Power of Four trail run, mountain bike race returns July 28-29 to Aspen
The summer Audi Power of Four will make its annual return to the valley this weekend with its challenging two-day affair spanning Aspen and Snowmass Village.
According to event organizer Brendan Collins, the mountain bike race will be a touch longer than in recent years with some new trail additions and a return to the top of the Snowmass Ski Area.
“It’s about 37 miles for the Power of Four race and then 20 miles for the Power of Two,” Collins said. “We are going to be including French Press, which is one of the new flow trails, or the new lift-served trails in Snowmass as part of the bike park. Those are pretty much the only changes.”
The race starts at 8 a.m. at Base Village in Snowmass and, as the name suggests, takes competitors over each of the four area ski mountains. The final piece takes riders down Aspen Mountain with a finish in Gondola Plaza.
Despite crashing while descending Ajax last year, Aspen’s John Gaston won the shortened 2017 Power of Four mountain bike race in 2 hours, 59 minutes, 9.3 seconds. Carbondale’s Levi Gavette was the 2017 Power of Two winner, finishing in 1:07:05.2. The Power of Two race finishes at Buttermilk and doesn’t include Highlands or Aspen Mountain.
Sunday’s Power of Four trail run begins at 6 a.m. at Gondola Plaza and finishes about 31 miles later at Base Village in Snowmass. There also are 25K and 10K options, both of which also finish in Snowmass. The full 50K ultra and the 25K race are part of the Skyrunner USA Series.
Morgan Elliott, a Pennsylvania native who has previously lived in the valley, won last year’s Power of Four trail run, his second win in as many years. His winning time was 5:06:22. Carbondale’s Sean Van Horn was second in 5:25:02.1, while Durango’s Kathryn Ross took the women’s crown in 6:11:09.4.
Returning for the second year is the Triple Crown, which awards the top overall men and women who finish all three of the Power of Four races, which includes the winter’s ski mountaineering race, won by the duo of Gaston and Max Taam. Van Horn won last year’s Triple Crown for the men, while Basalt’s Maddy Fones was the women’s Triple Crown winner.
Collins said he only expects about a dozen people to compete in both the mountain bike race and trail run this weekend, meaning the competition for the Triple Crown will be minimal. He also doesn’t expect the Lake Christine Fire to factor into the race.
“Other than smoke — and at this point it’s fairly minimal — I do not anticipate it impacting our event,” Collins said.
Of the 10 players listed on the varsity roster ahead of Tuesday’s home game with Summit, two were juniors, seven were sophomores and one was a freshman. It’s a far cry from the class of 10 seniors who last season led the Skiers to a perfect 27-0 mark and the Class 3A state championship.