The Outfitter Loppet is a point-to-point backcountry adventure unlike any other! Nordic skiers travel 16 miles of freshly groomed trail from from Harbor Springs to Cross Village passing through some of the most scenic terrain in northern MI. The Loppet is undertaken in any weather and on classic nordic ski gear. It’s not a race, and skiers go at their own pace stopping whenever and wherever they wish along the trail. What’s more, the route is accessible to registered Loppeters only and only once a year on this day. So come join us for this one-of-a-kind winter adventure!
Select your mileage from a point-to-point route running 16 miles (give or take) between LaCount Rd (west of State Rd) at Laura and Vern Kors’ barn and the Crow’s Nest restaurant on State Rd just south of Cross Village. The single-track trail is freshly groomed the morning of for classic skis (so don’t bring your skate skis!) and marked at junctions. There are two other trailheads, with aid stations and parking, along the way where you can start or stop: Middle Village Road (west of State Rd) and Wormwood Lane (west of State Rd). Beware of two major road crossings at Stutsmansville and Robinson Roads. Use caution and heed to vehicles as they won’t be expecting a “skier crossing”.
The Nordic Loppet is low-key and low-tech: there is no official check-in desk or starting gate, no bibs or wrist bands, no timing system of fastest finisher awards. Cell phone reception is unreliable at best and mostly nonexistent. Ski at your own risk– trail junctions are well marked and aid stations are supplied with blister and first aid kits, but otherwise you’re on your own out there.
Note: Departure time from LaCount Rd is 9:30-10:00am. Please do not begin before 9:30am as you will be meddling with the groomers strategic plan and breathing their fumes!
There are two aid stations – Middle Village Road and Wormwood Lane – supplied with water, oranges and cookies. Mole skin for blisters and duct tape for on-trail repairs will be available. Middle Village Rd will be open only from 10:15am-12:30pm. Plan to supply your own water and snacks if you arrive at another time. Parking is available at both aid stations for skiers who wish to ski a section of the trail rather than the full route.
The shuttling of cars between LaCount Road and the Crow’s Nest is up to you. Typically you can find a ride from the Crow’s Nest back to LaCount Rd but may need to wait awhile.
The Crow’s Nest awaits with a full-on skiers buffet with homemade pizza, other hot dishes, salads, desserts and more. Drinks are also included. Bob and Anne Vala, owners, and their friendly crew welcome tired and sweaty skiers in with northern hospitatlity. Due to limited seating, there is space for registered skiers only at the Crow’s Nest. A short ceremony will take place at 2:00PM’ish. Please note that swag/giveaways from years past is now on hiatus–we will be handing out a few honorary awards instead. Festivities at the Crow’s Nest run from 12:00-3:00pm.
Classic ski rentals (skis, boots and poles) are available at The Outfitter. Please stop by in advance to be fitted and to pick up your gear.
Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. There is no day-of registration at the LaCount Rd trailhead and payments cannot be made at The Crow’s Nest. Fee is $35 per skier through Wednesday, January 29. Starting Thursday, January 30th, the fee is $40. Fee covers freshly groomed (the morning of!) trail with marked junctions, aid stations with snacks and water plus the hot and tasty buffet including 2 drinks at The Crow’s Nest.
In Person: The Outfitter at 153 E Main St in Harbor Springs
By Phone: 231-526-2621