The I-500 Race Returns to Sault Ste. Marie

The 45th International 500 Endurance Snowmobile Race (or I-500) comes to Sault Ste. Marie in just a few weeks! Today, Mariah Goos of the Sault Ste. Marie Convention & Visitors Bureau fills us in on what to expect at the race, along with her recommendations on other things to see in the area while you’re in town.

If you find yourself in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula February 2nd, 2013, take a drive to Sault Ste. Marie and you’ll be in for an adventure. 500 miles of speed, thrills and spills will be waiting for you at the 45th International 500 Endurance Snowmobile Race. The I-500, as we call it, is February’s answer to cabin fever for over 10,000 spectators. For $15 dollars a button you can watch 38 teams race at 100mph through the straightaway for a prize purse worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Did I mention that they race on a one mile ice oval track? Yes, ice. It takes three weeks, 1,800,000 gallons of water, and freezing temperatures to create the track.

You’ve never been, you say!? What’s to do, you ask? Between watching the snowmobiles careen around the ice track you might wander through the 12th Annual Vintage Snowmobile Show. Sleds representing nearly every decade since the launch of the snow machine are present. Admission is included with the purchase of a button.

The I-500 race has a tailgate atmosphere filled with festive social spectators. Bring your cooler or purchase food and beverage from the local vendors that line the infield. Join this fun atmosphere to chase away your cabin fever, but remember to dress warm. You never know what the weather has in store during early February.

Truth be told, you can turn your Saturday I-500 Race adventure into a weeklong excursion.

Bring your ice skates and join in Monday night for skating on the smooth one mile oval track for free. Then, watch Tuesday through Thursday afternoons as teams practice and jockey for position in time trials. Ramp up Thursday night with the 20 lap Woody’s Challenge Pro-Am Race, followed by a live band to rock out the evening.

Finally, on Friday night cast your vote for the 2013 Miss I-500. Vote for your favorite contestant with your pocketbook; all funds donated to the Pink Ribbon Riders Breast Cancer patient assistance fund. Admission is free. Stick around after the crowning of Miss I-500 to watch the kids tear up the track in the Mini-Z Race. Enjoy the crackling bon-fire as Friday night wines down and you prepare for the fun of Saturday mornings green flag at 10:00am.

Fill in your race weekdays with amazing winter adventures in and around Sault Ste. Marie. Have you ever seen the Tahquamenon Falls? How about in the winter? The frozen cascade of the 50 foot falls is a site you have to see in person. How about speeding down an icy slope in an inner tube? Or, visit Sault Seal Recreation Area and experience all seven runs of varying inclines. And if you missed Monday night’s ice skating there are three indoor facilities to choose from right in town.

Whether you come for the day or the week, a trip to Sault Ste. Marie Michigan for the I-500 Race should be on your to do list for 2013. There are only three things you need to know about the race to fully appreciate it: Go Fast, Always Turn Left and DON’T Fall Off The Sled.

For information on Sault Ste. Marie please visit Information regarding the International 500 Endurance Snowmobile Race please visit

Are you attending the I-500 race next month? Share with us below!

Mariah Goos is the Communication Coordinator for the Sault Ste. Marie, MI Convention & Visitors Bureau ( She is the face behind a number of the social media interactions that comes out of the Sault. Mariah loves all three seasons in the Upper Peninsula and her motto is “No Coffee…No Workee”. Find her on Twitter (@VisitTheSault), Facebook, and Pinterest.