Blast the Mass descends on S’mass |

Blast the Mass descends on S’mass

Racer Casey Post roars through a turn on the Banzai Downhill during the 2002 Blast the Mass in Snowmass Village. The fourth annual event returns today through Sunday. Aspen Times photo/Paul Conrad.

The fourth annual Blast the Mass rolls into Snowmass Village this weekend for the Big Burn Cross Country race, the Banzai Downhill race and the Fanny Hill Mountain Cross.As the sixth stop in the prestigious Mountain States Cup Series, sanctioned by the National Off-Road Biking Association (NORBA), Blast the Mass is expected to draw 850 racers and 1,500 spectators.Practice in all three events opens today.Blast the Mass also serves as a qualifier for the NORBA National Championships, slated for Aug. 5-8 at Snowmass.

“The courses and trails at Snowmass are great – our participants love racing here,” said Pamela Jean, a race organizer with Cycle Cyndicate, the producer of all nine Mountain States Cup Series races.”Then with the hospitality and the concerts we’ve seen here, it makes it a race not to be missed,” she added.The competition opens Saturday morning with the Big Burn Cross Country race, starting between 9 and 9:45 a.m. near the Snowmass Village Mall. The 13-mile course is 60 percent “pure Colorado single-track,” including sections of the Government Trail, and about 40 percent fire road with 3,000 vertical feet of climbing per lap. The course promises to test riders’ technical ability and endurance.Riders in the pro and expert classes will race two laps; sport and junior division racers will complete the loop once.

Registration will remain open until 8 a.m. Saturday morning.The Fanny Hill Mountain Cross opens with practice and seeding runs Saturday morning, with the finals slated for 4 p.m. Similar to boardercross and skiercross, mountain cross features four riders racing head-to-head in heats on a course that includes jumps, bumps and banked turns. The Bonzai Downhill race takes over on Sunday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. with the pro seeding runs. The 2.4-mile course drops 1,700 vertical feet and includes slow, “techy” rocks and roots, as well as wide-open rough, ski run. The course also boasts large jumps and extremely dicey sections, but race officials note there are moderate, alternative lines.Downhillers are scheduled to practice today and Saturday (which is also last call for registering).

Based on cumulative results from the nine Mountain States Cup Series races, a men’s and women’s regional champion will be crowned (for an area that includes Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah and Arizona). The finals are scheduled for September at Keystone.Racers may register at the Snowmass Ticket Pavilion on the Snowmass Village Mall. For more information, go online at

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