| AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s Gaston second in famed Leadville Trail 100 MTB race as Swenson repeats

LEADVILLE — Looking back on his 105-mile tour of the “cloud city,” no doubt Keegan Swenson is thinking there was a second or two he left out on the course. Whether it really matters is up for debate.

The Life Time Grand Prix leader demonstrated his dominance over the professional long-distance mountain bike and gravel scene on Saturday, blasting the Leadville Trail 100 MTB’s most elite field in race history with a 14 minute, 30 second win, his second straight. He narrowly missed becoming the third athlete in the race’s 28-year running to go sub-six hours, finishing in a time of 6:00:01.

“It was good. It was a fast one today,” Swenson said. “I felt for awhile I was going to be pretty close to the record. We got close. It was a lot faster than last year and considering I was solo all the way back from Columbine — I was happy with it.”

Swenson made his move shortly after leading a group of 10 cyclists up the famed Columbine climb to the course’s high point and turnaround.

“Going up Columbine, everyone has their place and there isn’t much attacking going up. I kind of knew what I could do and just did that from the bottom and was going to see who could stay,” Swenson said.

“I figured Howie (Grotts) would be there the longest and he was. Alexey (Vermeulen) was also with us for a while. And then eventually those guys kind of fell off and they were solo as well.”

At the top, Swenson was 2:47 ahead of Grotts, who had another 75 seconds on Vermeulen. Cole Paton was in fourth, 30 seconds back of the Boulder-based rider, and Aspen’s John Gaston was 21 seconds off Paton in fifth.

Behind those five, Matthew Beers, Samuel Gilletly, Lachlan Morton, Peter Stetina and Lance Haidet were filed together. UCI World Team EF Education–EasyPost pro rider Alex Howes, who led at the 40-mile checkpoint, lost ground and was separated from the leaders for good.

Keegan Swenson won the Leadville 100 MTB race on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Leadville.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Turning around, Swenson was able to view the devastation he’d inflicted on the peloton.

“I could see the group was quite blown up on the way back,” he said. “I was pretty confident I could make it back (to Leadville) solo; I didn’t think there’d be any big groups chasing me. There’s really only a few sections of road where it’s straight and fast where a group really makes a big difference, otherwise it’s not too big of a deal.”

When asked if he expected to be riding alone for the final 55 miles, Swenson said, “I wasn’t sure. Howie’s won this race three times and I think he’s also one of the best climbers in the world at this altitude. Yeah, so I knew the pace I could ride and I was like, ‘If Howie stays with me, great, then we’ll go faster on the way back. If not, then I’ll be solo and I’ll see what I can do.’”

Heading out of Twin Lakes at 60 miles, Swenson’s lead had grown to almost five minutes. Meanwhile, Gaston had fought his way back to Grotts — who elected to group up in lieu of riding alone — and Vermeulen along the flat ‘pipeline’ section. Heading up the inhumanely steep ‘powerline’ stretch, Swenson held a nine-minute advantage in front of the trio. In fifth, just 10-seconds back, was Paton.

Swenson gained more ground up the course’s iconic climb. By the time he exited Hagerman Pass onto Turquoise Lake Road, his lead had ballooned to 10:45 with approximately 16 miles remaining. Grotts and Gaston hit Turquoise Lake Road together, in second and third, respectively. Fully aware he was in the midst of the mountain bike race of his life, Gaston said he “tried to not think too far ahead” to prevent the magnitude of the moment from getting to him.

Aspen’s John Gaston crosses the finish line in second place at the Leadville 100 MTB race on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Leadville.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“There’s how many pros here?” he rhetorically asked in a humorously self-depreciating tone of his mindset near the end. “I mean, I’m confident in myself and I thought I’d maybe have a shot at top 10, but to be able to hang in there and keep making the groups was kind of crazy.”

Gaston said he was gapped on every climb throughout the race. He was able to gain ground on the flats and descents.

“Just the way this race works with tactics — I was very fortunate (to come back),” he said.

In the race’s final hour, Gaston hung with Grotts, a three-time Leadville Trail 100 MTB champion from 2017-2019.

“I had zero confidence whatsoever in beating him; I was going to ask for a truce,” Gaston joked.

