Chequamegon Bay area gets ready for Book Across the Bay race

By KBJR News 1

February 14, 2014 Updated Feb 15, 2014 at 11:19 AM CST

Chequamegon Bay, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- Ashland and Washburn, Wisconsin are gearing up for a big race weekend across Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay this weekend.

What many would describe as a magical trek across Chequamegon Bay will get going on Saturday evening.

The 18th Annual “Book Across the Bay” race will include nearly four–thousand skiers and snowshoers making their way along the 10 kilometer trail

To give you an idea of what this event is like, imagine a Saturday night with bright stars and a full moon and four thousand people standing at the starting line. The gun goes off and you start to make your way across Lake Superior ice from Ashland to Washburn. The trek is about six miles and the entire trail is lit by candlelight luminaries.

People come from far away to take part in the magical night. 72–year–old Charlie Noah came up from Antigo, Wisconsin to ski across the bay for the sixth time.

"It’s a great experience. It’s a must have experience. Once you do it, then you’ll keep doing it." Said race participant, Charlie Noah.

But it’s no easy task for the small communities to put on such a big event. It takes a lot of volunteers to groom the trail, set up tents, make food, and get people signed up.

"There’s probably 50 people here, just helping me set up this, there are people on the trail right now, the Ashland tent went up on Wednesday, that was more volunteers, I mean hundreds." said organizer, Lisa David.

And the event is not just for those who are serious racers.

"If you’re a real avid racer, this is an event for you. If you want to just go out and have fun and ski, it’s a race for you. If you wanto to bring your family and snowshoe, it’s a race for you. It’s really about family and friends." Said Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce spokesperson, Mary McPhetridge.

An addition to the race this year is a fat tire bike race that takes place on Friday night. Then on Saturday there will be an expo tent at the starting line. And at the end of the day everyone is invited to participate in a big celebration, complete with fireworks and much more.

"At the finish line tents, where there’s free chili and hot cocoa for all racers. South Shore Brewery will be here. People can purchase beer and I have Fido and the Love Dogs with Cory Carlson and Randy Sabine will be here with live music.” Said David.

Race organizers say the recent snowfall has made course conditions some of the best they’ve seen in years, perfect for those booking across the bay.

If you’re interested in booking across the bay, it’s not too late to sign up.

People can register at the starting line on the day of the event.