In October the news was grim.
At the annual meeting of the Brainerd Nordic Ski Club's Board of Directors it was decided the 2001 Lumberjack Jaunt would be canceled unless someone stepped forward and volunteered to be race director.
The Jaunt has been a fixture on the Brainerd winter recreation calendar since 1974. It never drew as many skiers as other, more prestigious events around Minnesota, but it always was a good time for all who ventured down to the Northland Arboretum on the first Sunday in February.
Due to the number of events -- several races, a banquet, award ceremonies and prize giveaways -- the board felt that unless a race director was in place by Nov. 10 the Jaunt could not be coordinated, said Bill Meyer, vice president of the club.
Fortunately, salvation arrived six weeks ago in the form of Chad Turcotte. The Jaunt is set for the Sunday, Feb. 4 at the Northland Arboretum. Races include a children's 1-kilometer (10:30 a.m.), adult 6- and 16-kilometer classical (11 a.m.) and adult 6- and 16-kilometer freestyle (noon). Registration is $10 for 6-kilometer races and $15 for 16-kilometer races if paid by Jan. 27. After that date registration is $15 for 6-kilometer races and $25 for 16-kilometer races. The price includes admission to a post-race banquet.
Skiers report that all area trails are in good condition. "The Arboretum and at French Rapids are really skiable right now," Meyer said.
Grooming is done with heavy-duty snowmobiles towing cutting drags and leveling drags. A crew of four, coordinated by Bob Anderson, handles grooming chores on a weekly basis. Six new lights have been installed in the middle of the Arboretum to bring the total lighted portion of the trail system to about six miles.
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