Vasa Newsletter - New Years Edition 2019 - Haley’s Comments
Happy New Year Vasa Nation!
 I just finished shoveling eight inches of gorgeous powder from my driveway. (Ok, my wife did most of it. Whatever.) My inbox is exploding with sweet grooming reports from TART and from NMMBA. So I can safely report that the Nordic skiing and fat biking is awesome. The best way to start the new year is on a trail. 

The handsome, happy guy in the photo is John Roe, and he is apparently excited about his first Vasa as Race Director. Not at all a novice to outdoor competitive events, John has been racing wheeled objects ever since he was a kid downstate. He played a key role in developing the Vasa Fat Bike race, laid out the trails, recruited and headed a grooming crew, served as a Vasa board member and now has taken on the responsibility of Race Director. Hiring John for this position was the easiest decision the Vasa Board has ever made (well, except when we decided not to race across the Boardman Lake again). We are very lucky to have a guy with his talent and experience in this key spot. Say “Hey” to John when you see running around him during Vasa week.
Vasa Nation, let us be honest with each other: we do the Vasa for the hat, right? Ain’t got that swing if it don’t got that lid, right, friend-o? 
Vasa Board members Gussie Peterson and Eric Jean model the reversible hat we will be offering to Vasa racers and volunteers. Check these out. We think they are wild: kind of like Lady Gaga meets Steven Colbert. You nailed it, Eric. (Gussie wants to make sure you are looking at her hat, I guess.)                                
You have no doubt heard by now that Nordic skiing lost one of its great advocates and coaches when Vojin Baic died last month at age 89. Few people have impacted as many athletes as Vojin. He inspired hundreds of young people to train hard and with purpose, desire and technique - just for the sake of doing their best. He served as his daughter Ivanka’s “Assistant Coach” for the Traverse City Nordic Ski team. Amy Tholen Baldwin, who skied for Ivanka as a high school athlete over 20 years ago, captured Vojin’s good-natured spirit nicely:
Vojin is always in my head whenever I run or ski up a tough hill ...I hear him counting out a tempo "1,2,1,2,1,2 you cookie monster." He worked the high school Nordic team so hard and we all loved him for it. It is truly a unique coach who can push you to your limit and make you laugh at the same time. He passed his light on to so many people I feel it will never go out.

Reminder: the Midwest Nordic Rendezvous, January 4-6 at Timber Ridge resort. Still some openings. For information, email or see

That’s all I have for now, friends. Enjoy the snow!

Mike Haley
North American Vasa