Vail Recreation District’s first ‘real’ ski mountaineering race draws dozens of people out of area

Peter Davis of Eagle placed third in the men’s 40-59 division in the Vail Recreation District’s first-ever ski mountaineering race on Saturday.
Photo by Bobby Cornwell

A first Vail Recreational District ski mountaineering race drew dozens of out-of-town competitors to the area on Saturday.

The Meadow Mountain site provided a more authentic ski-mountaineering racing atmosphere, organizers and competitors said, which the recreation district had not been able to achieve during its on-site runs in the ski area. ‘Arrowhead of Beaver Creek.

Meadow Mountain can be accessed via the US Forest Service’s Holy Cross Ranger station near Dowd Junction.

“It was our first real ski-mo race,” said Beth Pappas of the Vail Recreation District. “Really, this was our first non-resort winter event.”

The recreation district holds a permit from the Forest Service to host a summer event at Meadow Mountain, which made it easier to organize a winter event, Pappas said. Nonetheless, the Meadow Mountain event is unique for this season, as it took a lot of effort to put it together.

“I wish we could have one every weekend,” Pappas said. “The demand is there.

The event filled up to 80 competitors; 64 finished the race, and 41 of them came from outside of Eagle County.

“People are a little desperate to run,” said Jill Seager, who won the women’s expert division.

Seager said she often searches for races statewide and said many races have been canceled this season. She said seeing the large number of out-of-town competitors at the Vail Race was “good and bad.”

“I know we’re in a pandemic and we all need to make smart decisions and think about the risk assessment and what you want to do, but it’s cool to have the opportunity,” Seager said. .

Many other ski mountaineering races in the area have been canceled this season. The Arapahoe Basin Annual Series takes place as a virtual event.

The Vail Recreation District’s very first ski mountaineering race took place at Meadow Mountain near Minturn on Saturday, February 20, 2021.
Photo by Bobby Cornwell

Seager said Vail’s race was a backyard style competition, with entry-level divisions that made it less intimidating for those curious to get into the sport.

And in recent years, more and more people are curious to get into the sport. Seager ran for five years with her husband Ross Herr and said every time they showed up to a race it got more crowded.

“I think Vail is coming at the right time and these races are absolutely going to continue to grow,” she said.

But with this season’s COVID-19 limitations, the sport was stifled just as it started to take off. The US Ski Mountaineering Association was forced to cancel their national championship and national team this seasonbecause the qualifying events for the national championship – originally scheduled for Eldora Mountain and Sunlight Mountain in Colorado – have been canceled.

Naturally competitive

Seager and Herr live in Silverthorne; Herr grew up in Eagle County. He said some of his earliest memories of hiking uphill come from Meadow Mountain.

“It was one of the first places I went to understand how my AT bindings work and to fine tune the climbs,” he said.

These mountaineering or AT bindings, associated with a pair of skins under your skis, constitute the essential equipment for ski touring. And as the activity grew in popularity, naturally, the competitive element of alpine hiking also became more popular. Herr said the reason he was racing on Saturday was because he and his friend Doug Stenclik often argued over who was faster in transition – removing the skins and adjusting their settings to come back down the hill after traveling.

“It’s pretty fun making fun of your friends when they’re slow in their transition (from hiking to alpine and back), or when they’re fumbling with their gear,” Herr said. “So ski mountaineering races are kind of a time to hang out with your friends to show that you’re faster at it. “

The Meadow Mountain course was 2 miles long, with 800 feet of elevation gain. Competitors in the expert division completed three laps, the intermediate division did two and the rookies did one.

Pappas said that while the demand is there to have more ski mountaineering races, his team is not quite ready to make it a regular thing just yet. This race involved a lot of volunteer work – longtime underground skimo race host Dawes Wilson spent hours helping set up the course.

“Dawes was a big help in designing the course and integrating the skin track,” Pappas said.

Nonetheless, “I think it’s definitely something we will consider again for next season,” Pappas said. “The reviews were really positive. “

The Vail Recreation District will be hosting a snowshoe race at the Vail Nordic Center on March 13.

Full results below:

Expert division

20 to 39 year old male

  1. Collin Chartier, 48:19, Littleton, CO
  2. Matthew Fox, 49:14, Palo Alto CA
  3. Ross Herr, 50:04, Silverthorne, CO
  4. Doug Stenclik, 50:23, Carbondale CO
  5. Paul Mumford, 52:15, Leadville CO
  6. Tyler Jones, Edwards CO
  7. Jimmy Howe, 58:02, Boulder CO
  8. Tyler Eaton, 1:01:15, Edwards CO
  9. Stephen Rosenman, 1:04:42, Frisco CO
  10. Franklin Mansseh, 1:09:03, Carbondale CO
  11. Alister Ratcliff, 1:11:57, Avon CO
  12. Andrew Nordyke, 1:21:20, Leadville CO
  13. William Stephens, 1:24:06, Englewood CO
  14. Aashish Kabra, 1:32:06, Glenwood Springs CO
  15. Jonathan Zeschin, 1:38:01, Denver CO
  16. Taff Dirks, 2:07:55, Denver CO

Woman aged 20 to 39

  1. Jill Seager, 59:26, Silverthorne CO
  2. Alyssa McBride, 1:18:41, Boulder CO
  3. Ryan Ernstes, 1:21:20, Boulder CO
  4. Elisabeth Meinig, 1:28:15, Longmont CO

Male 40 to 59

  1. Ryan Koster, 57:51, Aspen CO
  2. Brett Donelson, 1:00:09, Edwards CO
  3. Peter Davis, 1:09:22, Eagle CO
  4. Andrew Letherby, 1:10:52, Leadville CO
  5. Kevin Roop, 1:14:44, Edwards CO
  6. Dan Ben-Horin, 1:17:04, Whitewater CO
  7. Dan Timm, 1:17:29, Vail CO
  8. Henry Reed, 1:21:15, Edwards CO
  9. Julius Kovats, 1:21:25, Manitou Springs CO
  10. Tim Meyer, 1:33:21, Vail CO

Woman 40 to 59

  1. Jaime Brede, 1:03:13, Breckenridge CO
  2. Jaime Bakeman, 1:24:22, Englewood CO

Male 60 years and over

  1. Dawes Wilson, 1:13:45, Vail CO
  2. Guy Gadomski, 1:18:59, Dillon CO
  3. Paul Gotthelf, 1:28:39, Edwards CO
  4. Thomas McParlan, 1:36:55, Edwards CO

Woman 60 years and over

  1. Ellen Miller, 1:45:13, Vail CO

Intermediate division

Female 19 and under

  1. Delilah Staberg, 58:10, Silverthorne CO
  2. Lyla Lanning, 1:15:28, Boulder CO

20 to 39 year old male

  1. Tyler Chartier, 50:01, Denver CO
  2. Eddie Rogers, 56:04, Steamboat Springs CO

Woman aged 20 to 39

  1. Ariana Schiff, 1:05:57, Woody Creek CO
  2. Hannah Hesser, 1:07:33, Dillon CO
  3. Lynn Hall, 1:11:58, Leadville CO

Male 40 to 59

  1. Douglas Jiminez, 44:29, Avon CO
  2. Jason Staberg, 53:30, Silverthorne CO
  3. Troy Brown, 1:07:08, Gypsum CO
  4. Rory Lanning, 1:14:21, Boulder CO
  5. Edgard Cabanillas, 1:51:00, Vail CO

Woman 40 at 59 Price (s)

  1. Abby Brown, 56:59, Gypsum CO
  2. Monica Lacroix, 1:12:26, ​​Broomfield CO

Male 60 years and over

  1. Michael Nowicki, 1:02:24, Littleton CO
  2. Rob Balgley, 1:11:03, Eagle CO

Woman 60 years and over

  1. Eileen Brown, 1:14:09, Frisco CO

Beginner division

Female 19 and under

  1. Maizy Douglas, 29:21, Vail CO
  2. Katie McDonald, 33:11, Eauclaire WI

20 to 39 year old male

  1. Jeffrey Geller, 47:49, Edwards CO
  2. Victor Brena, 1:00:01, Colorado Springs CO
  3. José Elio, 1:00:04, Denver CO

Woman aged 20 to 39

  1. Jen VanCleave, 39:46, Littleton CO

Male 40 to 59

  1. Julio Narvaez, 59:05, Colorado Springs CO

Woman 40 to 59

  1. McKenna Douglas, 33:14, Vail CO
  2. Monica McDonald, 35:08, Eauclaire WI

Male 60 years and over

  1. Tom Fiore, 31:45, Eagle CO

Woman 60 years and over

  1. Molly Ansfield, 37:32, Eagle CO

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