Going up the gradual grade of the ‘boulevard’ road, just a mile from the finish, the Aspen ski mountaineering star pulled away, notching a shocking second-place finish that even he couldn’t believe.

Cyclists ride across the valley with Mt. Massive as the backdrop during the Leadville 100 MTB race on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Leadville.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“Bewilderment. Astonishment,” he said when asked what his thoughts were as he crossed the finish line in 6:14:31.

The U.S. skimo team member said the performance won’t change his priorities.

“I definitely prefer spending my summers on the bike instead of running, and I’ve kind of figured out how to make that transfer to Skimo,” he said.

The Snowmass 50, which he won, and Leadville were the only two races Gaston planned to contest this year on the bike.

“I gotta start kind of gearing up for winter,” he said. “My whole life I never thought I’d ever get a podium at Leadville. Ever. Not even a pipe dream. So this is crazy to me. Honestly, I’m still not even sure how it happened.”

Gaston also raced Leadville in 2019.

“I was in the second group, not the first group,” he said of that year. “This time around, I was like, ‘I’m going to go until I blow.’”

John Gaston of Aspen and Howard Grotts exit Hagerman Pass road in the later stages of the Leadville 100 MTB race on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Leadville.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Standing next to Grotts at the finish, the reality of his second-place finish was barely sinking in.

“This was so far beyond my expectations; I mean, I’ve followed these guys’ careers for like a decade,” he said.

With the field comprised mostly of Life Time Grand Prix athletes — the nation’s 30 best males and females competing on a six-race circuit for a $250,000 prize — Gaston’s win is particularly sweet. When asked if he’d compete in the circuit next year if offered a spot, he said, “I would love to do some of it — I mean, I’ve never done a gravel race in my life.”

“Skimo is still my best sport on an international level,” he continued. “For now, I’m still very much focused on that, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t fit in some longer races. This one does fit in really well with building in that big endurance base during the summer anyway.”

Aspen’s John Gaston, at left, regroups after finishing second in the Leadville 100 MTB race on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Leadville.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

In the women’s race, Salt Lake City rider Hannah Otto took down defending champion Rose Grant. Otto finished in 7:24:07 with Grant in second in 7:29:37 and Haley Smith in third in 7:41:53.

Durango’s Alexis Skarda took the race out hard. At 26 miles, she led by 2:20 over a group of three — Otto, Sturm and Grant. Smith sat in fifth going into the pipeline double-track, two minutes off of Grant. By the start of the Goat Trail at mile 48, Skarda’s lead had dwindled to just 28 seconds over Otto, who left Grant and Sturm on the climb up Columbine. At the turnaround, the race had a new leader.

Otto would stretch her lead to 2:40 by mile 74, with Grant gaining ground on the fading Skarda. At the return pipeline visit, the defending champion was just 59 seconds back from the Durango cyclist. Entering the powerline climb, she had moved in front, but Otto, with her 3:56 lead, held too much of an advantage to overcome.


Airline Climbing Trail only steps away from fall completion at Sky Mountain Park

The Airline Climbing Trail project is edging toward completion this fall.

Two Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteer projects are scheduled Aug. 13 and Aug. 27 to assist with finish work, rock armoring and seeding of disturbed areas, according Ted O’Brien, manager of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Resource and Trails. The events will be led in collaboration with Open Space and Trails and the Roaring Fork Mountain Biking Association.

On Aug. 13, volunteers will be refining the trails cut by Open Space and Trails. That process involves removing large roots and punji sticks (hazardous sticks poking up near the trail resulting from the cutting process), finishing the back slope, raking the trail, cutting sight-lines and completing any other finishing touches on the trail, according to RFOV program director Melissa Daniels.

After the first RFOV trail workday, the bottom third of the climbing trail will likely be opened to the public, according to O’Brien. The upper two-thirds will remain closed and unusable until the fall opening date.

At the second trail workday, on Aug. 27, volunteers will be focusing more on rock work for the trail.

“We always have a good little group of volunteers that really enjoy rock work, so we’re saving a lot of that work to do with volunteers,” O’Brien said.

Following the conclusion of the second workday, RFOV and OST will evaluate the progress and consider adding another day of trail work if necessary, according to Daniels.

RFOV will partner with RFMBA and Sacred Cycle, which works to provide “affordable counseling for survivors of sexual trauma through mountain biking,” according to the organization’s website. Members of the partner organizations will join the 40 volunteers who signed up through RFOV, according to Daniels.

