It would be hard to say you got frostbite at this year’s Frostbite 50.
The Yk Multisport Club’s annual event happened on a very warm Sunday, with dozens of entrants trying their luck to ski or snowshoe a 50-km course starting at 10 a.m. and finishing at the Yellowknife Ski Club.
When it came to the skiing, Petter Jacobsen was first across the finish line in the solo men’s division as he crossed at 2:40 p.m., a total of four hours and 40 minutes. It was another win for Jacobsen as he defended his crown from 2018 but it was a slower time this year and there was a good reason why.
“The snow conditions were pretty bad this year, really loose,” he said. “Back Bay and Prosperous Lake was all loose snow, like bowls of sugar, and it made it tough to skate ski.”
Jacobsen won last year’s race in exactly four hours, crossing the finish line at the ski club at 2 p.m.
The race course saw everyone take off from the ski club at 10 a.m. with four checkpoints along the way at Walsh Lake, Prosperous Lake, Cassidy Point and the Dettah access road before finishing at the ski club. Checkpoints had to be met at a certain time and the cut-off to finish the race was 10 p.m., giving everyone 10 hours to complete the course.
The one thing which this year’s race didn’t have was cold temperatures and Jacobsen said that was the reason the snow felt like sugar.
“It was a lot firmer last year,” he said. “Walsh Lake and Cassidy Point were good for skate-skiing because it was firmer in those spots but I was double-poling on most sections. Some parts were good, some parts were bad. It’s all a part of the race.”
Doing the race isn’t something you just wake up and decide would be a good idea, he added, and training for the race was essential to putting in a good time.
“I was doing practice runs up to Prosperous Lake and I skied from Yellowknife to Walsh Lake,” he said. “It’s important to do skis of around three to four hours to prepare for something like this.
“Plus, I just like skiing long distances because it’s a hobby for me. I’m from Norway originally and Nordic skiing is what we do well.”
He plans on racing again next year to try and win another title but more than that, Jacobsen said he just enjoys being in the event.
“I’ve done this five years now and it’s become kind of a tradition for me,” he said. “It’s something to train for all-year round and it’s such a good event with lots of great volunteers and a great turnout every year. There’s lots of happy and helpful people who organize it and they make it lots of fun to be a part of.”
David MacMillan, the multisport club’s president, said this year’s Frostbite 50 may have been the busiest yet with 110 registered participants including American entries from Connecticut and Arkansas.
He also said Bob Hermanutz and his crew of volunteers did another amazing job in organizing the race.
Here are the top three finishers in each category:
Men’s solo ski
1st – Petter Jacobsen, four hours, 40 minutes
2nd – Christopher Oland, five hours, 32 minutes
3rd – Cory Dohlen, five hours, 39 minutes
Women’s solo ski
1st – Jill Vaydik, five hours, 55 minutes
2nd – Danielle Stachiw, six hours, 16 minutes
3rd – Shauna Morgan, six hours, 20 minutes
Men’s solo snowshoe
1st – Gonzalo Espinosa, seven hours, 15 minutes
2nd – Andrew Daniels, eight hours, four minutes
3rd – Greg Kinsman, eight hours, five minutes
1st – Team Alty (Rebecca Alty, Kevin Durkee, Lucassie Morrison, Alison Harrower, David MacMillan) – six hours, seven minutes
2nd (tie) – Airsealand (Robert Matthews, Mike Ward, Kevin Sheedy, Matthew Yap, Melissa Syer) – six hours, 30 minutes
2nd (tie) – Frostbite Newbies (Tracey Pope, Mariah MacDonald, Samantha Morandin, Kelly Milne, Alice Domalik) – six hours, 30 minutes
1st (tie) Javarunners 1 (Philippe Normandeau, Tegwen Jones, Len McDonald, Andrea Giesbrech) – nine hours, one minute
1st (tie) – Javarunners 2 (Austin Marshall, Theena Mercado, Doug Ashbury, Patricia Loeppky) – nine hours, one minute
Team mixed (ski and snowshoe)
1st – Snow Way To Treat Your Spouse (Clarinda Spijkerman and David Mahon) – six hours, seven minutes
source: Yk Multisport Club