Course update 1/25/17
We spent most of yesterday afternoon checking out many of the potential areas of concern on the first half of the marathon course. We found very good skiing at Al Quaal (start of the full marathon). Good snow depth throughout the west end of the course (6-9 inches of snow depth), but very soft and lots of water underneath. The water crossings were very slushy. There were at least 4 sections on the trail that were very dirty with the ground and rocks starting to show through. There was found to be some snowmobile damage on that end of the course by a wayward snowmobiler….(withholding expletives, that’s very disappointing). There is open water on a few sections. This morning we had hoped to wake up to below freezing temperatures and some snowfall, however it is currently still above freezing and there is light drizzle. The course chief believes we could hold the full marathon with a 2-3 inches of fresh snowfall and freezing temperatures. However, this has not happened and the snowfall is now not likely to amount to much of anything. We needed this weather improvement by right NOW to mobilize our manpower and equipment to make the trail skiable and safe.
At this point, we have decided to focus our efforts on putting on a safe, and fun, skiing event on good conditions. The only way we can do that right now is to move our entire start to County Road 510 (the starting location for the half marathon). We will then have the opportunity to snake through some of the trails in our Forestville system, which has held very good conditions, to add some distance. We will try to push the finish as far as we can, given course conditions and the availability of fresh snow to haul in. Our normal ample amount of fresh snow that we use from around the Superior dome, and other areas, has dwindled in the warm temperatures over the last 2 weeks, however we remain hopeful there is enough to bring in to finish the race at the Log Yard (4km from the dome). This is only possible due to our wonderful landowners that care about this event just as much as we do. If we are unable to finish at the Log Yard, we will likely finish at Forestville. Temperatures are expected to start to fall below freezing later today and stay below freezing, so I am optimistic we can make this happen. I plan to have more information at the end of the day today.
Jon Mommaerts (Chief of course) and the Race Committee.