north american vasa

The 45th Annual Vasa Festival of Races in Traverse City has been canceled due to COVID-19.
Roger Hagerman

The 45th annual North American Vasa Festival of Races has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. After exploring other options, the Vasa board unanimously voted on Tuesday night to call off the event.

TC skier finds healing on the trails

Feb 8, 2019
Roger Hagerman

Many of the best cross-country skiers in Michigan will line up in Traverse City this weekend for the 43rd annual North American Vasa ski races.

One of those skiers is local resident Anders Gillis, who won the 34-kilometer classic race last year. 

Anders was not always in shape for a ski marathon. After a personal tragedy, the lifelong athlete fell into depression and put on significant weight. 

Loggers needed to clear VASA trails, says DNR

Sep 24, 2015
Aaron Selbig

Cleaning up tree debris along the VASA pathway has proven too much for local forestry officials. The state Department of Natural Resources plans to hire a timber company to harvest trees from the hard-hit Acme Creek valley.

Unit Manager Dave Lemmien says his crew has been clearing debris along the VASA trails for weeks but there is one segment of the pathway that received a lot of damage.

"It’s more than (what) just us with chainsaws can handle," says Lemmien. "So we need to have a logger come into the area to clear the path.”

Sara Hoover

Almost 200 people filled a room at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center Monday night to debate a new use for the Vasa Pathway.

A new type of bicycle has exploded in popularity, and for the first time cross-country skiers are sharing their trails with fat-tire bikers. 

Emotional Topic

Fat Tire Fate On Vasa Will Get Public Hearing

Apr 7, 2014
Courtesy of Einstein Cycles

Fat-tire bikes have become a popular winter sport, but they’re not too popular on the Vasa Pathway. The bicycles are a new trend. They’re designed for use on packed snow. 

Some skiers would like to ban them from the trail near Traverse City. Pete LaPlaca is board president of the North American Vasa Ski Race. He says there are safety concerns.

"Our trails are only 11 to 12 feet wide, which makes it difficult for passing or sharing the trails," he says. "Most of the trail systems are 20 feet or more in width and there’s much more room for passing."

The trail is on state land. And the Department of Natural Resources is asking for public comments.

Snow Great For Vasa Ski Race

Feb 7, 2014

Winter has been long and hard for the entire Midwest but it's been great for Nordic skiers. Both skiers and Vasa organizers hope it will reinvigorate a sport that has been declining in recent years. Jacob Wheeler reports.