Mother Nature is flexing her considerable muscles again and is altering the plans for the biggest cross-country snowmobile race in the Upper Midwest, but organizers of the event are charging forward with an alternative plan.
In a press release sent earlier today, USXC organizer Brian Nelson noted that the I-600 race — originally schedule to run from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Willmar, Minnesota, over a four-day stretch — would have to be rerouted due to marginal snow conditions in the southern third of the route.
The race — cross-country snowmobile racing’s biggest annual prize south of Alaska — will still break the historic 500-mile ceiling, but it will be limited to a little bit of Manitoba and a lot of running on the ditches, fire lanes and rivers in Northwestern Minnesota. The race starts next Thursday, February 8, in Winnipeg and wraps up Saturday, Feb. 10, in Bemidji, Minnesota.
Below is the press release from the host USXC race circuit.
IMPORTANT INFO: 2017 USXC I-600 ROUTE CHANGE
Due to deteriorating snow conditions, there will be some changes to the I-600 Winnipeg to Willmar race:
Day 1 – Feb. 8th – Race will run from Winnipeg to Thief River Falls as planned, with 2 fuel stops, 200 miles. No changes.
Day 2 – Feb. 9th – Race will be a 190 mile loop type race in the ditches and rivers of Pennington and Red Lake counties with 2 fuel stops. We will start and end at the Seven Clans Casino in TRF. Day 3 – Feb. 10th – Race will run from the Seven Clans Casino TRF to Bemidji, 125 miles with one fuel stop. There will not be a 4th day of racing.
Vintage, Classic IFS and Junior classes will race Day 3 from TRF to Bemidji. The Fuel pass 4 day will be changed to 3 days — 5 fuel stops instead of 6 — at a cost of $100. There will be refunds for those who have already submitted payment.
The Awards Banquet and dinner will be at the Sanford Center in Bemidji: Social hour at 5:00, Dinner at 6:00 and Awards at 7:00. You will still need to sign up online for tickets. Bemidji has ample hotels to choose from, with the Country Inn & Suites being located near the Sanford Center.
The Seven Clans Casino in TRF will have a special room price of $39.95, guests will need a Players Club card for that rate. They will also open for breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and will have a special dinner buffet for the racers both nights at $15.95. USXC President Brian Nelson drove the race route from TRF to Willmar Sunday afternoon. The snow from Staples south is not good enough to race on. The new race route is receiving fresh snow today, the course should be beautiful as the base was excellent and now with fresh snow on top we should have an excellent course!