Endurance Challenge returns at Sunlight | AspenTimes.com

Endurance Challenge returns at Sunlight

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Bernie Boettcher Michael Hagen powers up the last stretch of the uphill during an early lap of Sunlight Mountain's 2010 Endurance Challenge, a hike up/ski down race. Hagen led the solo division for most of the race, finishing 20 laps in less than 12 hours.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Elite endurance athletes and weekend warriors alike will punish their lungs on the slopes at Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs on Sunday.

The Endurance Challenge, a 12-hour race in which competitors repeatedly hike up and ski down the local mountain, is returning for its second year.

From 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., the mountain’s Rebel and Beajolais runs will be swarming with competitors sporting skis, snowboards, snowshoes, stabilizers and even splitboards.

The aim is to complete as many laps as possible in the 12-hour time frame. To record a lap, racers must hike up Rebel and then slide their way down Beaujolais.

Dylan Lewis, Sunlight sales and marketing manager, is anticipating a field of roughly 120 racers. Registration will remain open at http://www.sunlightmtn.com until Saturday at 5 p.m.

“It looks like it’s going to be a great day for a race – sunny and temperatures in the mid-30s,” Lewis said. “There’s plenty more time and more space in the race.”

Competitors may race solo or as part of a duo, four-person relay or a fire-drill team of two or more racers.

Among those expected to compete on Sunday are Michael and Eva Hagen, the Colorado Springs husband-and-wife duo who won last year’s men’s and women’s solo divisions.

Many local endurance race regulars will also take to the Sunlight slopes on Sunday.

“We’ll have a lot of the same crew,” Lewis said. “Michael Hagen, last year’s winner from Colorado Springs, is returning to defend his title, which is exciting. Billy Laird out of Crested Butte is returning. We’ll have Dennis Webb, who races ever year. … Those are some of the big ones that come to mind.”

The race has a loyal following that dates all the way back to its previous form – the 24 Hours of Sunlight.

After a four-year run, 24 Hours of Sunlight met its end in late 2009 following a dispute that led to the resort severing ties with the event’s organizer.

Sunlight Mountain decided to keep the event alive by organizing its own 12-hour version.

“Last year was fantastic,” Lewis said. “We had a great race, good competition and a good turnout. We’re hoping that the strength of last year’s race continues through to this year.”


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