HUNTSVILLE - Everything appears to be going according to plan for the 2013 National Masters Cross Country Ski Championships, which are set to go this week in Huntsville.
Around 150 competitors are expected to take part in the event, which officially started at Arrowhead Provincial Park Tuesday morning with a 10- and 20-km free technique event. The event hosted races on Thursday with more races set for Saturday and Sunday.
Event chair Peter Briand, who is also the park superintendent, said that registration stood at 138 competitors as of Monday morning, adding that he expects the final figure will be in the 150 range come the end of registration on Monday.
“There was an issue with registration for one of the races being cut off a day early, but that has been rectified,” he said on Monday.
He added that some of the racers would register and stay for the entire week, while some competitors will register for only one or two of the races, which are co-hosted by the Arrowhead Nordic Ski Club.
“Anyone can sign up for one race or for all four races. There will be some people who work during the week and will come for just the weekend races. The ones on Tuesday and Thursday will be less attended than the weekend races.”
Briand said a large number of the 150 anticipated for the championships would come from Ontario, with some local skiers part of the mix.
“There are some coming from across the country. Bruce LeGrow, the national chair of the masters board is from Newfoundland and will be here for the races,” he said.
On Thursday, there was a five-to-10-km classic race.
The championships continue Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with five-to-10-km free technique races and Sunday’s 10-to 29-km classic race starting at 9:30 a.m. All races will be wave starts.
Competitors will be able to ski the park’s trails for free on Friday.
Briand said that the trails are in good condition for the races. He said that park staff were grooming the course on Monday morning and that the snowfall in the preceding days assisted in developing a good base.
He said that some trails will be closed during the races, but added that other trails would be made available to the public during the competition. All trails would be reopened to the public once the races are over.
The event is open to skiers ages 30 and older who are members of the Canadian Masters Cross Country Ski Association.
More than 100 competitors were registered as of last Wednesday, with the oldest registrant at 86 years old.
For more information or to follow the event’s progress, visit at arrowheadnordic.ca.