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Colorado: Big ski races coming up in Crested Butte

Alley Loop. Photo courtesy of Xavier Fane/Crested Butte Nordic Center.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Nordic racers and ski mountaineers may want to start making plans for two of Colorado’s classic events coming up in Crested Butte.

The Alley Loop, now in its 26 year, has been tabbed to be part of the American Ski Marathon Series, North America’s longest-running and largest citizen’s racing and touring series. The Alley Loop is already an American Birkebeiner qualifier, and a popular event on its own, drawing more than 550 skiers from 17 states in 2011.

This year’s Alley Loop, scheduled for Feb. 4, will be the only Colorado event in the ASM series, which includes events like the American Birkebeiner, Yellowstone Rendezvous and Tour of Anchorage.

“We’ve been wanting to add another western event for a number of years,” said J.D. Downing, director of the American Ski Marathon Series, “and the Alley Loop ended up being the perfect fit.” Continue reading

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Lindsey Vonn snags World Cup downhill trophy

Olympic champion Lindsey Vonn holds the crystal globe she won for taking the season-long Audi FIS World Cup downhill title in 2010 after the final downhill race of the season in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. (Doug Haney/U.S. Ski Team)

Colorado racer earns coveted title with secon-place finish in Italy

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Vail’s Lindsey Vonn continued to strengthen her position as one of the best speed event ski racers in recent years by winning this season’s World Cup downhill title just one day after nabbing the super-combined trophy.

Vonn finished second to Sweden’s Anja Parson Saturday in the next-to-last downhill of the season at Tarvisio, Italy, taking an insurmountable 143-point lead over Germany’s Maria Riesch. Continue reading

Summit sheriffs ski to to a three-peat win in Vail

Annual peace officers ski and snowboard races held Feb. 25 in Vail

Tayler Clancy, Jeff Wilson and Mark Watson skied to a big win at a Vail competition last week.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — For the third year in a row, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office ski team raced to a first place finish in the 38th annual Colorado Peace Officers Ski/Snowboard Race held February 25 in Vail, Colorado. In addition to the first place Advanced Team finish, deputy Jeff Wilson, technician Mark Watson and deputy Tayler Clancy also posted impressive individual performances.  Wilson and Watson finished in first and second place in the men’s competition, while Clancy captured first place in the women’s division.

Summit sheriff’s deputies dominate Vail races

The Summit County Sheriff's Office ski team took some top spots during a recent competition at Vail.

Local lawmen post top finishes in annual peace officers event

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — For the second year in a row, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office team skied to a first place finish in the Annual Colorado Peace Officers Ski/Snowboard Race held Feb. 26 in Vail.

In addition to the first place advanced team finish, deputy Jeff Wilson, technician Mark Watson and detective Wes Mumford also posted impressive individual performances, with Wilson coming in winning the overall competition, followed by Watson in second place, and Mumford in sixth place.

About 120 participants and 23 teams participated in this year’s race. The event was founded in 1973 by former Vail Police Department officer (now Routt County undersheriff) David Bustos.  The event features a race on Vail’s Golden Peak, lunch at Mid-Vail and an awards pizza party at the bottom of Gold Peak at the end of the day.
The trophy, a slab of white marble from Marble, Colorado with a bronze skier, was designed by Vail jeweler Craig Cook in the early 1990s.

The award has traditionally been a traveling trophy; however, in recent years there was insufficient space to display all 37 years’ worth of plaques. This year, the Vail Police Department will be adding a large wooden base, and the trophy will be displayed in the Colorado Ski Museum. “Kind of like the Stanley Cup,” joked Eagle County Undersheriff Layman.

A special thanks goes out to Völkl Ski Company, for their donation of race skis for the SCSO team, and to the Copper Mountain Race Department for their training time and assistance.

Breck skiers post good results at races in Andorra

The Five Peaks Race (April 10) will cover some serious ups and downs along the crest of the Tenmile Range near Breckenridge.

Mona Merrill and Pete Swenson are racing to top-tier spots in this week’s  ski mountaineering world championships

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A pair of locals are competing against the world’s best in the ski mountaineering world championships, and they hope news of their success at World Championships in Andorra will help generate more awareness for their sport.

