Race Guide

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Please note that there are changes for the 2021 race, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • We have reduced most entry fees by $5 for 2021.
  • Skiers will choose a 10-minute window for starting, with no more than 50 skiers starting in any one 10-minute block. Skiers can start any time during the 10-minute block.
  • Should the Great Bear Chase be cancelled due to COVID-19, skiers can choose to apply their registration fee to the 2022 race.
  • We will not have a pasty lunch in the school gym this year.
  • The number of racers may be capped, based on state of Michigan requirements and/or organizer discretion. At this time we plan to limit total racers to 500.
  • Age group ranges may change for awards.
  • We are still considering whether to have awards this year.

The UP Health System Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon has something for everyone and enough snow to go around, even in March!  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.

  • 50 km skiathlon (limited to the first 120 entries)
  • 50 km freestyle
  • 50 km classic
  • 25 km freestyle
  • 25 km classic
  • 10 km freestyle
  • 10 km classic

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

Local Restaurants

Here’s a list of many local restaurants. We particularly encourage you to patronize the Great Bear Chase sponsors.

Weekend Schedule

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

Friday, March 12, 2021

4-8:30 p.m.
Registration and Bib Pickup

Registration and bib pickup at Calumet High School, 57070 Mine Street, Calumet, MI 49913. Race packets can be picked up by others.

4-8 p.m.
CLK Rotary Pasta Feed

Location: Siskiwit Reception Hall and Conference Center, 26070 Pine Street, Calumet. $10 per person (ages 10 and under are free).

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 13, 2021

7 – 9 a.m.
Bib Pick-Up

Bib pickup at Calumet High School, 57070 Mine Street, Calumet, MI 49913. Race packets can be picked up by others. There is no race-day registration.

8:30 – 9:25 a.m.
Race Start

All races will begin and finish near Spruce Street in Calumet (see the map for start/finish and parking)!

Start times:

  • 50 km Skiathlon – 8:30 a.m. EST
  • 50 km Classic – 8:35 a.m. EST
  • 25 km Classic – 8:40 a.m. EST
  • 50 km Freestyle – 8:50 a.m. EST
  • 10 km Freestyle – 9:00 a.m. EST
  • 10 km Classic – 9:05 a.m. EST
  • 25 km Freestyle – 9:20 a.m. (Wave A), 9:25 a.m. (Wave B) EST
Post Race
Free Pasty Lunch

Your registration includes lunch at the race headquarters at Calumet High School, 57070 Mine Street, Calumet, MI 49913. 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.

11:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Awards Ceremony

The awards ceremony also takes place at the Calumet High School, 57070 Mine Street, Calumet, MI 49913.

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 male and female skiers in the 50 km Skiathlon consisting of first through fifth places: $1,000, $500, $300, $150 and $75 (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:

  • 11:00 a.m. – 10 km Freestyle
  • 11:15 a.m. – 10 km Classic
  • 11:45 a.m. – 25 km Classic
  • 12:00 p.m. – 25 km Freestyle
  • 12:45 p.m. – 50 km Skiathlon
  • 1:00 p.m. – 50 km Freestyle
  • 1:30 p.m. – 50 km Classic

Cut-Off Times

We have cut-off times for the 50km races this year (last year, everyone made the times). You need to reach these locations by the cut-off time in order to be included in the results.

Aid Station:
Stadium     11:50 AM
Chalet        12:10 PM
Tower         12:40 PM
Papa            1:30 AM
Cedar           2:15 PM
Finish           3:00 PM

Special Note on Age Groups

Each year our organizing committee reviews the age group ranges for both genders. Our goal is to roughly equalize the number of skiers in each age group (based on the previous year’s numbers) for fairness and to ensure competitive balance among all age groups.

As a result, some age groups are five-year spans and some are ten-year spans. Male and female age groups don’t necessarily match – in many ranges the number of male and female skiers are not the same. Scroll down to the race information below – age groups are listed within the information for each individual race.

Other Information

  • Please, no dogs at the event – to assure the safety of skiers and spectators, no pets are allowed anywhere on the event grounds, including the stadium, the course, spectator areas, and the CLK schools.
  • 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 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.
  • 50km minimum age is 17.
  • Safety personnel from UP Health System, Mercy EMS and local First Responders will be on hand and in radio contact with check points.
  • Results are available as the race progresses at www.superiortiming.com
  • Photos – Racers will receive an email when photos are available for free download.

Map – Registration, parking, race start/finish

Race Descriptions / Maps

25 km & 50 km Great Bear Chase Race Course


50 km Skiathlon Race

The 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 50K Skiathlon is part of the CXC Marathon Cup. Sanctioned and scored by Central Cross Country Skiing (CXC), the Cup includes races in each of the three main states in the region – two races in Michigan, two in Wisconsin, and three in Minnesota.

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: 16-and-under, 17-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+
  • Male age groups: 16-and-under, 17-19, 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: