Gaston outduels Hamilton to win annual Snowmass 50 mountain bike race

Aspen's John Gaston competes in the Snowmass 50 mountain bike race on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, in Snowmass Village. Gaston won the 50-mile race in 4:36:28.
Jeremy Swanson/Aspen Skiing Co.

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.