Iron Range, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Hundreds of eager cross country skiers couldn't have picked a better day to be a part of the Pepsi Challenge Cup Cross Country Ski Race, on the Iron Range.
Now in its 30th year, the race attracts skiers of all ages, pitting rookies against veterans, and serves as an American Birkebeiner qualifier.
A solid 18 inch snow base Saturday morning greeted the waves of Nordic skiers of all ages that took part in one of five races making up the Pepsi Challenge Cross Country Ski Race, at Giant's Ridge in Biwabik.
Some of those taking part in the race's 30th anniversary have been doing so since day one, as symbolized by the honorary red race bibs.
Hibbing High School sophomore Julia Plummer may not be in one of those bibs, but her commitment to the sport would rival any veteran.
Plummer is a product of the Hibbing Nordic Ski Team, and their weekly training routines up and down the hills of the Iron Range have prepared her for this day.
"This is kind of a hilly course, so I think we'll be prepared for that," said Plummer.
One thing no one was missing on Saturday: below zero temperatures that have plagued the Northland throughout this harsh winter.
"Yes, it's been so cold."
"It's been a really tough winter with the weather conditions... and the wind chills. Today's day is absolutely perfect," said Rosalind Plummer, Julia's mom.
Plummer's mother Rosalind knows her daughter's passion for Nordic skiing, and recognizes her competitive streak.
"There are some members of the team... out here. They just have fun with it, [but] it's still a race to them," said Rosalind.
But when the event's final race-the 10K-gets underway, Plummer isn't hoping for 1st place; just the satisfaction of giving it her all, and the promise that next year will bring about another race day.
"...just to continue it throughout my life, and... to have fun with it."
Next week, Giant's Ridge will host its spring carnival, which will include the annual Slush Cup, costume contest, and live music.
Posted to the web by: Elsa Robins