“The thing that I really love about working here is that we really value partnerships with other organizations and we believe that we don’t get anything done independently; everything is done in partnership with other people,” Daniels said. “We wanted to spread the word about what they do and engage with their communities.”

The climbing trail is built parallel to the existing Airline Trail, which will be restricted to downhill traffic once the new trail opens. The new climbing trail will be for uphill bicycle traffic and bidirectional foot traffic.

The plans for the climbing trail were drawn up last year in response to urging by RFMBA, one of the major shareholders for Sky Mountain Park, according to O’Brien.

“It was a concern that RFMBA really pushed over the years and we got to finally address that push during the update to the Sky Mountain Park management plan,” O’Brien said.

During the process for creating an updated master plan for Sky Mountain Park, which occurs every five years, RFMBA voiced their concerns during the public comment period.

“Everything we do is based on public comment and the public process,” O’Brien said.

In the past, the existing Airline Trail has been used for both uphill and downhill traffic. The Sky Mountain Park saw its greatest usage in 2020 with 79,000 visitors, according to the management plan. The most common usage of the park is for mountain biking.

“With the amount of use the park gets, having one bidirectional trail invited the opportunity for conflict or collision to occur on that trail,” O’Brien said.

Although no collisions were ever officially reported, O’Brien said OST heard “through the grapevine” about some minor collisions occurring on the trail.

The major challenge for the project, according to O’Brien, was clearing out the thick vegetation that grew where the trail will be. OST’s trails and maintenance crew began that process in mid-July, finishing it last week. On Aug. 2, the outside contractor for the project, Gumption Trail Works, began machine work on the trail.

“We’re moving along, progressing … ahead of schedule so we’re happy about that,” O’Brien said.

The Roaring Fork community has been very supportive of the project, according to Daniels.

“I’m really excited that there’s so much community enthusiasm for this trail,” Daniels said. “I know it’s been a long time coming and people have spent a lot of time working on getting this open and so we’re really excited to be working on it. We hope to get it open for people as soon as possible.”

Anna Meyer is an editorial intern at The Aspen Times for part of the summer. She will be a sophomore at Vassar College this fall.

Gaston outduels Hamilton to win annual Snowmass 50 mountain bike race

In a titanic battle of 35-year-old local superstars, Aspen’s John Gaston outdueled Basalt’s Simi Hamilton on Saturday to win the fourth iteration of the Snowmass 50 mountain bike race. Formerly called the Power of Four, the Aspen Skiing Co.-produced event is a 50-mile trek involving two 25-mile laps around Snowmass Ski Area, beginning and finishing on Fanny Hill.

Gaston, one of the country’s premier ski mountaineering athletes who co-founded Strafe Outerwear alongside his brother, finished with a time of 4 hours, 36 minutes, 28 seconds. Hamilton, the Aspen-raised Olympic cross-country skier who retired after the 2020-21 World Cup season, finished second in 4:49:30.1.

Hamilton was hoping to defend his Snowmass 50 win from a year ago, when he finished in 4:17:19, with Gaston not competing.

This was hardly Gaston’s first local win. He also took home the Snowmass 50 crown the last time he competed, back in 2020, winning in 4:08:13. Denver’s Thomas Herman won in both 2018 and 2019.

Finishing third overall on Saturday was 20-year-old Aspen product George Beck, another rising star in both skimo and mountain biking, in 4:56:23. Denver’s Bucky Schafer, 40, finished just off the podium in 4:59:04.5.

In the women’s 50-mile race on Saturday, 41-year-old pro Crystal Anthony took the win in 5:45:36.1. Coming from Bentonville, Arkansas, Anthony has frequented local Aspen races in recent years, also winning the Snowmass 50 mountain bike race back in 2020.

Finishing second on Saturday was Snowmass local Caroline Tory, 32, in 5:49:05.5, while Utah’s Nicole Tittensor, 36, was third in 6:23:18.8. Tittensor won the women’s race last summer in 5:50:11. Just off the podium on Saturday was local rider Rachel Beck, mother of George Beck, in 6:43:08.9.