Mona Merrill placed 9th in the Vertical Race March 1 and 9th in the March 3 individual race as the top finisher for the U.S. Pete Swenson finished 29th in the men’s individual race, also held March 3. Click here to visit the International Ski Mountaineering World Championship web site. This link will take you to some photos and video from the event.

Ski mountaineering races feature up and down loops over rugged backcountry terrain in variable backcountry snow conditions. They have become very popular in Europe and are starting to catch on in the U.S. The U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association is online here.

“Summit County is actually getting recognized because Pete Swenson placed in the top 30 (a huge feat in Europe) and I was in the top ten,” Mona Merrill wrote in a short e-mail from the event. “I was also top-ten in the vertical race for the women, which is also a great accomplishment,” she said. Continue reading

Vail to rename trail for Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn will have a trail named in her honor at Vail Mountain. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. SKI TEAM.

Trail names often offer a glimpse of skiing heritage and history

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Lindsey Vonn’s gold medal downhill run at the Vancouver Olympics will be memorialized with a trail name at Vail Mountain, according to a press release from Vail Resorts.

The expert “International” trail on Vail Mountain will be renamed Lindsey’s.  A new trail sign will greet skiers and snowboarders today.The trail was used for women’s speed events during the World Alpine Ski Championships at Vail and Beaver Creek in 1989 and 1999.

Read more about historic ski trail names after the break. Continue reading

World Cup tele racing coming to Summit County

Drew Hauser carves a powerful tele arc around a gate at a race in Idaho a few seasons ago. PHOTO COURTESY TORY HAUSER. Click on the image to see a series of tele racing photos from the 2009 World Championships.

Classic, GS races set for Feb. 25 -28 at Keystone, as Tory Hauser helps bring telemark ski racing full circle in Summit County; a few volunteers still needed for top-level free-heel comp

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — For the the first time ever, World Cup-level telemark racing is coming to Summit County, as free-heelers on the tour swing through Keystone Feb. 25-28, with four races on the schedule.

After the opening ceremony Wednesday at the Silverthorne Pavilion (6 p.m.) racers from around the world will compete in Classic tele races on the Go Devil trail, with Giant Slalom races set for Saturday and Sunday at the same venue.

Thirty five racers from Europe and Japan will join 20 American racers, most of them members of the U.S. National Team. Five U.S. racers competed in Norway last month, where 17-year-old Lorin Paley of Steamboat Springs had a third place podium finish in the classic event in Bjorli, Norway. Lorin is the first US racer to stand on the podium at this level of racing since 2003.

“She will be a racer to watch during these races in her home state,” said race organizer Tory Hauser.

Since telemark racing is not Olympic event, the World Cup races are the top level of competition for the racers dedicated to this sport.

Silverthorne is the host town for the event and the home of Drew Hauser, who was crowned junior world champion last season. Hauser is looking forward to competing on his home mountain, where he’s trained since he was in sixth grade.

“It should be fun,” said Hauser, now a student at the University of Nevada in Reno. “All these racers are from ski towns, too. It’s going to be nice to show them my home town.”

He said he knows some of the women racers are going to enjoy visiting the factory outlets in Silverthorne during their stay in Summit County.

“I know those girls love to shop,” he said.

As a junior at UNR, Hauser said he hasn’t been training as much this year, but he’s still been making turns. Sugar Bowl Ski Area and Vail Resorts are among his sponsors.

“All that powder skiing makes me happy,” he said, referring to some of the ski days he’s enjoyed at Sugar Bowl this season.

For Drew’s dad, the World Cup races at Keystone will help bring the circle of telemark racing full circle in Summit County. Tory Hauser was one of the early Colorado revivalists of the time-honored Norwegian free-heel technique and was the president of the original Summit Series telemark races that eventually led to an international renaissance of tele racing.

A fun story on the Friends of Berthoud Pass web site features some info on early tele skiing in Colorado.

Read bit more on the modern revival of telemark skiing (not just racing) here on the TelemarkTribe web site.

Hauser said so much time has passed since then that most of the racers on the circuit today don’t realize that modern tele racing grew in part from Summit County roots. The Keystone races will provide a chance for the current generation to reconnect with that heritage.

Continue reading

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