CALUMET - In advance of the annual Great Bear Chase, younger skiers got their own chance to compete Friday at the Junior Bear Chase at the Swedetown Trails.
Seventy-four skiers participated in this year's event, which included 1-, 2- and 4-kilometer races.
For many of the younger skiers, the Junior Bear Chase and the Barnelopet are the only competitive skiing they do in the winter, said race director Dave Wanless.
Under-6 skiers at the annual Junior Bear Chase chase the pace-setting bear shortly after the start of the 1-kilometer classic race at the Swedetown Trails Friday. The race precedes the Great Bear Chase, which happens today in Calumet.
"It's a good opportunity for kids," he said. "They have fun doing it."
The race is put on the Copper Country Ski Tigers, which provides instruction for area children ages 5 to 17. The Junior Bear Chase wraps up eight weeks of classes, and is then followed by a picnic in the snow, said Joe Stone, president of the Ski Tigers, who has five children in the group.
"Some of the kids are 5, 6, and they're in their first race," he said. "They get to race in front of their friends and family. They get a cool cookie and medal."
Angie Grunert, a Houghton fifth-grader, was awaiting the start of her 2K race. She started skiing after moving to the area two years ago.
"We just looked up some races we could do up here, and we found this race," she said.
"It's nice. There's a lot of great skiers."
After their races, skiers received medals and cookies, and for top finishers, commemorative stuffed animals.
The first-place winners in Friday's races (girls and boys):
1K classic (under 6): Esme Schmidt, Markus Miller
1K classic (under 8): Alaina Eles, Henry Lovibas
2K freestyle (under 10): Sage Resh Chimner, Bodi Neumann
2K freestyle (under 12): Maria Velat, Daniel Lyle
2K classic (under 10): Lucia Haggenmiller, Birk Seagren
2K classic (under 12): Catlynn Borlek, Tanner Guidar
4K freestyle (under 12): Abigail Stone, Mike Healey
4K freestyle (under 14): Gretchen Haggenmiller, Joseph Wood
4K freestyle (under 16): N/A, Thomas Lyle