The Great Nordeen Race

January 14, 2008 by  
Filed under features

The 6th annual Great Nordeen Race took place on 12 January 2008 in Bend, Oregon. This increasingly popular snow skiing event is named in honor of Emil Nordeen, a legend in the history of Central Oregon snow skiing.

The Great Nordeen Race is a very special event as authorities allow a trail to be groomed over lava flows and through hemlock, fir and pine forests in what is usually a protected area. First time racers and recreational skiers are encouraged to join in the Great Nordeen Race, which offers both manageable distance and terrain with participants having the choice of competing in either the 15 kilometer or 36 kilometer distance.

The Great Nordeen Race starts at Mt. Bachelor, with skiers following the mostly downhill course from the Sunrise Lodge. Competitors in the 36 kilometer race will continue past the 15 kilometer cut off with all competitors ending at the Wanoga Snow Park. From there buses will take competitors back to the Sunrise Lodge.

The awards dinner is the perfect end to a day of strenuous activity and is always a huge success as competitors, family and friends gather at the Bend Armory to swap stories in a casual festive atmosphere. There will be cash prizes, raffle prizes and awards to the top finishers in the overall classification as well as in the age group divisions.

Emil Nordeen was raised in Sweden and moved to Bend in 1920 where he quickly became one of a pioneering group in the burgeoning sport of snow skiing. Emil Nordeen was joint founder of the Skyliners Ski Club, along with Nels Wulfsberg, Nels Skjersaa and Chris Kostol. The club would meet regularly for hiking, mountaineering and snow skiing outings. Many considered Nordeen to be the toughest of the group and he earned himself the nicknames of “War Horse” and “Iron Man”. He secured a place in Central Oregon snow skiing history by winning the 42-mile Fort Klamath-Crater Lake ski race in 1929 and again in 1931.

Proceeds of the Great Nordeen Race benefit the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, a non-profit organization whose aim is to encourage academic achievement while promoting the positive values of competitive snow skiing, snowboarding and cycling – lofty goals which Emil Nordeen would no doubt have approved of.