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MECCA Winterfest goes virtual with ski races due to poor snow conditions

Katie Thoresen

Mike Shouldice is a longtime volunteer of the MECCA Trails in Mercer. He can’t remember a winter quite like this one.

“Last year we probably had 75 inches of snow already,” said Shouldice. “Last season, MECCA grooming teams went out 98 times during the course of the winter. This year, we've only been out four times.”

The latest storm did bring enough snow for MECCA to open the cross-country ski trails, but they’re still in early season condition.

“Our base is still very thin and so we're advising people to use their rock skis and there will be some bare spots,” Shouldice said. “Our grooming teams have been out and have packed the trails and combed the trails, but we haven't been able to set the tracks yet for classic skiers.”

Given the current trail conditions and lack of snow in the forecast, MECCA decided to cancel the ski race it had planned for this Saturday, January 20.

Racers can still participate virtually.

The virtual races were something MECCA started during the height of the pandemic and have seen success with.

Racers participating virtually in four different races of varying lengths. The courses are all marked at MECCA.

“Skiers will keep their own time just on their smartphone or wristwatch and then turn in their times after they have completed that race. We encourage people to ski the course numerous times and turn in their best time to be eligible for prizes,” said Shouldice.

Racers have until February 19 to submit their times.

Proceeds from Winterfest support the trails and facilities at MECCA.

You can find race information and trail conditions on MECCA’s website.

MECCA does still plan to hold its candlelight ski, snowshoe, and hike on January 27.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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