NEWS45th Annual North American Vasa is on February 13th & 14th, 2021
February 13, 2021
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!
The 2020 Edition King Vasa Speaks is now available
January 31, 2020
Click on the following link to get the 2020 edition of King Vasa Speaks
The Final Countdown: The Last Weekend of Training (Or Racing!) Before The Vasa
January 27, 2020
We’re into the final two weeks before race day! To help you turn your focus onto the last few days of training, we’re laying out all sorts of options to be prepared for two days of winter fun!
Just in time, winter is back from a few days off. That warm-up over the weekend might have dampened spirits (and ski boots), but with freezing nights in the forecast and plenty of snow, the added moisture and compaction might really help the trails out for the Vasa weekend and the rest of winter!
If you’ve been racking up the miles, we hope you’ll consider supporting the people who make it happen. We rely on the groomers from Traverse Area Recreational Trails and Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association perfect conditions on race weekend, but also all season long. Both of these organizations rely on proceeds from grooming badges to put in hundreds of hours of work to give us a place to train and enjoy the woods. You can support that effort here.
There’s also a great opportunity to put in some racing kilometers this weekend, too. Get a big effort in or a shorter ski as your final test before the Vasa at the White Pine Stampede this Saturday, February 1. It’s the biggest point-to-point ski race in our region and uses trails that are only open and groomed on race day! The White Pine Stampede offers 50k, 20k, and 19k races that all end at beautiful Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, Michigan. Combine your race prep with celebration prep with a stop at Short’s Brewing Company’s pub while you’re up north!
Here in Traverse City, you can expect to see plenty of skiers and fat bikers in the woods to check out the course. You can find all the maps you need to plan your final preparations here. It might also be a good idea to jot down your event’s start time, all of which are available here. One of the most important things to plan is your arrival to the race. You can pick up your packet on race day, or consider making the trip to Timber Ridge a day early and grab your race bib and free goodies the night before at Timber Ridge between 2-8pm. Day-of pick-up starts at 7:30am and closes at 11:30, with Sunday pick-up from 8-10am.
No matter what your ambitions, a big part of enjoying race day is being prepared and planning ahead. If you’re looking for wax tips, make sure you get to Brick Wheels or your local wax tech soon and give them a bit of time to get knock them out!
If you’re an experienced skier, how much or how hard do you train the weekend before a big event? Let us know in the comments!
Bigfoot Snowshoe Race
January 25, 2020
Join us January 25, 2020! Registration is OPEN!
There will be an elite corral option at the start for particpants who expect to snowshoe sub 30 minutes in the 5K and sub 60 minutes in the 10K.
- 5 & 10K early (before Noon on 1/23/20 before Race Day): $25
- 5 & 10K late (1/24/20 & 1/25/20 Race Day): $30
Race Swag - Must be purchased by Jan 6, 2020!
- Pre-purchase with reg: $30Fleece Hoodie
- Pre-purchase with reg: $12 Beanie
- No guarantee we will have swag available race weekend. Order early!
Snow Shoe Rental
- $20 (We have a limited # of snowshoes so make sure you sign up early if you need to rent snowshoes!!
Late Registration/Packet Pick-Up:
- Friday, January 24, 2020 • 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM
South Airport Traverse City Running Fit
3301 South Airport Road
Traverse City, MI 49684
Click here for a map.
- Saturday/Race Day 7:30am - 8:30am
- Timber Ridge Nordic Center
- 4050 E Hammond Road (Hammond at 6-Mile, SE of town).
Double Or Triple Dip: The Combination Races!
January 14, 2020
The North American Vasa offers a full Festival of Races, but one of the best parts of the events is that you don’t have to choose. Not only can you mix and match your races over the course of the weekend, but you can also double or even triple dip! Going big could have you going home with a unique prize, gift cards, and bragging rights as the ultimate winter athlete.
Here in northern Michigan, we take our winters seriously. While other regions might bellyache over snow and cold weather, we complain only when there isn’t enough time to do it all! When you’re excited about skiing, fat biking, and snowshoeing, it can be a challenge to fit all three hobbies into your schedule. Luckily, you don’t have to be exclusive at the Vasa!
We’ve got a number of combination combinations. The big daddy is the Triple Challenge, which will take your accumulative times from the 50km freestyle and 42km Fat Bike races on Saturday, followed by the 35km Classic on Sunday. It’s a massive test of endurance and recovery, and something local athletes dedicate a lot of time to train for. If you need advice, reach out to Dan Novak; he's dominated this category since...forever!
The Michigan Cup Challenge is a ski-centric way to double up over two days, combining the 25km freestyle and 16km Classic races over Saturday and Sunday. These are the two events that earn both the skier and their chosen club some valuable points in the Michigan Cup. The top athletes will pick up a big haul of points, plus a gift card from Brick Wheels for their efforts.
Traverse City is a bit of a fat bike mecca. We’ve been on wide tires since the start, and fat bikes have been a fixture at our race for years. The SkiFatalon offers a chance for an athlete to earn the title of ultimate winter athlete, but it doesn’t come easy. The winners first have to finish the 25km kilometer freestyle before quickly switching over to the 42km fat bike race. There’s hardly time to change clothes and slam down a Cherry Republic Boom Chukka before they’re back on the snow!