In the 25-mile race, where riders complete just a single lap, 14-year-old Quinn Carpenter of Carbondale won in 2:48:56.1. He held off Aspen’s Taylor Rutt, 31, who was second in 2:56:08.5, and third-place finisher Chris Lane, 55, of Basalt (2:56:42.7).

The women’s 25-mile race win went to Carbondale’s Laura Hutchinson, 25, in 3:36:29.6. Erin Glen was second in 3:52:20.2 and Aspen’s Dana Laughren was third in 4:08:36.3.

Winning the team race, where each rider completes one of the 25-mile loops, was the duo of Tristan Trantow and Will Karrow in 5:16:49.

Complete results can be found here.


No fish tale: The eye-opening story behind Tim Daniel’s record-breaking brook trout

Unlike many fish stories, full of heroism and bravado on the angler’s part, the one Granby local Tim Daniel tells about catching his record-breaking brook trout brims with feeling and lessons in resource protection.

The story started on May 23, nearly two and a half months ago. Daniel, who’s been fishing since he was 3 years old, cast his line into one of the spots in Monarch Lake he thought a healthy brook trout would like. Soon enough, he got a bite, and as he reeled the fish on his hook in, he says he knew it was a large one. It fought for 15 minutes.

The previous record was set in 1947 by George Knorr, who caught his 7.63-pound brook trout in Upper Cataract Lake in the Gore Range.

Daniel’s fish weighed 7.84 pounds, measured 23 and 1/4 inches long, and had a girth of 15 and 3/8 inches. That made it the biggest brook trout ever recorded in Colorado and a state record. But catching it and earning the right to claim that victory didn’t feel all that great to Daniel.

“When I got it, I was trying to revive it,” he says. “I didn’t want to kill him. That really broke my heart.”

What’s more, Daniel had caught six fish heavier than the brookie in another area outside of Grand County, “and with all of them, I didn’t want to draw attention to the place I was fishing, because I’d never seen another person there,” he says.

Keeping the lake he’d pulled his other trophy fish from a secret was important to Daniel, as was honoring his record-breaking trout. At first he didn’t want people to know about the fish, because of the increased pressure it might put on Monarch Lake.

“But everybody had been coming up to me, and I felt so bad about the fish,” he says. “He’s the champion, not me, because of how long he’s been able to elude people. That’s what made me finally decide to let the word out about him. I wanted the fish to get some kind of credit, and maybe use this as an opportunity to tell people that we need to protect our resource.”

Turning in a big fish

Jon Ewert, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife fisheries biologist for Grand County, said, “Tim had to do a lot of soul searching to let us publish his state record. But one of my points in talking about this with him was that Monarch Lake is actually a great place to hold the record because the lake is no secret. If you show up there after 8 a.m. on any summer day you’re going to be parking a half-mile from the trailhead. It’s more or less maxed out on use as it is, so new anglers might not find it that attractive when they see the traffic level that currently exists there.”

Ewert adds that Daniel’s fish grew to its size thanks to a combination of a high degree of biological productivity — “tons of bugs, lots of submerged, rooted vegetation” — and a fairly shallow depth profile in Monarch Lake. The lake also stays cold due to high-altitude streams flowing into it. Those conditions can produce some pretty large fish, plus the lake holds some relatively large brown trout, says Ewert.

“The brown trout provide predation on brook trout, thinning them out and enhancing the quality of the brook trout that remain,” he said.

Ewert didn’t age Daniel’s fish, so neither he nor Daniel will ever know how old it was. Ewert said, “It didn’t strike me as particularly old — more fast- growing. We do stock 10-inch rainbow trout in that lake, and the fish Tim caught is entirely capable of eating 10-inch rainbows and was probably making use of them as prey.”

Ewert adds it’s important people know Daniel’s fish wasn’t a “splake.”

Splake are a sterile hybrid of brook and lake trout parks and wildlife stocks in different places for management reasons, says Ewert. They look like a brook trout on steroids; the state-record splake weighed 18 pounds.

“So sometimes if a brook trout is designated as record-breaking, the first question is, ‘Is it a splake?’” says Ewert. “We’ve had anglers bring them in claiming they’re record brook trout, but we dissect them and say nope.”

Ewert says parks and wildlife hasn’t stocked splake in any waters connected to Monarch Lake, so there is no way one would show up there anyway.

