ISHPEMING - The 2013 Noquemanon Ski Marathon kicks off Thursday for the kids with the annual Torch Light Trek, which is returning to its original location.
The youth ski event will be held at Al Quaal Recreation Area, where it originally started 15 years ago. A short loop will be groomed on the School Trail just east of Birchwiew Elementary School and lit by torch light.
"There will be a wider trail than it has been in the past," said Bob Hendrickson of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. "So the kids can do different types of cross country skiing instead of just shuffling along."
Sierra Hendrickson of Negaunee leads the way during the 2012 Torch Light Trek last January in downtown Ishpeming. This year’s kids event that kicks off the Noquemanon Ski Marathon on Thursday evening is returning to its original venue, the Al Quaal Recreation Area. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
The Torch Light Trek originally started as the children's race for the Noquemanon but was later changed to a free, fun outdoor activity in which children who have never cross country skied before can try it out, Hendrickson said.
There will be a limited number of skies and boots for participants to use for free on a first-come, first-served basis. Adults and children who have their own equipment are encouraged to bring it.
"Last year we had about 130 kids show up and participate," Hendrickson said. "So what we'll do is let the kids take a couple of laps with the rental gear and then give the next kid a chance to try it out. If a kid wants to go again all they have to do is get back in line."
The trek is scheduled from 6 to 7 p.m. and participants are asked to park in the school parking lot. The event is hosted by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. For more information, contact Hendrickson at 204-0520 or call the hall of fame at 485-6323.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.