Ready, Set, Ski

MiSSeries takes skiers around Minnesota

Photo courtesy of Explore Minnesota Tourism

Neither citizen skiers with a little bit of a competitive edge nor anyone who enjoys getting a full body workout in the snowy outdoors can feign post-holiday boredom. There’s a whole state of winter wonderland to explore, with a race series that brings skiers and their families to the scene and culture of six different communities.

For six consecutive weeks, starting in mid-January, the Minnesota Skinnyski Series (MiSSeries for short) will captivate Minnesota cross-country skiers. Each weekend, the series travels to a different city—including stops in northern Wisconsin and Little Falls, both new in the MiSSeries’ second year—where brightly and tightly clad skiers will zip along two dozen kilometers of snowy trails. Think of it as a kind of Midwest Tour de France on skis, where bundled spectators bang cowbells to urge competitors on and post-race celebrations transform even the smallest town’s Main Street into one hot spot.

The MiSSeries 2007 lineup:
• Seeley Hills Classic, Jan. 13 in Seeley, Wis.
• Pepsi Challenge, Jan. 20 in Biwabik
• Governor’s Cup, Jan. 27 in Little Falls
• City of Lakes Loppet, Feb. 4 in Minneapolis
• Mora Vasaloppet, Feb. 11 in Mora
• Minnesota Finlandia, Feb. 17 in Bemidji

All courses are about 25 kilometers, except the well-known 35K Vasaloppet. Two of the races—the City of Lakes Loppet and the Seeley Hills Classic—feature classic-style track skiing. The others are freestyle skate-ski courses.

Although it’s aimed at the 30-and-older set, anyone may compete in any or all races in the open-registration series. An age-indexed system ensures 70-year-olds can be competitive against 20-somethings. Those who complete all six courses are recognized as part of the “160K Club.” And don’t forget the grand prize: a trip to Iceland to compete in the international Fossavatn Ski Marathon. (Don’t think it sounds far fetched; last year’s MiSSeries women’s champion, 43-year-old Mary Beth Tuttle, also won at Fossavatn.)

Interested skiers can learn more on the MiSSeries website, www.minnesotaskinnyskiseries.com.

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