After weeks of intense training, the time came for Nik Krawczyk, this year's featured skier by the Noquemanon's organizers, to hit the trails.
Nik competed in the 2012 Noquemanon's 50-kilometer free style race.
"I'd love to go under four hours, but we'll see how I feel and then gauge about halfway through and try to make a push if I feel like I can do it," said Krawczyk.
After a few moments to get in the zone, it was game on. He had officially begun the longest marathon of his life.
Nik's journey had him skiing his way through Ishpeming and Negaunee's snowy terrain before ending at the Superior Dome in Marquette.
Of course, we could not follow Nik's every skate, but we did set out to meet him at one of the aid stations along the Noquemanon route. Turns out our star skier was doing very well, in fact, he was too fast for us to even catch him cross the finish line. But he did and it only took him 3:41.
"I broke four hours, which was my goal. I'm pretty psyched about it. Yeah, I'm thrilled," Nik proclaimed with excitement.
We met some unexpected friends at the finish, including Nik's mom, who competed in the half marathon, and his dad, who volunteered as a ski official. Nik's sister, Phoebe, also took on the trails.
"I had a blast today. Yeah it was great. Conditions we're a little choppy, but it was still a good time," reflected Phoebe Krawczyk.
Turns out Nik's family, from Peshtigo, Wisconsin, has snow in their blood.
"My husband and I, Joe, we took the kids skiing when they were just knee-high to a toad stool...to see them so interested in skiing now and doing this is just fantastic. We are so thrilled," said Mary Ellen Kozak-Krawczyk.
Nik is now in his last year at Northern Michigan University, but this family of faithful skiers plan to return to the U.P. to take on the Noquemanon in the future.