Ewert believes Daniel’s fish was “generally in the age range of 6, 7 or 8 years old.” He says there’s no correlation in human years (like dogs), but that’s about as long as most trout live (although some can reach 11 or 12 years old). He had to dissect it to determine beyond a shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t a splake. But he waited until Daniel took it to a taxidermist and had the skin removed so he could have it mounted.

How a record fish lives on in form and memory

Daniel says he’s going to put his fish on a wall at home that holds some of his other trophies. There are those he won in ice fishing tournaments, elk he’s harvested and other trophy fish he’s had the pleasure to catch.

When I called him to ask if he’d tell me about his fish, he hesitated, saying, “I want to be humble.” But he decided to talk, even though I’d made a mistake in the original story we published on July 29. I wrote that Daniel had “snagged” his fish. “It nearly ruined my reputation,” he said. Unbeknownst to me, “snag” means catching a fish using a hook tethered to a fishing line and piercing its flesh rather than catching it in a sporting way (hook in mouth).

Ewert says Daniel by no means snagged his fish. He caught it fair and square. But Daniel isn’t going to tell you where in Monarch Lake he caught it. That, you’ll have to try and deduce through your own methods. Better yet, find a different lake to fish, and keep it a secret. And don’t expect to break Daniel’s record with a fish in Monarch Lake.

Ewert has been setting nets in there every few years for research.

He says he’s never netted a fish anywhere near the size of Daniel’s.

Aspen Cycling Club results: Sky Mountain Park (Cozyline-Deadline) from Aug. 3

From Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

Men’s A Long Course — Wave 1
1—0:54:03—SHANKS, Cooper—Basalt Bike & Ski
2—0:55:13—BECK, George—Strafe/STRAFE x MountainFLOW Eco-Wax
3—0:55:52—STROKES, Gregory—Resqwater
4—0:56:37—KOSTER, Ryan—Culver’s Glenwood Springs
5—1:00:15—TRANTOW, Tristan—RFC Pinnacle Junior MTB Team
6—1:02:50—KAROW, Will—RFC Pinnacle Junior MTB Team
7—1:05:30—SHAFER, Brendan
Women’s A Long Course — Wave 2
1—1:10:37—BERINO, Jenya
Men’s B Long Course — Wave 2
1—0:58:28—HEATH, Liam—RFC Pinnacle Junior MTB Team
2—0:59:37—KLUG, Chris
3—1:00:00—METCALF, Ian
4—1:00:13—SANTINI, Peter—Limelight Hotels
5—1:01:26—SMITH, Larry—Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork
6—1:01:40—VOORHEES, Peter
7—1:01:59—RISPOLI, Maxwell—The Meatballs
8—1:02:52—ELLIOT, Simon—Basalt Bike & Ski
9—1:04:30—WILLIAMS, Brian
10—1:04:31—ADAMS, Casey—Basalt Bike & Ski
11—1:05:19—FUNK, Adam—The Meatballs
12—1:06:38—MAPLE, Michael—Hub of Aspen
13—1:07:08—CIBULSKY, John
14—1:09:46—CHERNOSKY, David—Groove Subaru
15—1:14:10—BURKLEY, Rich—Limelight Hotels
Men’s C Short Course — Wave 3
1—0:43:46—BEERS, Seth
Men 50+ Short Course — Wave 3
1—0:49:30—TRANTOW, George—Valley Ortho
2—0:52:01—COOK, Miles
Men 60+ Short Course — Wave 3
1—0:45:27—GIBANS, Jon—Basalt Bike & Ski
2—0:47:26—ARMSTRONG, Mike—Basalt Bike & Ski
3—0:50:40—SLIVA, Glenn—Basalt Bike & Ski
Men 70+ Short Course — Wave 3
1—1:00:32—JONES, Larry
2—1:01:52—ADAMSON, John—Twisted Spokes Racing
High School Girls Short Course — Wave 3
1—0:44:25—HEATH, Megan—RFC Pinnacle Junior MTB Team
2—1:03:27—RICH, Marley

Race Marshals: Quinn Carpenter, Mark Murphy, Casper Shanks, Butch Peterson, Steve Denny, Corbin Carpenter

Results may also be viewed at www.aspencyclingclub.org. Questions about results should be directed to results@aspencyclingclub.org.

