Noquemanon Ski Marathon ready to go with good, mild conditions forecast
MARQUETTE — Conditions are looking about as warm as organizers can feel comfortable with for the 22nd annual running of the Noquemanon Ski Marathon to be held in and around Ishpeming, Negaunee and Marquette this weekend.
Cold means snow and snow means a course all skiers and organizers can enjoy.
While Saturday is the attention-grabbing cross country ski day, there are children’s races set to be run in the late afternoon and early evening Friday, along with the “wild side” of the Noque on Sunday — snowshoeing, snow biking and animoosh (skiing with dogs) racing.
More than 850 skiers were listed over nine Saturday ski races in 2019, led by the 50-kilometer classic and freestyle races on a course that begins at Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming and ends this year right up to the doors of the Superior Dome in Marquette.
While the overall course finishes about 800 feet lower in sea level than the start, the course’s high point of around 1,600 feet above sea level is near its midpoint at Granite Point.
The usual up-and-down temperatures in the area are setting up the course well, according to reports on the Noquemanon’s website, www.noquemanon.com.
“Course conditions overall continue to look pretty great,” an update posted Wednesday morning stated. “We aren’t quite sure about slush on the water crossings just yet, but the big snow over the weekend did push some water up on the ponds (last 7K).
“Cold temperatures early this week should firm that up but temperatures took to moderate pretty significantly (toward the) end of the week.
“Deer Lake and the Dead River basin (our ‘floating ski trails’) look good. So far … so good!”
It goes on to cite a National Weather Service forecast specially made for the Noque expecting 2 to 4 inches of snow from Wednesday to early Friday, with possible flurries during the weekend. And temperatures in the low to mid 30s from Friday through Sunday with generally light winds.
The website also cites trail work continuing on the most remote portions of the course, removing downed and bent-over trees on the trails and preparing water crossings.
Organizers will have a drawing for new Dion snowshoes for those entering the 5K or 10K Wildside Snowshoe races on Sunday.
Volunteers are still being sought with sign-up and information available on the website.
And a college club team challenge will be held that currently includes Upper Peninsula schools Northern Michigan University and Michigan Tech and out-of-state schools Minnesota-Duluth, the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, Notre Dame, St. Scholastica and North Dakota State.