Posted on February 3rd, 2022
Whether you are a newcomer or a race day vet, after a year off from the race we all need a refresher on what the essentials are when the green flag on the 53rd I-500 waves Saturday, February 5!

Your number one priority for the I-500 is to stay warm! It’s a long race, and you won’t last if you don’t wear the right gear. The temperature fluctuates year to year, but it’s a guarantee that you should layer up!

You will want to start off with a base layer (or two!) Once that long underwear is on, put on your warm socks! No ankle socks allowed, because everyone knows those will slip down into the abyss of your boot after 5 minutes.  We recommend Merino wool socks; you can find the perfect pair downtown at Barish’s or Bird’s Eye Outfitters.

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Next, get those snow pants on, you won’t last long at the track without them. To get to the South Bluff you must trek the ravine, you will thank yourself a little extra for putting those on when you make that climb.

Get your hand and toe warmers shaken up or charged. Some people don’t think this step is necessary (deepening on the temp), but have you ever heard anyone complain about their fingers and toes boing too warm in a UP winter? Insulated boots and gloves/mittens paired with those hand and toe warmers should keep you nice and comfortable outside all day long!

A warm jacket just makes sense for any winter day in the Soo! This can be shed if you get warm and zipped up tight is that wind is blowing. (Pro tip: if it’s really cold keep your phone in an inside pocket close to your body to keep it from dying due to the cold)

You will see toques, Stormy Kromers, aviator hats, fur hats, and more. The main thing is to have a warm hat, the added “style” is just a bonus.

We asked our followers what other things they bring to the I-500, here are a few of the essentials we missed!

Laurie reminded us to bring sunglasses to shield your eyes from the glare off the icy track. Brian said to bring “binoculars, it’s a long ways to turn 3.” UP Michigan Works had a great idea to pack “A pasty wrapped in tinfoil. It 1. keeps you warm, and 2. is a hearty snack.” Barb doesn’t want you to forget cash for food and drinks! The guys from MI Playground said friends are an essential, and we couldn’t agree more! Bruce and Tony reminded everyone to stay safe and make sure you bring a designated driver if you have had anything to drink.

Last but certainly not least, make sure you have your I-500 button! This is your ticket into the race and it’s a great souvenir after to show off all the fun you had at the Soo I-500. You can get them ahead of time at various businesses around town and the Sault Ste. Marie Lions Club will be selling them on race day at the entrance.