CMC Spring Valley to host 2022 high school mountain bike championships

The new mountain biking trails at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus outside Glenwood Springs are officially slated to host the Colorado high school mountain bike championships in October.

The multi-day event inviting the top prep mountain bikers from across the state is set for Oct. 20-23, bringing more than 800 racers, plus coaches, families and spectators.

The total number of visitors to the Glenwood Springs area throughout the race weekend could reach 2,000, organizers said in a news release.

The release cites a 2021 Colorado High School Cycling League Economic Impact Study, which determined that each dollar spent to produce a race generates a $120 return to the community in the form of lodging, restaurant and shopping revenue.

The championships are produced by the Colorado High School Cycling League, as mountain biking is not an official Colorado High School Activities Association sport.

Since 2015, CMC has sponsored an interscholastic league, hosting races at the college’s Leadville campus.

“Mountain bike racing became an Olympic sport in 1996, and high school mountain bike racing has kept pace, with increasing numbers of high school racers participating in the years since,” the release states.

Spring Valley recently completed work on more than 3 miles of new trails that connect to an existing trail network that was hand built over several years by students and community members.

The new trail construction was funded in part by a grant from the Catena Foundation, which supports opportunities for youth to engage and recreate in the natural environment, the release states.

CMC staff has worked with the Colorado High School Cycling League to create a 5 ½-mile course that’s designed for high school-age athletes.

The Roaring Fork Valley is home to four prep mountain biking teams from Glenwood Springs and Roaring Fork high schools, Colorado Rocky Mountain School and a combined Aspen/Basalt high school team.

“I think it will be a big advantage to be able to sleep in my own bed the night before our biggest competition,” Glenwood Springs junior team member Chloe Lutgring said in the release.

The league is also planning two regular-season races at CMC’s Leadville campus.

Results: Clare Gallagher, women shine in Aspen Backcountry Marathon trail race

Noted ultrarunner Clare Gallagher stole the show Saturday in the return of the Aspen Backcountry Marathon, winning the race that takes athletes over much of Smuggler and Red Mountain with a start and finish at Rio Grande Park.

Gallagher, the 30-year-old from Boulder, finished in 4 hours, 7 minutes, 43.7 seconds. Not only did her time best all of the other female competitors, but it easily beat the entire men’s field, as well. Gallagher is an accomplished athlete, her 2016 win in the Leadville 100 arguably at the top of the list.

The top male finisher was Alex Gordon, a 23-year-old from Maryland, who finished second overall in 4:16:16.1. Aspen’s Julia Rowland, 41, finished third overall in 4:23:33.8. Boulder’s Caroline Veltri Baker, 32, was fourth overall in 4:23:59.1, and Carbondale’s Zoe Rom, 28, was sixth overall in 4:44:38.6, giving the women four runners in the top six.

Basalt’s John Hughes, 47, was second among men, taking fifth overall in 4:24:19.6. Kansan Cade Evans, 20, rounded out the men’s marathon podium, finishing seventh overall in 4:52:52.1.

Among those who did not finish the race was Aspen’s Kristin Layne, who won the women’s race last year. Boulder’s David Roche, the overall marathon champion from a year ago, did not compete this summer.

In the half marathon on Saturday, Boulder’s Brett Wachtendorf, 29, took top honors in 2:10:30.4. In second was California’s Peter Davis, 25, in 2:12:35.6, and in third was Carbondale’s Tristan Purdy, 25, in 2:17:37.9.

The top female finisher in the half marathon was Lacey Bourgois, 35 of Colorado Springs, who finished fifth overall in 2:32:56.4. Genevieve Lillis, 31 of Snowmass, was second (seventh overall) in 2:37:12.5, and Wheat Ridge’s Erica Cohen, 40, was third (eighth overall) in 2:37:45.1.

The Aspen Backcountry Marathon is produced by the special events department of the city of Aspen.

This coming Saturday, Aug. 6, will mark the return of Aspen Skiing Co.’s Snowmass 50 mountain bike race, which was previously known as the Power of Four.


Utah Olympic Park expansion to help train future athletes, should open this winter

PARK CITY, Utah — The second phase of a project designed to improve the training of the next generation of winter sports athletes is underway, and those involved expect facilities to open this winter.

