Power of Four ski race to take off Saturday
The sixth annual Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race is back again Saturday.
The Audi-Aspen Skiing Co. four-mountain race will start again in Snowmass. Ascents and decents of Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain will follow.
In addition, there is a Power of Two race that covers Highlands and aspen Mountain.
The ski mountaineering event is an annual test of endurance for the athletes, who race in teams of two. The four-mountain course covers 24 miles and includes more than 10,000 feet of vertical gain.
The 6 a.m. start at Snowmass Village will include a traverse to West Buttermilk as well as a skin up Aspen Highlands (including the bowl).
A final skin up Midnight Mine Road takes the skiers to the top of Aspen Mountain for the final ski descent to the finish at the base of the gondola.
A Power of Four Uphilling Demo Festival will be staged at the gondola plaza Saturday.
“No other course includes so much climbing,” said Aspen’s Max Taam, who won the race last year with Aspen partner John Gaston. “It’s the longest and most difficult course in the U.S., and it attracts a large deep field.”
William Laird and Jon Brown of the Crested Butte area finished second last year.
Pete Swenson and rory Kelley were third.
Carbondale’s Lindsay Plant and Stevie Kremer teamed to win the women’s race. Kremer, from Crested Butte, also is a multiple winner of the Aspen Backcountry Marathon.
Jessie Young and Annie Gonzales of Aspen were second among the women last year.
The Power of Four Uphilling Demo Festival, co-sponsored by the City of Aspen, will allow people to test uphilling gear from multiple suppliers.
The demo will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fully aware he was in the midst of the mountain bike race of his life, Aspen’s John Gaston said he “tried to not think too far ahead” to prevent the magnitude of the moment from getting to him. He eventually finished runner-up in the iconic race.
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