North End Classic 2021 – Third Time is the Charm; Results!
After two postponements, the 2021 North End Classic ski race, presented by the North End Ski Club in Cable, went off on on Sunday, March 7. Temperatures on the original race date, February 7, and again on the first postponement date, February 14, plummeted to -25 degrees. This forced the postponement of the event for safety reasons.
Temperatures on the ultimate race day peaked at +45 F, a 70 degree swing from the lows of the original race dates. With plentiful base of snow on the trails, higher temperatures in the days leading up to the event, coupled with below freezing temps at night, snow conditions presented some challenges for the North End groomers.
“We groom with ‘light’ equipment,” explained North End Ski Club representative Ron Bergin. “Hard packed, refrozen snow can be challenging to work with.” Club groomers rose to the challenge and prepared a more than suitable course for the race. “We were apprehensive that tracks would be icy, fast, and dangerous,” he added, “but things turned out quite well and racers were pleased with what they found.”
Held on the North End Ski Trails, the North End Classic featured 25km and 12.5 km distance races. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the races started in three waves to spread skiers out on the course. Typically, both races run together with a single mass start.
Without spectators (COVID), the start and finish, although quiet, proved no less competitive. Previous North End Classic champion, Adam Swank of Duluth, Minn., edged out Isaac Wieber, also of Duluth. An exciting ski-tip-margin finish of 1:15:22.39 to Wieber’s 1:15:23:00, a .61 second difference. Completing a sweep for Duluth skiers, Tyler Kobilarcsik claimed third place honors at 1:22:43.
Bonnie Weiskopf of Stillwater, Minn., also returned to the North End Classic podium with a dominant victory. This proved good enough for fifth place overall among all finishers. Her time of 1:27:29 clocked in 20 minutes ahead of her nearest competition. Kate Williams, another Duluth skier, came in second at 1:47:47, followed by Jennifer Youngwerth of Neenah, Wis., finishing third in 1:53:52.
In the 12.5 km North End Classic, Evan Wetzel of Waukesha, Wis, skied an impressive race in 40:36. Twelve-year-old Ethan Albrecht (son of Weiskopf) cruised in at 45:58. Sam Werner of Hayward, Wis., rounded out the top three at 46:52.
For the women, Sandy Schreyer of Shoreview, Minn., claimed top honors with a solid finish of 51:40. Beth Emerson of Spooner, Wis., took second at 56:08. Jane Mandli completing the 12.5km podium in third at 1:10:33.
With many races cancelled around the region, North End Classic participants showed gratitude that the event went forward.
COVID-19 precautions included wearing face masks for all participants, volunteers, and members of the public. Racers could remove masks while racing. Other precautions including limited spectators at the start and finish, self-serve water stops, and drive up bib pick-up. Also, no post-race gathering. Otherwise, the general competition didn’t change. Unfortunately, due to all the extra precautions and participation limits, the Cookie Classic kids race did not go forward this year. It will return in 2022.
As always, the North End Ski Club gives its thanks for the generous support of many area businesses and race organizers. A a hearty thank you to 2021 North End Classic sponsors: Event Sponsors: Hayward Area Memorial Hospital/Water’s Edge, McKinney Realty, New Moon Ski and Bike Shop. Associate Sponsors: Cable Area Chamber of Commerce, Cable Chiropractic Clinic, Cresthill Resort, Redbery Books, Seeley Veterinary Clinic, Start Line Inn/Start Line Services. Supporting Sponsors: Bayfield County Tourism, Cable Lumber & Home, Coop’s Pizza Parloure, Northern Native Plantscapes, Rondeau’s.
A special thanks also goes out to the dozens of volunteers who contributed their time to help make the event a success.
The North End Classic provides a major fundraising event for the North End Ski Club and helps the club maintain the North End Trailhead and 32 km of ski trails and 6 km of snowshoe trails. For further information and complete results, please visit: