The largest cross-country ski race west of the Mississippi River is slated for Sunday, March 3.
Starting near the shores of Lake Tahoe, The Great Ski Race covers 30 kilometers with 1,200 feet of uphill and 1,800 of downhill between Tahoe City and Truckee. The current record time is one hour and seven minutes, and the final contestant typically crosses the finish line in seven hours.
"The event draws skiers from around the country and around the world, including Olympic Nordic skiers and serious competitors, as well as skiers who are racing to beat their buddy or to beat last year's time," said Doug Read, race director of The Great Ski Race. "There are also skiers are out there to enjoy a ski in the woods with a bunch of friends, great soup stations and a heck of a party at the end."
Registration for the 2013 Great Ski Race is now open at www.thegreatskirace.com. Registration fees are $55 before Feb. 15, $65 from Feb. 16 to March 5, $75 if registering on race day and $25 for juniors 18 and under. The entry fee includes a pre-race package, a commemorative T-shirt, refreshments and a hot lunch at the finish, and a chance to win one of many great prizes.
The party at the finish will consist of live music and lots of laughs at Truckee's historic Cottonwood Restaurant and Bar.
The Great Ski Race - which was canceled last year due to a lack of snow - is the main fundraising event for the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization. Currently consisting of more than 100 volunteers, The Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team was conceived in 1976 as a response to the death of a boy lost off the back side of one of the Lake Tahoe ski resorts during a blizzard.
There was, at the time, no organized backcountry ski team to help search for the boy. Desperate phone calls to some local Nordic skiers produced a search party that eventually located the youth, but only after it was too late. This group of skiers, along with the boy's father (who today still remains one of the Nordic Team's active members), learned there was an important void to be filled. Thus, the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team was born.
The Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team has matured considerably over the years, but the goals remain the same: Conduct fast, safe rescues and educate the public about winter safety. Collectively, the team has an extremely high level of medical, mountain and skiing skills, with members including EMTs, emergency room nurses, firefighters, professional ski patrollers, paramedics, and MDs.
The Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team has located more than 300 individuals to date, ultimately saving lives and bringing lost loved ones home whenever possible.
Proceeds from The Great Ski Race and donations are the only source of funding for the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team. All funds raised are used to support the operations of the all-volunteer team throughout the year, as well as for winter survival and avalanche education programs sponsored and conducted by the team.