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Skiers enjoy Barnelopet

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Skiers set off at the start of Saturday’s Barnelopet in Hancock.

HANCOCK — The clang of bells welcomed skiers back as they crossed the finish line for this year’s Barnelopet Sunday.

It was the 14th year for the children’s ski race, held at the Maasto Hiihto trails in Hancock. About 50 skiers participated in this year’s event, which is a typical number, said Wayne Stordahl, board member for the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club, which organizes the race.

The Barnelopet had originally been scheduled for Feb. 7, but was postponed because of cold weather.

Skiers took part in 1-, 2-, 4- and 6-kilometer races. The 4-kilometer had the highest number of racers. Only one took part in the 6-kilometer, lower than usual.

“It’s for the kids, the youngsters, to begin with, so it’s a bonus if we get these older ones,” Stordahl said.

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Jonathan Eikenberry, 8, approaches the finish line during Sunday’s Barnelopet in Hancock.

For parents, it’s a good way to get the kids out of the house for an afternoon, Stordahl said. Many of them joined their children on the trails.

While they keep track of the times, the competitive aspect isn’t important, Stordahl said.

“Everybody gets a medal when they complete, and that’s a big thing,” he said. “The kids like to get recognized.”

There were nine volunteers on the trail, and another 12 handling tasks such as registration and handing out medals.

Jonathan Eikenberry, 8, a 2k racer, was the first from any of the groups to finish. This was his fourth year.

“I can get more kilometers in, so I can get more prizes at the end of the year,” he said.

Counting Sunday’s race, he’s logged 77, 23 shy of his winter goal of 100.

Sarah Smith of Hancock and her daughter Meta, 8, who skied the 2k, were waiting for her youngest daughter, Sybil, 5, who was finishing the 1k race.

“It’s a nice community thing we can do, kind of share our love for outdoor sports,” Sarah said. “It’s nice to see how many people love and enjoy it.”

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