On Saturday, over 500 racers from all over the Midwest and the Upper Peninsula registered for the Great Bear Chase cross country ski race in Calumet.
Even after 33 years, the event continues to draw in new competitors, like Iron Mountain resident Linda Smith who says she's nervous. This is her first time competing in the 14k.
"Actually itâ??s my only ski race," explained Smith. "I've done a couple biathlonsâ?|this is my first time where it's all just skiing."
However, returning competitors in the 50k know the challenge they're about to tackle and waste no time stretching out and suiting up.
"Thirty-two miles is a lot," said Hancock resident, Chriss Marr. "Being local here, I've done the course quite a few times. It's a good, fast course."
Some even equipped themselves with snacks for quick race pick-me-ups.
"In a three hour race, your body burns a lot of sugar and fat," explained competitor, Roger Bird. "You need to resupply that food in your system or youâ??ll start to cramp up, and youâ??ll really fade your energy."
At the end of the day, skiers say regardless of who gets the gold, they all leave with the pride of finishing.