Power of Four skimo race returns to Aspen-Snowmass Saturday
The ninth annual Audi Power of Four ski mountaineering race returns to the Aspen-Snowmass mountains Saturday. In what has become one of the country’s premier skimo events, the roughly 24-mile race begins in Snowmass Village and takes athletes up and over all four of the area ski mountains, finishing at the bottom of Aspen Mountain. It requires more than 10,000 vertical feet of climbing.
A United States Ski Mountaineering Association sanctioned event, this year’s Power of Four will serve as the official 2019 national championships in the team and vertical categories. The sprint and individual national championships were awarded in early January at Sunlight Mountain.
The dynamic duo of John Gaston and Max Taam, both Aspen locals, won the 2018 race in a record time of 4 hours, 37 minutes, 36 seconds, a four-minute improvement over the old record, which they had set in 2016. Lindsay Plant and Nikki LaRochelle paired up to win the women’s race in 2018 by nearly 35 minutes.
Racing gets underway Saturday with the sport division at 6 a.m. from Snowmass Base Village. The recreational division, or the Power of Two, will hit the course at 8 a.m. from the base of Aspen Highlands. The Power of Two does not include Snowmass or Buttermilk. An awards ceremony will follow the race at the base of Aspen Mountain.
Some of the athletes will have already qualified or are still looking to qualify for the world championships, scheduled for March 9 to 16 in Switzerland.
Saturday’s skimo race, put on by Aspen Skiing Co., also is the first leg of the Power of Four Triple Crown. The titles go to the top men and women who have the best combined time between the three Power of Four races, which includes the summer’s trail run (July 13) and the mountain bike race (Aug. 17).
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