After a snowed-out event in 2019 and a cancellation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and management upheaval at Spirit Mountain, fans of the Duluth National Snocross will likely be disappointed to learn that Duluth will again not be on the schedule this season.
The International Series of Champions, the organizers of the Amsoil Championship Snocross series, is expected to announce its schedule Saturday, but Duluth won't be on the schedule. According to Spirit Mountain's interim executive director, Ann Glumac, the main issue came down to timing when she spoke with Snocross officials.
"When we talked sometime this winter, they told me that their organization is changing their event calendar," Glumac said. "Rather than starting the season in November, they were moving it up to start in January."
The Duluth event has always been ahead of the rest of the race calendar, as it's traditionally been held over Thanksgiving weekend. Glumac said race officials asked about the possibility of shifting the Duluth race to later in the season.
"They were having issues with climate change and ensuring there was enough snow. So we talked about a date at the start of April," Glumac said. "I said that would be something we'd be happy to talk further about as there are a lot of advantages for us. The snow is already made, the ski season is already complete and that made things easier on our end."
However, a few weeks later when Glumac and the race official talked again, she was informed the season had already been filled and that they'd talk again about hosting the event in 2023.
"They said the dates and locations for the spring have already been set and so there wasn't an opportunity to even continue the discussion at that point," Glumac said. "So we left it that way and said we'd connect again next winter."
For Judnick Motorsports team owner Scott Judnick, the disappointment is palpable.
“I'm so disappointed because we’ve loved having the race here. We’d start training for the week after Labor Day, as it was always the first race on the schedule,” Judnick said. “There’s nothing like the home race to start the year.”
Judnick, who sits on ISOC’s advisory board, also got the impression that staff at Spirit Mountain didn’t seem to be very eager to bring the race back.
“But it’s probably one of the largest winter events in our area and it’s always brought in a lot of money to the area. I know it’s a lot of work to make the snow and prepare everything, but that also prepares the area for the ski season, so I’ve always seen it as a win-win.”
Snocross president Carl Schubitzke did not respond to the Duluth News Tribune in time for deadline, despite numerous attempts to contact him.