Severy defends uphill title in style | AspenTimes.com
Ben Husband

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Severy defends uphill title in style

Aspen’s Betty Severy and Colorado Spring’s Matt Carpenter stole the show in Saturday’s 12th annual Ute Mountaineer America’s Uphill Challenge race on Aspen Mountain.

Both were winners in the annual event, which attracted 475 snowshoers, track skiers and telemark skiers, and both set new course records in the process.

Severy captured her second straight women’s 40-49 snowshoe and overall title as she blistered the course in 54 minutes, 50 seconds for a new course record. She broke the old record of 55:08, set by fellow Aspen native Ruth Brown.

“I walk up Aspen Mountain every morning,” Severy, who finished 33rd overall, said. “And I race this race just because I always have.

“The competition is one reason why I felt obliged to go a little faster,” she added.

Aspen’s Natalie Ward, competing in and winning the women’s 30-39 age group track ski division, finished behind Severy in second place overall in 57:09.

Deb Boillig of Boulder, who won the women’s 30-39 snowshoe division, finished third overall in 57:19.

The Vail combo of Ellen Miller and Mia Stockdale rounded out the top five women’s finishers.

Miller, who won the overall title in 1997, finished fourth in 57:58 and finished second to Severy in the women’s 40-49 snowshoe division.

Stockdale finished second to Bollig in the women’s 30-39 snowshoe division in 58:41. She finished in second place last year. Matt’s back After a five-year absence from snowshoeing, Carpenter wasted little time getting back into the swing of things as he won his third overall men’s snowshoe title, and his first since 1993, in 41:01. He topped his 1991 time of 42:01 to set a new men’s course record.

“I was so excited to come back,” he said. “It’s a fun race and the Ute Mountaineer does a really good job of putting on a great event.”

Because it’s a running event, Carpenter felt he held an advantage over the rest of the field.

“It’s a running event first and snowshoeing second, and in an uphill event like this, you have to have good lungs and I think I do.”

“He’s just a phenomenal athlete,” said Aspen snowshoeing guru Erik Skarvan. “He’s got a great set of lungs, and he’s just too hard to keep up with, which is why he’s one of the top athletes in the country.”

For the second consecutive year, Laramie’s Jeremy Wright finished second. This year, however, he shaved 30 seconds off last year’s time with his finish in 43:03.

Wright, a year-round hill climber, won the men’s 19-29 age group snowshoe division.

Aspen’s David Bruton, who won the men’s 40-49 snowshoe bracket, finished third overall in 45:14.

Bruton, who has been competing in the annual Uphill off and on since its inception, said his favorite part of the race is “when it’s over.”

Michael Kloser of Vail, who finished second to Carpenter in the men’s 30-39 snowshoe division in 45:25, was the fourth overall finisher.

Steve Richards of the Netherlands, who finished behind Kloser in 45:33, rounded out the top five men’s finishers.