Construction crews are expanding the West Peak at Utah Olympic Park as part of the ongoing mission to invest in skiing and snowboarding. The project will create new terrain for an alpine and freestyle training area on the mountain and provide winter athletes with a facility they can use at night.

“This is an evolution of what we’ve done,” said Jamie Kimball, the general manager of UOP. “If you look at the broad spectrum of training environments that we have … we have a spot for everyone and this was kind of just the natural evolution of that.”

The organization has been working toward the project since at least 2010, but he said the idea of adding an alpine training component to the park came later. After realizing the need in the community, UOP began developing ideas to provide something different. 

Local sports clubs and other community partners helped raise funds for the first phase of the project, which included adding a chairlift and a longer ski run for intermediate users. It opened in late 2019.

Kimball said the project was a huge success and questions about phase two started almost immediately. Despite slowed down momentum in early 2020 from the coronavirus pandemic, work to develop the designs and raise funds continued. The project was approved in late 2020, but UOP officials decided to hold off on construction.

Work began this summer when the rest of the funds were raised. The second phase will develop 25 acres of ski terrain that consists of two main trails as well as a new chairlift on the property’s west side. The training area will also have lights to allow athletes to train at night. It’s expected to open in December.

Kimball said the development of the West Peak has been envisioned since the park was originally designed in the years before the 2002 Winter Olympics. This project is intended to create a “home base” for training along the Wasatch Back.

It will also help alleviate the pressure on ski resorts by providing another place for youth to train. More than 1,000 members of the Park City Ski & Snowboard Club, as well as several hundred more from other programs, are expected to utilize the facility, according to Kimball. It also has the potential to bring in regional visitors.

“Terrain really closes the training loop, it creates a full circle for all levels of ability, from learning to ski race or ski freestyle all the way up to the elite-level athletes, and so there’s no longer any gap in their training — period,” he said. “They can do everything here in their whole career at any time, which is really amazing and it supports what the current clubs are doing in the local community.”

Construction on Utah Olympic Park’s West Peak began this summer. The second phase will develop 25 acres of ski terrain that consists of two main trails as well as a new chairlift on the property’s west side. The training area will also have lights to allow athletes to train at night.
David Jackson/Park Record

The training area will not be open to the public, but Kimball said the entire community will benefit. The facility is expected to help alleviate travel costs, expand training options and provide an after-school option for students. There are ongoing discussions about creating a pass that may allow the public to access some of the ski runs.

It’s also possible the area may be used during a future Winter Olympics.

“As we started to design this and look at that terrain, we realized how well that terrain melded itself to multiple different disciplines, so we started to look at it through the Olympic lens as well. Long term, there is definitely the potential to host multiple Olympic disciplines on that space based on how things all work out with the other resorts here — we’ve got some potentials, for sure,” Kimball said. 

He said he’s heard positive feedback from those involved in the project, who say it’s critical to the success of winter-sports programming. UOP officials are also committed to ensuring the facilities are designed well due to their visibility from Kimball Junction. There is a full revegetation plan to restore the hillside and blend the work into the surrounding landscape.


