Barnelopet ski race has trail tweaks due to flood

Photo provided by The Barnelopet children’s ski race celebrates its 12th anniversary Sunday. The event is free for the whole family.

HANCOCK — The annual Barnelopet ski race is scheduled for Sunday, according to John Diebel of the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club.

The race will be staged on the Maasto Hiihto ski trails. Registration is open for kids ages 3-17 years old, from 1-1:45 p.m. at the Four Seasons Chalet in Hancock. This event is free for the whole family.

“This will be our 12th year for the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club to stage the Barnelopet, in close partnership with the Sons of Norway Ulseth Lodge,” Diebel said.

Both organizations provide a number of volunteers to help with registration and managing the course. This year’s event is sponsored by the Portage Health Auxiliary to promote a healthy winter activity to the area’s youth as a free event.

Barnelopet is Norwegian for “kid’s race,” especially for the community’s youngest skiers, states the KNSC website. It is a timed, but non-competitive ski race, routed over four different courses, which are dependent upon the skier’s ability.

“We feature a 1 km, 2 km, 4 km and 6 km course to match the ability of any skiers from the youngest through 17 years old,” Diebel said. “We encourage parents who want to ski with their children of any age. It really is a fun, family event.”

Diebel added that skiers who complete their event will receive a medal and healthy snacks after crossing the finish line.

The terrain used for the 1-4 km courses is gentle, he said, though the 6 km has a couple more challenging hills for the older skiers.

In the past, the 6 km course has run down the length of the Swedetown Gorge trails, then back up Sisu Hill, to the finish line.

Due to residual damage from last June’s flood, this year the 6 km course has been rerouted but will still offer a smaller taste of the gorge before circling back to the Chalet.

“We expect to attract about 100 skiers to the event this year,” said Diebel, “with trail conditions and weather expected to be excellent for Sunday’s event.”