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A successful chase

Dear Editor:The Owl Creek Chase stepped it up this year. Along with being a national points event for elite racers, the Chase hosted a Junior Olympic qualifier for nearly 200 young people from around the state, over 200 citizen racers and about 50 Bappa Tour skiers out there for no other reason than to enjoy sliding on snow and enjoying each other’s company. That adds up to nearly 500 racers and an equal amount of spectators.We rounded out the activities with free waxing clinics, a free “ski with the pros” morning and an AVSC nighttime drag race event in Wagner Park. Five thousand in cash prizes and about that same number in raffle prizes were distributed to participants. Owl Creek Chase was a “Near-Zero-Waste” event, and we offset all the CO2 emissions of the event (including participants’ travel) by investing in renewable energy through Native Energy. This was thanks to the vision of Ruthie Brown and Rocky Mountain Nordic, our title sponsor, as well as the Aspen Canary Initiative staff. Needless to say, an event with this many moving parts could only be pulled off with a group of people with the passion to make it happen.So, my deepest gratitude to: Nancy, Sandy, and Andrea – city of Aspen recreation department, for timing, logistics and being the core of our organizing group. Austin Weiss – chief of grooming, for untold hours and unreal corduroy. Ben Dodge and his crew (especially David Parker) – chief of course, for bringing course organization into the 21st century with to the minute updates for race officials.Craig Ward (and his buddy Casey) – chief of start for getting two starts and six groups of racers started flawlessly and on time. Paul Perley and the entire Ute Mountaineer staff – for going beyond retail. Mike Trecker – for connecting us online with the greater Nordic world and announcing with knowledge and vigor that even John Madden can’t touch!John Callahan – AVSC nordic coach for embracing the concept and making it possible for the junior skiers to share the same venue as their heroes, the elite racers. The families that opened their homes to house our out of town skiers. The Ham Radio Club – for providing instantaneous communication along a 25-kilometer stretch.The Aspen Snowmass Nordic Council for their continued vision and support. The Aspen Skiing Co. for helping us across their venues. The town of Snowmass Village police department for getting us safely across Owl Creek Road which, by the way, is the only public road the a skier must cross on the way from Snowmass to Aspen. The many volunteers out on the race course keeping our racers and tourers safe and happy.And finally, my wife Ruth for being the steadiest of companions in the chaos of racing and life.Pulling community together is always a goal of the Ute Mountaineer and Aspen rec department’s partnership in events. I thank the people of Aspen for the opportunity to show our stuff.Bob WadeChief of raceAspen


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