A few tips on going twice. First, make sure you mimic the demands of racing twice in your training by splitting training days and tracking what works and what doesn’t in between. Some folks like to keep moving or even put in a long cooldown on skis or the bike to make sure they flush out any lactic acid. Second, practice what you’re going to eat both during your events and in-between. Remember, you’re not eating for that first race as much as you’re eating for the second, or even third! Finally, make sure you’re well-hydrated before race day and stay on schedule during the events as well. Have a plan to eat and drink at regular intervals, and make the most of our aid stations out on the course!
For most of us, one race is enough, but we tip our caps to the winter enthusiasts who push the limits and enjoy more. Get signed up and get training!
2020 VASA Newsletter, Vol. IV, No. 4
January 06, 2020
Stomping Into 2020...New Races and Updates!
January 03, 2020
Happy New Year! January is here and that means more than just a few weeks of writing the date wrong on every form you fill out. It means we’re just over a month away from the 2020 edition of the North American Vasa!
While the race is still a few weeks off, there are already some important dates and some important updates to pass along. The first, and by far the most pressing, is that the next registration price jump on January 7! We think it’s vital that racers sign up before the next deadline and save that $10 for a Short’s after they hit the finish line. You’ll thank yourself later.
A lot of racers have held off signing up because of the decided lack of winter so far, but don’t worry. There are just a few things in life that you can count on; death, taxes, and snow for the Vasa. We’re quick to both knock on wood and boldly predict that there will be snow on February 8 and 9, but as far as the actual temperatures and the correct wax, well, we’ll leave that up to you.
We’ve been the premier ski race in the area for decades, but over the past few years, we’ve been committed to including more winter enthusiasts into our festival of races. The Vasa Fat Bike Race has been a huge hit, with more riders each and every year. Drawn by 42 and 13-kilometer distances, it’s one of the few fat bike races in Michigan that can proudly boast of long laps, singletrack, and one of the best after-parties around. This year, we wanted more. For the first time, your running pals can sign up for the Vasasaurous Stomp, a 6km snowshoe race on Sunday morning. Snowshoers will take on wild, ungroomed trails for a fun, festive adventure. It’s the perfect way to get in on the Vasa festivities, even if you don’t have skis of a fat bike.
Of course, you don’t need to race to have fun. We’re always looking for volunteers to help us put on the best event possible, and with races spanning two days and several hours, we need a lot of helping hands. Donating just a bit of your time helps us run a smooth race and allows us to focus on the logistics, scheduling, and safety on a day that can often get a little chaotic. The key? Folks like you! Sign up for a volunteer spot and we’ll save you a seat at the Volunteer Party hosted by Jolly Pumpkin. Head here to learn more.
As January rolls on, check back for more race dates, trail reports, and even a look at the race favorites as we get closer and closer to the big weekend! As always, do your best snow dance and let us know where the best skiing is on Facebook and Instagram using #NAV2020.
44th Annual VASA Volunteer Sign-up
January 01, 2020
We Need You!
Calling for volunteers for the 44th running of the North American Vasa!!
All volunteers are invited to the Annual Volunteer Party on Sunday, February 2nd, 2020 at The Jolly Pumpkin's Peninsula Room. You will sign in and receive your warm and styling volunteer hat, have a brief meeting, meet with your crew chief, and munch on appies from the Jolly Pumpkin!
As you may already know it takes almost a small army to make Vasa weekend the quality event we love and have come to expect. There are many activities taking place over Vasa weekend and the days leading up to it. If you’d like to be a part of this action-packed, fun-filled celebration, please use the online sign-up link below (SignUp.com) or contact Kelley Peterson at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 231-360-0361. It's a great way to meet new folks, have fun and contribute to this 44-year Traverse City tradition.
Help is particularly needed in the following areas:
- Pre-race set up at Timber Ridge
- Serving food in the Event Tent – Saturday and Sunday
- Course Marshalls - Saturday and Sunday
- Aid station crew members
- Post-race tear down and clean-up
- Clothing bag drop
We're using SignUp.com (the leading online SignUp and reminder tool) to organize our upcoming volunteer sign-ups.
Here's how it works in 3 easy steps:
1) Click the following button.
2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3) Sign up! It's Easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password.
Note: SignUp.com does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact Kelley Peterson (see contact info baove) and she can sign you up manually.
If you’re already part of a crew, your crew chief will be contacting you regarding your availability for this year.
Crew chiefs should be checking with their respective members to see if their team remains solid and then recruiting new people if necessary. Vasa weekend will be here in the blink of an eye!
Thanks, volunteers, for making the North American Vasa a reality.
Special thanks to the Jolly Pumpkin, one of our sponsors, for providing the event space!!
Online Registration is Open
August 10, 2019
Online Registration is Open Click Here
Traverse City Skier Finds Healing on the Trails
February 09, 2019
Interlochen Public Radio radio broadcast A story of loss, recovery and skiing.
Interlochen Public Radio Written Story
Vasa Race Course Reports