Skiers pay tribute to the skiing mailman of McKenzie Pass


The John Craig Memorial Ski Tour and Race returned Saturday to the delight of a couple of hundred nordic skiers.

The Oregon Nordic Club hosted the event, which got its start in the 1930s.

“This is really bringing together how many people who are really involved with cross country skiing around the state,” said Ted Scheinman with the Portland Chapter of the ONC.

The day honors Craig, a pioneer postmaster who carried mail across the pass by horse in the summer and skis in the winter.

He was found dead in his shack near the top of the pass in the winter of 1877.

“I had never heard of it before actually and when I heard the story I was so excited to be a part of it,” said skier Sarah Allen of Bend.

The Mount Jefferson Snowmobile Club groomed the course from the snow gate west of Sisters to the Dee Wright Observatory.

The road is a popular biking destination after the snow melts and before ODOT opens the gates, but for many Saturday’s ski was a first.

“Didn’t know what it would feel like on skate skis compared to a bicycle, but it wasn’t so bad,” said Bend skier Joseph Spampinato.

Most skiers opted for a leisurely tour, and the self timed racers skated for bragging rights.

“And I lived. Didn’t carry any mail, just good intentions,” added Spampinato.

You can read the story of John Craig on the Oregon Nordic Club’s website.


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