Race Guide

The UP Health System Great Bear Chase

The UP Health System Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon has has earned a reputation as a skier-oriented weekend allowing participants of all experience levels to finish their seasons 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
  • 20 km skiathlon (limited to the first 60 entries)
  • 10 km freestyle
  • 10 km classic
  • Virtual Great Bear Chase

Information You Need to Know

  • Race changes after March 5 need to be made at bib pick-up. Race changes before March 5 can be made by emailing dean@greatbearchase.com
  • The 50 km skiathlon is capped at 120 skiers
  • The 20 km skiathlon is capped at 60 skiers
  • Each skier will receive a 2024 Great Bear Chase t-shirt

Race Pricing

The fee schedule for the 2024 Great Bear Chase:

All 50km and 25km events

  • $75 - through November 30, 2023 (11:59 pm ET)
  • $85 - December 1-31, 2023
  • $90 - January 1-31, 2024
  • $95 - February 1-29, 2024
  • $105 - March 1-4, 2024
  • $115 - March 5-7, 2024
  • $125 - March 8, 2024 (in-person only)

Note: Age 23 and younger pricing is $50 through March 4, 2024; $65 March 5-7, 2024; and $60 in-person March 8.

All 10km Events

  • $45 through December 31, 2023 (11:59 pm)
  • $50 - January 1-31, 2024
  • $60 - February 1-29, 2024
  • $70 - March 1-7, 2024
  • $75 - March 8, 2024 (in-person only)

Note: Age 23 and younger pricing is $45 through December 31, 2023; $50 through March 4, 2024; $65 March 5-7, 2024; and $70 March 8, 2024

Weekend Schedule 

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

Friday, March 8, 2024

4:30 - 8:30 p.m. - Registration and Bib Pick-up - Calumet High School

Saturday, March 9, 2024

6:30 - 8:00 a.m. - Bib Pick-Up - Calumet High School - NOTE: no race-day registration

8:00 - 9:00 a.m. - 44th Annual UP Health System Great Bear Chase 

  • 8:00 a.m. Skiathlon
  • 8:05 a.m. 50 km Classic
  • 8:10 a.m. 50 km Freestyle, Corral #1
  • 8:15 a.m. 50 km Freestyle, Corral #2
  • 8:20 a.m. 25 km Freestyle, Corral #1
  • 8:25 a.m. 25 km Freestyle, Corral #2
  • 8:30 a.m. 25 km Freestyle, Corral #3
  • 8:35 a.m. 25 km Classic, Corral #1
  • 8:40 a.m. 25 km Classic, Corral #2
  • 8:45 a.m. 20 km Skiathlon
  • 8:50 a.m. 10 km Freestyle
  • 8:55 a.m. 10 km Classic

10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Post-race - Calumet High School Registration includes the pasty luncheon at Calumet High School. We'll provide fresh, award-winning pasties (meat or vegetarian), bakery, fruit, and more! The school's locker rooms and showers will be available.


Race Day Information

All races will begin and finish near Spruce Street in Calumet (see the map for start/finish and parking). Parking is available in a plowed lot on Spruce Street and along both Spruce and Osceola Streets. Plan on a 15-minute walk to the race start.

Parking

We have two parking lots one on the north side of Spruce St. and another on Osceola Rd., just north of Spruce. We recommend parking in one of these two lots before parking on the roads. Please plan on at least 15 minutes of walking time to the start area. See this map for directions to the parking areas, as well as to the Start/Finish and Calumet High School.

Bibs and Chip Timing

Timing chips (RFID tags) are attached to the race bib and should not removed or bent. Race times are determined by gun time at the start and boot toe across the finish line.

Reuse/Return of Bibs

The Great Bear Chase will continue to reduce waste by collecting bibs at the finish line for reuse next year (after washing them, of course). We intend to use one set of bibs for multiple years. We have had feedback from skiers that re-using bibs would be an environmentally responsible thing to do, and the organizing committee agrees. Skiers have the option to purchase their bib for $20 during the registration process. Collected funds will help pay to replace the purchased bibs for the 2025 race. 

Porta-Johns

Portable toilets are located at the start/finish, one on the course behind the 13k/38k to go aid station, and one where the Mama Bear Loop meets Greenstone.

Information

There will be an information table in the stadium on race morning. Race organizers are also available at the Calumet High School from 4:30 - 8:30 pm Friday, March 8, and all day Saturday, March 9.

Skiathlon Exchange Zone

The exchange zone is a 10-minute walk from the start area (see the stadium map on this page). Please plan accordingly. Each competitor will have a numbered exchange box large enough for skis, poles, and boots. Competitors may do anything they wish in the exchange box: change poles, skis, boots, socks, etc. Clothing bags, hand warmers, etc., are allowed in the box. Skiathlon skiers enter the exchange zone from the outside and exit through the center. All skiathlon skiers must proceed into the exchange zone and through their numbered box. All other skiers take the bypass. During the first lap, skiathlon skiers use classic technique, then freestyle on the second lap.

Clothing Bags

The registration packet includes a bag tag with bib number. You can attach this to your own bag and drop your bag at the designated area near the finish area. Race officials are not responsible for lost or stolen property.

Severe Weather

The race committee will monitor weather conditions and will adjust the race times as necessary based on FIS guidelines for low temperatures or poor visibility.

Warm-up Loop

A designated warm-up loop (see the stadium map) is located along the left (south) side of the start line. The loop is approximately 1/2 km and is one-way.

Waxing

A wax area in the Swedetown Chalet is open Friday, March 10, from 7 am until midnight. Note there is only one wax form in the building, so come prepared.


