The 2014 Portage Health Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon has several changes that will help to improve flow, reduce intersections and provide a better mix of terrain compared to past years.
This according to Craig Hughes, one of the Great Bear Chase organizers who helped design this year’s course.
“So far the course adjustments we’ve made have resulted in positive feedback from our Swedetown Trails skiers,” he explained. “When you consider the amount of snow we have, these trails are some of the best we’ve ever seen here.”
Over the summer several improvements were made to eliminate short, super-steep uphill “walls” that were on the course. Also, two steep technical down hills were eliminated, and the flow of the trail was improved in many other locations. The resulting trails allow skiers to more easily maintain momentum.
Many of the changes were made based on skier feedback. For instance, the GBC committee decided to reduce the length of the shortest race to 10 km for 2014. This change, along with a change in start times, enables the reduction of intersections. Now, all skiers will see either one (50 km and 10 km skiers) or no trail splits (25Km skiers). This is a dramatic improvement from prior years when as many as 6 intersections were negotiated by 50 km skiers.
“We hope this reduction in intersections makes for an improved experience for all,” Hughes said.
Finally, the course selection committee thought the 10 km race should have a nice mix of terrain to give skiers a full feel of the great trails Swedetown Trails has to offer. In 2012, the 14Km course was very hilly, taking skiers on the most advanced trails at Swedetown. Those skiers let us know the course was “too hilly.” We overreacted a bit in 2013, and the feedback was the course was “too flat,” For 2014, we hope you will agree the 10 km course is “just right,” as we selected a mix of easy and intermediate level trails.
As always, the Bear, and the course committee, will be there to hear your thoughts on the 2014 course. We look forward to seeing you in Calumet for a great weekend of skiing!