The Star-Herald

Nordic Trail Festival draws hundreds to Presque Isle

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine  — The 15th annual Nordic Trail Festival brought together hundreds of mountain bikers and hikers at one of New England’s top four-season trail venues during the first weekend of August. 

With perfect summer weather on Aug. 2 and 3, Presque Isle’s Nordic Heritage Center held its 15th annual Nordic Trail Festival, a celebration of the venue’s extensive trail network and music, food and Aroostook County’s outdoor community. 

The festival drew 150 registered mountain bikers and trail running racers, and about 200 more who came to watch and enjoy the festivities, said Mike Chasse, who helps organize the event. 

It kicked off Friday evening with a downhill mountain bike race and barbecue on the slopes of Quoggy Jo Ski Center, a community ski hill adjacent to the Nordic Heritage Center. Saturday featured a range of youth and adult races, including a six-hour bike race on an eight-mile course where individuals and teams compete for logging the most laps. 

The festival wrapped up with an evening of music by bands The Mudskippahs and Barefoot Brotherhood. County Farms of Washburn provided catered food for the event. 

“It’s all about trails, community and the lifestyle: being outside, embracing nature, being healthy, moving your body,” Chasse said. “We’ve got this incredible venue and we’re bringing people here to enjoy it.”

The event has become one of several go-to events for New England’s mountain bike community, with visitors from downstate Maine, Massachusetts and elsewhere, Chasse said. 

The Nordic Heritage Center has more than a dozen miles of four-season trails used for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, hiking and running. In late spring, summer and fall, those trails include a network of 20 miles for mountain biking designed by experts with the International Mountain Bike Association. 

This summer, the Nordic Heritage Center also added a disc golf course to its trails. 

Like other races and events hosted at the Nordic Heritage Center, the Trail Festival is made possible by hundreds of hours of volunteer work preparing the trails, stadium and lodge, Chasse said. 

“It’s a really cool community effort where a lot of people come together to share what’s so special here.”

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