On the Course

Course

Ski trail difficulty varies and most of the Swedetown Trails are incorporated in this event. Please ski under control and within your ability for conditions. There are no road crossings. The first ½ kilometer of the course is 25+ feet wide with one classic track on each side. The remainder of the course is 12 to 20 feet wide with 1-2 classic tracks, depending on trail width.

Aid Stations

Four aid stations are located approximately every 7 km throughout the course, plus one at the finish line. See course maps for exact locations. Gu Energy drink, Gu Energy gel, water and fruit will be available at each aid stations, along with a variety of ski poles. Aid will be in the same order at all aid stations, Gu/Fruit/Energy Drink/Water. Energy drinks will be served in blue cups and water in white cups. Please move forward through the aid stations. All aid stations are manned by volunteers and service club members, please thank them as you pass by.

Medical

Radio operators and medical personnel will be on the course and at the race finish for your safety. If you see an injured skier please get their bib number and location, then notify the nearest race official. In the event of an emergency, follow the directions of the race official. If you call 911 to report an emergency, let the dispatcher know you are at the Great Bear Chase and provide the location of the emergency. Let a race official know you have called 911.

Cut-off Times

There are four aid stations for 50km skiers, three for 25km and one for 10km. All aid stations have cut-off times. While we do not typically pull skiers off the course, but be aware that aid stations will close and you will be on your own after the cut-off times. If you are looking at a 50km race, we highly recommend determining whether you can complete the first lap no later than 11:15 am. Aid station cut-off times are:

Complete first lap of 50km: 11:15 am
23 km to go: 11:30 am
18 km to go: 12:30 pm
13 km to go: 12:50 pm
6 km to go: 1:30 pm
Finish line: 2:30 pm

Drop Outs

If you are not able to complete the race for whatever reason, you must notify a Race Official before you leave the course so we may account for all racers at the completion of the event. It is imperative that we know if a skier drops out. 

Regulations

Classic event skiers are expected to use classic technique, which includes the diagonal, double poling, herringbone without a gliding phase, downhill, and turning techniques. Skating is not allowed in classic races. Turning techniques are comprised of steps and pushes in order to change direction. Where there is a set track, turning techniques with pushing are not allowed. This also applies to competitors skiing outside of the set track. Failure to abide by these rules may result in disqualification. 

V-Boards and Course Markings

V-boards and sign arrows are placed throughout the course and in the stadium to indicate the course. Do not cross V-board barriers as you will be off course. Crossing V-board barriers in the stadium may result in disqualification or time penalties.

Kilometer Markers

Descending kilometer markers are placed on the course beginning at 23Km to go.

Spectator Information

Just up the hill from the Swedetown Chalet is a perfect place to view racers. Park along Osceola Road and walk the short distance past the Chalet. There will be several opportunities to view racers as they pass by.


Post-Race

Changing Facilities

Heated changing area and showers will be available at the Calumet High School. Please be conscious of hot water use and save some for racers arriving later. See map for location. There are no heated changing facilities at the finish line.

Lost and Found

Lost and found items will be brought to the Calumet High School gym during the banquet. If items are not picked up during that time, please email info@greatbearchase.com to inquire.

Post-Event Food

A FREE lunch for racers will be available at the Calumet High School starting at 10 a.m. Come and enjoy pasties, bakery and refreshments. Lunch will be available for purchase for non-racers. Food will be served in the café, the same location as bib pick-up, and tables will be set up in the gym for racers to enjoy lunch and visit with other racers.  

Race Photos

Race photos will be taken by brockit, Inc. with downloads provided at no charge. Skiers will receive an email when the photos are available. 

Results

Live on-line results will be available at SuperiorTiming.com Final results will be posted at GreatBearChase.com.

Social Media

Search for Great Bear Chase on Facebook and Instagram!


Prizes and Awards

Awards

Awards will be available at the Calumet High School. Awards are given for the top three for each gender in 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 local, handcrafted medals. Unique awards will be given to the overall fastest man and woman in each race. Awards will be available at the awards table as results are final. 
 
Racers can request awards be mailed for $5. Email greatbearchase@gmail.com if you’d like your award mailed or stop by the awards table.

Age Groups

Each year the organizing committee holds extensive discussions about age groups and uses a formula to ensure fairness and relative standardization based on the number of registrants, and their age distribution, for a given race. Age groups are the same for both males and females. The 2024 age groups are:

50km Skiathlon: 17-23, 24-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+

50 km Freestyle: 17-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+

50 km Classic: 17-34, 35-49, 50-64, 65+

25km Freestyle: 16 and younger, 17-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+

25km Classic: 34 and younger, 35-49, 50-64, 65-70, 70+

20km Skiathlon: 34 and younger, 35-49, 50-64, 65+

10km Freestyle: 12 and younger, 13-15, 16-18, 19-34, 35-49, 50-64, 65+

10km Classic: 12 and younger, 13-15, 16-18, 19-34, 35-49, 50-64, 65+

Prizes

We will award over $2,000 worth of door prizes (all registered racers are eligible). Winners will be determined by a random draw prior to the race and awarded when racers pick up their bib packets.

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 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 at www.superiortiming.com
  • Photos - Racers will receive an email when photos are available for free download. 
  • Hok skis and other back-country skis are not allowed for any of the GBC races.
  • Swedetown Trails, including the GBC course, will be open the week of the Great Bear Chase. A trail pass is required. The trails will be closed during the Great Bear Chase until 4 p.m. 

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