News & Stories

Columbia Sportswear Skate Marathon – Sunday Recap
February 10, 2016

In the dark early hours Sunday morning, Loppet Foundation Executive Director John Munger inspected the 42k course. Freezing rain and sleet had fallen for a very short time Saturday night, but course crews worked very hard all afternoon and evening preparing for Sunday’s point-to-point races and it showed as the corduroy was perfect, few bare spots were visible and the conditions were very fast.

In first place for men was Alex Vanias, 25 of Traverse City, MI with a time of 1:51:21. He won the race by almost a minute. The 14th Annual City of Lakes Loppet Festival was Vanias’ first Loppet ever and he had just picked up nordic skiing recently. This was only his second time on a skiing podium, and what a race to do it in! When asked how the race went, Vanias said, “I had a tricky time at the start because my pole strap slipped out. I moved back in the start line to fix it and then had to work my way up throughout the race probably passing 60 people.” He went on to say, “The course was fast and a lot of fun! The course crew did a great job!”

Rounding out the top three for men was Chris Pappathopoulos, 35 of Sun Prairie, WI in second place with a time of 1:52:17 and Mark Johnson, 28 Minneapolis, MN with a time of 1:55:01 in third place.

Finishing in first for women in the Columbia Skate and fifteenth overall with a time of 1:59:35 was Alice Flanders of Crystal, MN. She won the women’s race by a dominating six and a half minutes. Flanders grew up locally in Golden Valley and said, “It feels so nice coming home to ski my home course of Theodore Wirth Park.” This was her first Loppet ever and she love the point-to-point urban course. When asked how she felt during the race, she said, “I was very thankful for [Tim Donahue and Tyler Gilbert] the 2-guys that I skied along with throughout the race because they really pushed me to ski a lot harder and faster than I would have on my own.”

In second for women was Natalja Naryshkina, 31 of Verona, WI in 2:06:06 and in third Kim Rudd, 44 of Plymouth, MN with a time of 2:06:36.

Overall, many of the skate racers were thrilled about the fast skiing conditions, fantastic number of spectators, nice February weather and long Loppet point-to-point course.

Click here for the full Columbia Sportswear Skate Results.