Race Guide

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Skiers – read the information about how things will work the day of the event.

The 2021 Great Bear Chase will look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for your support!

  • We have added a virtual event for 2021.
  • We have reduced most entry fees by $5 for 2021.
  • When registering, skiers will choose a corral with a specific start time.
  • Should the Great Bear Chase be cancelled due to COVID-19, skiers can choose to apply their registration fee to the 2022 race.
  • 2021 registration will close March 8 at 11:59 pm.
  • Race changes will not be accepted after March 8 at 11:59 pm.
  • We will not have a pasty lunch in the school gym this year, but pasties will still be available for all in-person racers via a drive-through service at the CLK school.
  • The number of racers is currently capped at 550. This could change based on state of Michigan requirements and/or organizer discretion.
  • The CLK Rotary Spaghetti dinner will not be taking place this year.
  • Spectators will not be allowed in the start/finish area or at the Swedetown chalet.

The UP Health System Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon has something for everyone and enough snow to go around, even in March!  The Great Bear Chase has earned a reputation as a skier-oriented weekend that allows skiers of all experience levels to finish their season with a high quality event.

  • 50 km skiathlon (limited to 75 entries – currently at 72 as of 3/5/21)
  • 50 km freestyle (limited to 125 entries – currently at 116)
  • 50 km classic (limited to 25 entries – FULL)
  • 25 km freestyle (limited to 125 entries – FULL; waitlist available)
  • 25 km classic (limited to 100 entries – currently at 78)
  • 10 km freestyle (limited to 50 entries – FULL)
  • 10 km classic (limited to 50 entries – FULL)
  • Virtual event available for all distances

Weekend Schedule

Please note, all times are Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Bib Pickup

Bib pickup at the UP Health System-Portage Fitness Center, 921 W. Sharon Ave., Houghton (race packets can be picked up by others).

Thursday, March 11, 2021

3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Bib Pickup

Bib pickup at the UP Health System-Portage Fitness Center, 921 W. Sharon Ave., Houghton (race packets can be picked up by others).

Friday, March 12, 2021

4:15-8 p.m.
Bib Pickup

Drive-through bib pickup at Calumet High School, 57070 Mine Street, Calumet, MI 49913. Race packets can be picked up by others.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

6:30 – 9 a.m.
Bib Pick-Up

Drive-through bib pickup at Calumet High School, 57070 Mine Street, Calumet, MI 49913. Race packets can be picked up by others.

8:00 – 10:15 a.m.
Race Starts

All races will begin and finish near Spruce Street in Calumet (see the map for start/finish and parking)!

Skiers will choose a corral with a specific start time during the registration process, with no more than 25 skiers starting at once. Timing will start as soon as you cross the start line.

Start times:

  • Corral 1 – 8:00 am – Skiathlon
  • Corral 2 – 8:05 am – Skiathlon
  • Corral 3 – 8:10 am – Skiathlon
  • Corral 4 – 8:20 am – 50 km Classic
  • Corral 6 – 8:35 am – 50 km Freestyle
  • Corral 7 – 8:40 am – 50 km Freestyle
  • Corral 8 – 8:45 am – 50 km Freestyle
  • Corral 9 – 8:50 am – 50 km Freestyle
  • Corral 10 – 8:55 am – 50 km Freestyle
  • Corral 11 – 9:05 am – 25 km Freestyle
  • Corral 12 – 9:10 am – 25 km Freestyle
  • Coral 13 – 9:15 am – 25 km Freestyle
  • Corral 14 – 9:20 am – 25 km Freestyle
  • Corral 14b – 9:25 am – 25 km Freestyle
  • Corral 15 – 9:30 am – 25 km Classic
  • Corral 16 – 9:35 am – 25 km Classic
  • Corral 17 – 9:40 am – 25 km Classic
  • Corral 18 – 9:45 am – 25 km Classic
  • Corral 19 – 9:55 am – 10 km Freestyle
  • Corral 20 – 10:00 am – 10 km Freestyle
  • Corral 21 – 10:10 am – 10 km Classic
  • Corral 22 – 10:15 am – 10 km Classic

Race Finish: Upon finishing, racers should proceed directly to their cars. There will not be bag drop or warming buses at the finish area. A Finish Line aid station will supply to-go bags for skiers. Spectators are not allowed in the start/finish area. Please plan ahead!

Post Race
Free Pasty Lunch

All in-person racers will receive a to-go lunch, including a pasty and cinnamon roll, via a drive-through service at the Calumet High School.  The school’s locker rooms and showers will not be open for use this year. Please plan ahead!

Post Race
Awards and Door Prizes

Overall and age group awards will be offered, but there will not be an awards ceremony. All awards will be mailed this year, which will allow time for official results to come in. All in-person racers will once again be eligible for door prizes. Updated age groups can be found below under each race category.

Other Information

  • Please, no dogs at the event – to assure the safety of skiers and spectators, no pets are allowed anywhere on the event grounds, including the stadium, the course, spectator areas, and the CLK schools.
  • No spectators in the start/finish or at the Swedetown Chalet
  • Trail markings will be clear, with markers every 2 km.
  • Aid Stations – There will be one aid stations where skiers can refill their bottles with water or energy drink (14km and 40km). Racers should be self-supporting for food; aid stations will not have food this year.
  • 50km minimum age is 17.
  • Safety personnel from UP Health System, Mercy EMS and local First Responders will be on hand and in radio contact with check points.
  • Results are available as the race progresses at www.superiortiming.com
  • Photos – Racers will receive an email when photos are available for free download.

Map – Registration, parking, race start/finish

Race Descriptions / Maps

25 km & 50 km Great Bear Chase Race Course

Download a PDF of the 25/50km course

50 km Skiathlon Race

The 50km Skiathlon features a combined competition of 25 km classic skiing followed by 25 km freestyle skiing. The two lap course is perfect for one lap of striding and one lap of skating.

The Great Bear Chase 50K Skiathlon is part of the CXC Marathon Cup. Sanctioned and scored by Central Cross Country Skiing (CXC), the Cup includes races in each of the three main states in the region – two races in Michigan, two in Wisconsin, and three in Minnesota.

Fast Facts:

  • Male and Female age groups: 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+
  • Register Here!

50 km Freestyle Race

The 50 km freestyle is the most competitive race at the Great Bear Chase. This race features master skiers from all over the Midwest as they come out in one last hurrah for the season! It’s also a popular event for college skiers throughout the region who finish their season in the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula.

Fast Facts:

50 km Classic Race

Classic skiers want – and deserve – their own 50 km race, and the Great Bear Chase delivers. The 50 km classic skiers two passes through the Great Bear Chase course.

Fast Facts:

25 km Freestyle Race

The 25 km freestyle provides an excellent end-of-season goal for serious racers and mainstream recreational skiers alike.

Fast Facts:

25 km Classic Race

The 25 km classic race appeals to those who want the traditional experience of a half marathon, as well as those who like to “tour” for a morning. Many master skiers and serious recreational skiers use this as their goal for the season.

Fast Facts:

10 km Great Bear Chase Race Course

Download a PDF of the 10km course.

10 km Freestyle Race

Come out and experience the Great Bear Chase and Swedetown Trails. This event simplifies the course by cutting out some of the tougher technical downhills, but still gives racers the beauty of Swedetown Trails and The Great Bear Chase, and includes a couple challenging loops.

Fast Facts:

10 km Classic Race

The course is suitable for intermediate skiers and is a great way to take your first step into Nordic ski racing.

Fast Facts: