Tour of Meissner

Tour of Meissner 2020 | Photo by Meissner Nordic

Tour of Meissner

A classic-only ski tour that takes place the third weekend of January each year, the Tour of Meissner highlights Meissner Nordic’s 47 kms of impeccably groomed trails at Virginia Meissner Sno-Park, 15 miles outside of Bend, Oregon. 

The Tour of Meissner has been designed to remind regional Nordies, new and veteran, how great classic skiing can be. Join us in January to spend part of your day kicking and gliding through 17 km or 30 kms of rolling terrain while experiencing the charm of Meissner and its unique community of skiers.

A Look Back at the History of the Tour

Written February 2023

Like the Olympic Games, the Tour of Meissner has persevered through two different eras, including COVID. We affectionately refer to each of these periods with tongue in cheek as the “Modern Tour” and the “Ancient Tour”.

Modern Tour: 2020-present

2023: Ben Husaby, race veteran and coach, assumed the race director position this year, with former race director and founder David Smullin acting as advisor. The 2023 Tour had the biggest turnout yet, with a combined 163 skiers finishing the 30km course and the new 17km course.

Excerpt from “A Quest Toward Greatness:  The 2023 Tour of Meissner”
By: Cynthia Engel, FasterSkier, January 29, 2023

[T]he 2023 edition of the Tour of Meissner has evolved to become a highlight on the annual calendar.  163 people shimmied up to the start line this year to test their kick on either the 17 km or 30 km course. …. [Race director Ben Husaby reflected on the event]: “I’ve been Nordic skiing around the world for nearly 50 years and there’s something really unique about Meissner.  Meissner is a happy place to ski for every type of skier.  I wanted this Tour to showcase this special place while also creating something for everyone regardless of skills or fitness levels.”

2022: Race director David Smullin switched the Tour back to a mass start race with the start/finish area returned to Meissner after adapting for COVID in 2021. The field regained its momentum, growing to 77 skiers.

Excerpt from “Tour of Meissner brings out the classic racers”
By Central Oregon Daily News Sources | Saturday, January 29th 2022

Blue bird skies and perfectly groomed ski trails greeted racers for the Tour of Meissner Saturday. The 30-kilometer ski race was held at Virginia Meissner Sno-Park. The race, or tour if participants weren’t feeling sporty, featured the classic style of Nordic skiing. …. Race director and ski coach David Smullin competed on wooden skis. “Fun to race on, I loved it,” said Smullin. One of only two tackling the tracks on old-school wooden skis, Smullin also used bamboo poles and wore one of former Olympic biathlete Jay Bowerman’s ski suits. His nostalgia for wooden skis starts before he hits the snow, while prepping the base of the 40-something-year-old planks. “For people who’ve done this it brings back memories you have to pine tar this and you get the smell of the pine tar,” said Smullin.

2021: In the midst of the COVID winter, race director David Smullin adapted by switching the Tour to an interval start format instead of a mass start. The start and finish areas were moved to Swampy Sno-Park to limit potential COVID complications and the course was redesigned to the current 30-kilometer version. Despite the challenges, 57 eager skiers participated in the event.

2020: After 2011 the Tour disappeared until 2020 when founder and race director David Smullin revived it as the “No Frills Tons O’ Fun Tour of Meissner”, a 33-kilometer classic event. Smullin’s original idea was intended to highlight the amazing classic ski terrain and grooming at Virginia Meissner Sno-Park and make it a low-cost, low-barrier event accessible to all. The first version of the modern Tour was limited to 100 participants (and drew 93) to limit the impact on the non-racing public.

Ancient Tour: 2009-2011

In 2009, community ski coach David Smullin designed the original “Tour de Meissner” as an untimed, free 27K classic tour highlighting many of the groomed trails at Meissner. The original course was similar to the current course. Tracks were set, the course signed and there was a race clock at the start/finish for skiers to self-time. The Tour was re-invented as a freestyle event in 2010 and 2011 by Bend Endurance Academy founder Ben Husaby. Discover the joys of those early years by exploring the photo album and reading a Bulletin article about the 2011 Tour featuring race director and cycling coach, Bill Warburton.

Excerpt from “Skiers turn out for Tour de Meissner”
Amanda Miles / The Bulletin Published Feb 13, 2011

The Tour de Meissner offered something for pretty much everyone Saturday. The community ski festival, which took place in somewhat blustery conditions under hazy skies at Virginia Meissner Sno­park southwest of Bend, provided racing and touring opportunities for both the experienced racer and the novice skier. “Overall, the course turned out fantastic,” said Bill Warburton, cycling director for the Bend Endurance Academy and the event’s race director. “People are posting really fast times. Everybody seemed to really like the course.” BEA hosted the event, along with Tumalo Langlauf Club/Meissner Nordic. Skiers chose to race or tour a 15­kilometer course throughout the sno­park using either skate or classic technique, and youths had their own moment in the limelight with a three­kilometer event to kick off the morning’s festivities.

Warburton said Saturday was the first time the event was held in its current format. In 2009, the tour was untimed. Last year, it was held later in the season on a rainy day, hampering the turnout. This year, the 15­kilometer distance and the kids race were both new features. Fifty participants finished the 15K race and tour, and 32 skiers finished the kids race.