Nordic skiers stage roller ski time trial |

Nordic skiers stage roller ski time trial

Nordic skiers, like Jack Sweney of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, faced a fierce headwind near the end of the course at last weekend's Castle Creek time trial.
Photo courtesy of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club |

Skinny skiers broke out their skate roller skis for Sunday’s Rocky Mountain Nordic time trial on Castle Creek Road, an event that attracted about 40 of the region’s best cross country skiers to Ashcroft and environs.

Traditionally held on Maroon Creek Road, the time trial — the highlight of the weekend RMN camp hosted by Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club — was shifted one valley over this year due to the government shutdown and confusion surrounding parking for the Maroon Bells.

While the elevation gain and finish area altitude — about 9,500 feet above sea level — are comparable at both venues, this year racers faced a headwind that many described as “brutal.”

As this was a two-run event, (competitors took a 10-minute rest between runs), the skiers twice faced these challenging conditions from the 3K course.

“Aspen always has a rough course,” said Ian Boucher, 17, a Crested Butte resident who trains with Ski and Snowboard Club Vail. “This year the wind made a few of the pitches harder. The last hill was a real burner.”

Boucher finished fourth among U18s on Sunday, narrowly beating AVSC’s Hudson McNamee.

Boucher three weeks ago won the annual Chris Severy Invitational high school cross country running race in Aspen.

Aspen’s Nick Sweeney was eighth in the U18s, and Jack Sweeney finished fourth among U16 boys.

AVSC’s Hailey Swirbul, a U16, demolished the rest of the women’s field, all of whom were older than the 15-year-old.

Swirbul won the girls race at the Chris Severy Invitational, as well.

But the camp was about more than results, said Maria Stuber, AVSC’s new Nordic Director.

“It was good aerobic practice and good for the kids to see other people from around the state,” Stuber said.

While the time trial results don’t necessarily determine who is the best skier this winter, it’s one way this group of competitors was able to gauge who was fastest on the hill that particular day.

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