ISHPEMING — A lot of work in the last decade has paid off in a big way for the City of Ishpeming.
The International Ski Federation recently certified the cross–country ski courses at the Al Quaal Recreation Area. The FIS certification allows the city to host future ski races, like the NCAA Central Regional Championships that were at Al Quaal just last month.
Hosting any FIS competition would bring around nine hundred to a thousand skiers, coaches and teams to the area.
“I’m super excited about and the future of this course and the opportunities that will have now at this point,” said Sten Fjeldheim, head coach of the NMU Nordic Ski Team. “I’m also very thankful to the City of Ishpeming, Jon Kangas, Jay Wilder and his crew.”
“They had this vision. I think we might have started on these trails close to ten years ago. It takes time. The trail has a life of its own; you make changes on it. To get that kind of work done and to get people who are willing to do it, it’s been great,” added Fjeldheim.”
“Any race that would occur in the United States we can host if we have the right course for the race that’s going to happen,” said Jon Kangas, Public Works Director for the City of Ishpeming. “We have four courses certified. We have a 5K, 3.3K, 2.5K and a 2K Sprint Course for freestyle races.”
Kangas added that officials with the U.S. Ski Association were very instrumental in helping get the courses certified.