Race Guide

The UP Health System Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon has something for everyone and enough snow to go around, even in March! Skiers can choose from the 50k Skiathlon (limited to the first 100 entries), our signature freestyle and classic 50k races, or freestyle or classic 25k or 10k distances. The Great Bear Chase has earned a reputation as a skier-oriented weekend that allows skiers of all experience levels to finish their season with a high quality event.

All events are chip timed, and compete on beautiful power tilled trails.

Weekend Schedule

Please note, all times are Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Friday, March 9, 2018

6 -9 p.m.
Registration and Bib Pickup

Registration and bib pickup at Calumet High School. Race packets can be picked up by others.

6-8 p.m.
Pasta Dinner

Join us for a lasagna dinner (provided through UP Health System Portage Nutrition Services) during Registration and Bib Pickup at the Calumet High School. The price is $10 and the menu includes meat lasagna, vegetable lasagna, assorted artisan dinner rolls, spring mix salad, antipasto salad, fruit salad, lemon bars, water, assorted sparkling water and iced tea. Plan on enjoying a good meal with fellow racers and fuel up for a great race!

5:30 p.m.
Junior Bear Chase

Friday night the Swedetown Trails will be filled with the next generation of skiers as the Copper Country Ski Tigers host the annual Junior Bear Chase. Registration/Bib Pick-Up is at the Swedetown Chalet. Learn more by visiting the Junior Bear Chase page.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

6 – 8:30 a.m.
Bib Pick-Up

If you can’t make it in town for Friday’s bib pick-up, we’ll be at the Calumet High School bright and early for last-minute bib pickups. Race packets can be picked up by others.  There is no race-day registration.

8:30 – 9:20 a.m.
Race Start

Start times run from 8:30-9:20 am. All races will begin and finish near Spruce Street in Calumet. There is plenty of parking just a short walk from the stadium (see the map for start/finish and parking)! Here’s a quick rundown of the start times:

  • 50 km Skiathlon – 8:30 a.m. EST
  • 50 km Classic – 8:35 a.m. EST
  • 10 km Classic – 8:40 a.m. EST
  • 10 km Freestyle – 8:45 a.m. EST
  • 25 km Classic – 8:50 a.m. EST
  • 50 km Freestyle – 9:10 a.m. EST
  • 25 km Freestyle – 9:20 a.m. EST
Post Race
Free Pasty Lunch

Your registration includes lunch at the race headquarters at Calumet High School. We’ll serve up fresh, award-winning pasties, bakery items, gluten-free soup and refreshments. There will also be pasties for sale for those who didn’t race. The school’s locker rooms (including showers) will even be open for your use.

12 – 2:15 p.m.
Awards Ceremony

The awards ceremony also takes place at the Calumet High School. Awards are given for each age category in each race, including hand-made wood skis for 1st place finishers in each age group. 2nd and 3rd place finishers will receive medals. Unique awards will be presented to the overall fastest man and woman in each race, and skating trophies to the top 10 male and top 5 female skiers in the 50 km freestyle. Prize money will also be given to the top 3 male and female skiers in the 50 km Skiathlon consisting of $1,000, $400 and $150. Free 2018 race entry will also be given for 4th and 5th male and female skiers in the 50 km Skiathlon (racers must be present to claim all prizes).  Door prizes (including NEW skis!) will also be awarded to those present at the award ceremony. Thanks to Cross Country Sports for helping us out with those! Award Ceremony Schedule:

  • 12:00 p.m. – 10 km Freestyle
  • 12:15 p.m. – 10 km Classic
  • 12:30 p.m. – 25 km Freestyle
  • 1:00 p.m. – 25 km Classic
  • 1:30 p.m. – 50 km Skiathlon
  • 2:00 p.m. – 50 km Freestyle
  • 2:15 p.m. – 50 km Classic

Other Information

  • NOTE: Start/finish location at Spruce Street in Calumet
  • Trail markings will be clear, with markers every 2 km.
  • Aid Stations will be located throughout the course (see the course map below). Aid stations will provide warm water, Gu Hydration drinks, bananas and Gu energy gel.
  • Spectators are encouraged to shout encouragement! Near the chalet is an excellent place as all skiers come near, and racers in the longer races go by it several times.
  • Road Crossings: No road crossings in the Great Bear Chase!
  • Minimum age requirement for the 50 km events is 17.
  • Safety personnel from UP Health System, Mercy EMS and local 1st Responders will be on hand and in radio contact with check points.
  • Results and photos will be available right here at greatbearchase.com.
  • Use the map below for the registration location (Calumet High School) and the race start location.

Race Descriptions / Maps

25 km & 50 km Great Bear Chase Race Course


50 km Skiathlon Race

CXC-Marathon-Cup-Simple-Logo-RGB-v3The 50km Skiathlon features a combined competition of 25 km classic skiing followed by by 25 km freestyle skiing. The two lap course is perfect for one lap of striding and one lap of skating. The Great Bear Chase 50km skiathlon is part of the CXC Marathon Cup.


Fast Facts:

  • Female age groups: 17-23, 24-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+
  • Male age groups: 17-23, 24-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-69, 70+
  • Register Here!

50 km Freestyle Race

The 50 km freestyle is the most competitive race at the Great Bear Chase. This race features master skiers from all over the Midwest as they come out in one last hurrah for the season! It’s also a popular event for college skiers throughout the region who finish their season in the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula.

Fast Facts:

50 km Classic Race

Classic skiers want – and deserve – their own 50 km race, and the Great Bear Chase delivers. The 50 km classic skiers two passes through the Great Bear Chase course.

Fast Facts:

25 km Freestyle Race

The 25 km freestyle provides an excellent end-of-season goal for serious racers and mainstream recreational skiers alike.

Fast Facts:

  • Female age groups: 19-and-under, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+
  • Male age groups: 19-and-under, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+
  • See the map up close and personal via our Trail Genius Video Race Map!
  • Register Here!
  • Past Results

25 km Classic Race

The 25 km classic race appeals to those who want the traditional experience of a half marathon, as well as those who like to “tour” for a morning. Many master skiers and serious recreational skiers use this as their goal for the season.

Fast Facts:

10 km Great Bear Chase Race Course


10 km Freestyle Race

Come out and experience the Great Bear Chase and Swedetown Trails. This event simplifies the course by cutting out some of the tougher technical downhills, but still gives racers the beauty of Swedetown Trails and The Great Bear Chase, and includes a couple challenging loops.

Fast Facts:

10 km Classic Race

The course is suitable for intermediate skiers and is a great way to take your first step into Nordic ski racing.

Fast Facts: