Nearly 100 cross-country ski enthusiasts dressed up and hit the Snow Farm’s trails at high speed last Saturday.
In an informal event reminiscent of the “old days”, skiers celebrated the skifield’s 42km international race despite its cancellation due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The World Loppet-accredited Merino Muster race was originally scheduled for September 4.
There was not a world-class Canadian, Russian or United States skier in sight, instead athletes included a mooing cow, a couple of witches, a masked woman and crowds of young pirates and superheroes.
The race has not been held as an international event since 2019.
Before Covid-19, the Snow Farm was a summer training base for international ski teams preparing for world-class events and the muster was a chance for recreational skiers to compete alongside top national and international athletes, much like a city marathon.
Hawea Flat skier Campbell Wright repeated his success last year when he blitzed the 21km course in 47min 40sec.
He is heading overseas soon to train in Italy for the biathlon world cup season.
Races were held over 7km, 14km and 21km, followed by a prizegiving and barbecue.
A 1km race was also held for the under-10s after the main races, and proved to be the highlight of the day, attracting enthusiastic cheering.
Snow Farm co-founder Mary Lee said the groomed snow conditions were excellent.
“It was back to the old days with registration on the day and no entry fees. Medals and commemorative Captain Cam stuffed sheep were awarded to all finishers,” she said.
The skifield opened again on Sunday for closing day.
Captain Cam 7km Male; 7km Female:
1. Baxter Pollard 19.51; 1. Hana Jones 25.37
2. Olsin Corbett 20.03; 2. Elli Kiuru 29.34
3. Jack Wyeth 22.11; 3. Delwyn Moller 30.59
14km Male; 14km Female:
1. Steve Maluschnig 41.54; 1. Kathy Deacon 56.19
2. David O’Sullivan 48.52; 2. Marie Cramp 1.08.07
3. Ian McNabb 51.32; 3. Sara Waters 1.09.32
21km Male; 21km Female:
Sonja Mueller 55.12
2. Jason Sklenar 50.23; 2. Olivia Jones 1.03.27
3. Jason MacDonald 54.49; 3. Rachel Brown 1.08.08
Mini Merino Male; Mini Merino Female:
1. Billy Dean 1.41; 1. Elli Kiuru 1.29
2. Oiva Kiuru 1.45; 2. Anikka Viitakanaas 1.30
3. Soren Viitakanaas 5.49; 3. Elsie Graham 1.49