate students with hands-on outdoor survival programs and fund the production of an outdoor-survival video geared for high school students.Read said the estimated cost of the 26-minute survival video is $35,000, “the biggest single expenditure ever” for the search and rescue team.”But the whole reason [the team] got started in the first place was the loss of a local high school student,” Read said. “It’s going to take three Great Ski Races to pay for [the video], but over the years we have lost four local high school kids to winter accidents that shouldn’t have happened.”The Great Ski Race is open to all ages and abilities, with race times vary from one to seven hours.The Great Ski Race registration fees are $30 by mail or in person at the Tahoe CrossCountry Ski Area, and $32 to register online at http://www.tahoenordicsar.com.Registration takes place up until March 3 but late fees may apply.Participants are given a race package, which includes a tee shirt, refreshments, lunch and raffle tickets with many prizes available.A live band will perform at the Cottonwood Restaurant. For an extra $3 fee, seats can be reserved on buses leaving from Truckee back to the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area.The race starts at 9 a.m. sharp.For more information call 581-4038.