Aspen Cycling Club results: Emma Roubaix road race from July 27, 2022

From Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Men’s A — Wave 1
1—1:02:19—SHANKS, Cooper—Basalt Bike & Ski
2—1:03:26—PETERSON, Butch—RFMBA Trail Agents
3—1:03:29—STROKES, Gregory—Resqwater
4—1:03:35—JACOBI, Kevin—Limelight Hotels
5—1:03:58—SCHAFER, Bucky—Schafer Metals
6—1:07:17—DOREMUS, Tyler
7—1:10:43—KOSTER, Ryan—Culver’s Glenwood Springs
8—1:12:13—STARK, Milo—Freaks Racing
Women’s A — Wave 2
1—1:09:29—TORY, Caroline—Hub of Aspen
Men’s B — Wave 2
1—1:07:59—HEATH, Liam—RFC Pinnacle Junior MTB Team
2—1:08:26—DAVENPORT, Topher
3—1:08:28—SMITH, Larry—Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork
4—1:08:34—FUNK, Adam—The Meatballs
5—1:08:35—ECKART, Charlie
6—1:08:42—ADAMS, Casey—Basalt Bike & Ski
7—1:08:53—SANTINI, Peter—Limelight Hotels
8—1:09:14—MAPLE, Michael—Hub of Aspen
9—1:09:19—ELLIOT, Simon—Basalt Bike & Ski
10—1:09:38—RISPOLI, Maxwell—The Meatballs
11—1:10:03—WILLIAMS, Brian
12—1:10:52—PURKENAS, Algirdas
13—1:11:28—VOORHEES, Peter
14—1:15:43—BLAU, Seth
15—1:16:56—KLUG, Chris
16—1:16:58—SKARVAN, Erik
17—1:22:39—COLLENTINE, Sam
DNF—MISCHKE, Joel—Basalt Bike & Ski
Men’s C — Wave 3
1—1:17:06—BEERS, Seth
2—1:19:16—MERRILL, Nate
3—1:31:01—MURPHY, Mark—Basalt Bike & Ski
Men 50+ — Wave 3
1—1:19:09—TUCKER, Brad
2—1:30:32—CHILSON, Chip—Aspen Sports Performance/Litespeed
3—1:31:12—ROSEBERRY, Christopher
4—1:33:12—RYAN, Chris
Men 60+ — Wave 3
1—1:16:14—SIRIANNI, Phil—Basalt Bike & Ski
2—1:19:01—SMITH, Wade
3—1:23:01—GIBANS, Jon—Basalt Bike & Ski
4—1:24:00—ARMSTRONG, Mike—Basalt Bike & Ski
Men 70+ — Wave 3
1—1:15:37—KREUZ, Kevin
2—1:21:39—HANDWERK, Jeff
3—1:25:36—OLENICK, Bob
4—1:30:27—PHILLIPS, John—Limelight Hotels
5—1:42:37—ADAMSON, John—Twisted Spokes Racing
6—1:44:51—CROSS, Ed—Limelight Hotels

Race Marshals: Gardner Morrow, Jess Jacobi, George Trantow, Larry Jones

Results may also be viewed at www.aspencyclingclub.org. Questions about results should be directed to results@aspencyclingclub.org.

Aspen Cycling Club results: Snowmass Discovery Circuit MTB race from July 20

From Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Men’s A Long Course — Wave 1
1—1:11:38—SHANKS, Cooper—Basalt Bike & Ski
2—1:14:37—JACOBI, Kevin—Limelight Hotels
Men’s B Long Course — Wave 1
1—1:17:56—RISPOLI, Maxwell—The Meatballs
2—1:18:44—VOORHEES, Peter
3—1:22:30—SMITH, Larry—Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork
4—1:23:12—KLUG, Chris
5—1:23:16—ATWELL, Jonathon
6—1:25:10—WILLIAMS, Brian
7—1:26:23—MISCHKE, Joel—Basalt Bike & Ski
8—1:28:57—ADAMS, Casey—Basalt Bike & Ski
9—1:29:48—MAPLE, Michael—Hub of Aspen
10—1:31:20—CIBULSKY, John
11—1:36:05—CHERNOSKY, David—Groove Subaru
12—1:40:02—BURKLEY, Rich—Limelight Hotels
13—2:06:18—WILSON, Silas
14—2:06:37—WILSON, Brian
15—2:06:40—WILSON, Vaughn
Women 50+ Short Course — Wave 2
1—1:15:49—SHAW, Sara—Limelight Hotels
Men 50+ Short Course — Wave 2
1—1:05:01—TRANTOW, George—Valley Ortho
2—1:05:44—DUBE, Matt
3—1:06:00—COLE, Jeffrey—Hub of Aspen
Men 60+ Short Course — Wave 2
1—1:03:25—SIRIANNI, Phil—Basalt Bike & Ski
2—1:04:15—ARMSTRONG, Mike—Basalt Bike & Ski
3—1:14:26—SLIVA, Glenn—Basalt Bike & Ski
Men 70+ Short Course — Wave 2
1—1:19:04—JONES, Larry
High School Girls Short Course — Wave 2
1—1:08:13—LAZAR, Hazel—CRMS
2—1:16:00—BIER-MOEBIUS, Alexis—CRMS

Race Marshals: John Adamson, Peter Santini, Jon Gibans, Steve Denny, Adam Funk

Results may also be viewed at www.aspencyclingclub.org. Questions about results should be directed to results@aspencyclingclub.org.