Wrap up for 44th Annual North American Vasa: Thank You!
February 10, 2020


Another perfect weekend for winter enthusiasts! Two days, hundreds of athletes, and countless memories made the 44th Annual North American Vasa is a wrap, and we couldn’t be happier with the past few days! 


First off, we could not have pulled off two very full days without the support of Short’s Brewing Company, Chemical Bank, Serra of Traverse City, Brick Wheels, and the dozens of companies who sponsored this edition of the Vasa. Of course, our volunteers also make this possible; they put in hundreds of hours across the two race days, in the week leading up, and for months leading into the event. Every person that invests their time in this event helps us ensure more trails, more skiing, and more winter fun for generations to come! 


Somehow, this thing always come together. This year, weeks of inconsistent snow and widely varying temperatures made conditions tough. Our mid-January snowfall held on, and overnight Friday, we received just an inch or so that put a soft touch on the fast and firm base. If a little fresh snow made the trails a little slower, it didn’t show in Saturday’s Freestyle races. The men’s and women’s 50km winners cruised under brilliant sunshine and an enthusiastic crowd. Alex Vanias took a solo win, going alone from the gun and holding his lead over 2:21. Brad White moved from a top ten in 2019 to second overall, joined on the podium by Alex Dennis and the ageless Milan Baic. 


On the women’s side, Kaitlyn Patterson picked up another Vasa crown with a time of 2:49. Slotting in second, Traverse City local Megan Madion is back in action in a big, big way, coming in just over the three-hour mark! In third, Mary Schlimmer nabbed her podium for 2020 ahead of Karin Gillis and Laurie Padden, putting a really neat mix of locals, Michiganders, and visitors into the top five. 


Sam Holmes and Erin Lipp nabbed the 25km titles, with Holmes holding onto a thirty-second gap nearly the entire race and hitting the line with just a quick look back over the shoulder to confirm the win. 


Saturday was also the third stop of the Short’s Brewing Fat Bike Series and boasted one of the toughest fields we’ve seen at the North American Vasa. It was another race that saw a very new mix of expected favorites and fresh faces, even on the podium. Jorden Wakeley took another Vasa win, with Nolan Vanderzwaag making his fat bike race debut in second-place style. Garrett Jenema hopped onto the podium, confirming that the next generation of riders, including Kyan Olshove and Max Meyer, not just coming up, but already at the top level! 


Susan Vigland matched Wakeley’s perfect 3-for-3 in the SBFBS with a fast 1:40 time, with Erin Reicha second and Laura Webb third. It was the biggest women’s field of the season, with Marylin Kamp, Lisa Markley, Kim Bazemore, and more taking the start line. 


The 13km race was packed full of the Singletrack Sisters Fat Bike Team, but even they couldn’t tame Norte’s Brody Day. Day, ‘fresh’ off a 6km ski, took the holeshot and never looked back, with Sam Derks and Matt Anderson left watching the 13-year-old disappear into the singletrack. Kate White led the women home, with Joyce Danforth and Andrea Price filling a smiling podium back at the Short’s Celebration Tent! 

Also worth a note amongst a day full of races are the first winners of the inaugural Vasasaurus Snowshoe Race on Sunday. History will remember Kyle Kiel as the first champion of the newest Vasa event, followed by Isaac Stone and Mike Decker. Dee Cronin won the women’s race, putting her name into the annals of North American Vasa lore. 

Make sure you check out all the results and make and effort to tell at least a few friends just how proud you are of their efforts! 


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