Family fun at Barnelopet ski race this weekend

Photo sumbitted to the Daily Mining Gazette Kids and parents hit the trail at the 2016 Barnelopet.

HANCOCK — With sun in the forecast, now is the time for a kids ski race and some outdoor family fun.

The 11th annual Barnelopet, Norwegian for kid’s race, will be held this Sunday at the Maasto Hiihto trails. The Sons of Norway and the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club put on the race each year for area families.

“The original idea was to give the kids something to do on a weekend in February,” said organizer Wayne Stordahl. “It was an opportunity to show off our Maasto Hiihto trail system and provide a healthy opportunity for children to get outdoors and do something.”

The Barnelopet is free and to open ages 3 to 17. Though a non-competitive race from the start, those who complete the race are awarded medals and bibs, plus hot chocolate, cookies and snacks.

“They do keep track of time though for anybody who is interested in how they’re doing from year to year or compared to somebody else,” Stordahl said.

There are four race lengths, each traveling in waves from the starting line. With the 6K to start the races off the 4K, 2K and 1K follow.

“They all use the same starting point and trail to start with some just have a shorter run than others, or a longer run,” Stordahl said.

To participate just show up. The races begin at 2 p.m. with registration starting at 1 p.m.

“We’re trying to make it more of a family affair or a family event so we are encouraging parents and older siblings to ski with the children if they want to,” Stordahl said.

The turnout usually varies based on the weather, Stordahl explained.

“We’ve had as high as 85 (kids) and as low as 25,” said Stordahl. “I guess that’s because of the cold days, windy days. Kids or parents don’t seem to want to go out there.”

If kids don’t have skis, there KNSC can reserve a pair of universal skis that fit over winter boots. Though they have an 85-pound weight limit.