2019 Great Bear Chase to Start With Record Numbers

The 39th UP Health System Great Bear Chase has seen a record number of registrations, with more than 800 skiers expected to start in one of the event’s seven individual races.

“There are a number of factors that have made the Great Bear Chase successful,” said Race Director Angela Luskin, Health and Fitness Manager at UP Health System Portage. “The skiathlon is now in its fifth year and has proven very popular. We believe the number one reason for our success and growth is the fun atmosphere that we provide, thanks to our volunteers’ commitment and hospitality.”

The event takes place Saturday, March 9, with the first start time at 8:30 am. Skiers can choose among 10km, 25km, and the full marathon 50km distances in either of the two techniques – freestyle or classic diagonal stride. There is also the 50km skiathlon, where participants use classic technique for the first 25km, then freestyle for the second 25km.

Once skiers have finished their event, they are treated to an extensive lunch at Calumet High School, featuring pasties and pastries, soup and refreshments. Skier can also use the locker rooms for showers and changing into their street clothes.

The Great Bear Chase is held on the Swedetown trails in Calumet, Michigan, which averages more than 225 inches of snow annually. This year’s 800+ skiers eclipses the 740 number from 2018, which was also a record. The UP Health System Great Bear Chase is the concluding race in the CXC Ski Marathon Cup, which includes six of the biggest cross country ski events in the Midwest.