Amazing photos can be viewed by at Crested Butte Photography....Thanks for being out there K2! You will see photos from the course set yesterday as well as the race today....all in mild, blue bird conditions.
With CBMR having an amazing season open wall to wall, the race course was in great shape.....firm snow and tricky climbing were the battles of the day. The 8AM start time provide sunny skies with temps around 9F. Lots of race suits and a "LeMans style" start and racers were off towards the top of the High lift. With the firm refrozen snow from yesterday's balmy January weather, left the snow pack in the early AM "locked up" and tricky to get good purchase with your skins.
At the top of the first climb it was Brian Smith 1st opening up a solid 1 minute lead, Wick 2nd with Pete Swenson & Travis Scheefer right in line. Down the first descent off of Headwall saw the leaders all hold their positions...with Smith, gone off the front!
A short skin and transition at the top of the North Face, and it was blazing, high speed bumps down Hawk's Nest to another climb up into Phoenix/Spellbound (CBMR's legendary Extreme terrain). With the top skier's all maintaining their respective gaps, no one was giving up any ground.
Topping out of Spellbound and taking a left down Schoefield Road (Al Johnson route) it was another skin rip as athletes raced down to the bottom of Teocalli Bowl for the last climb. This last climb culminated with a (500-700ft) boot pack up to the top of the peak on Mt. CB (12,162ft). The boot pack only took about what seemed like 5-7 minutes.
Topping out first was Brian Smith with a huge 2+ minute lead, followed by Wick, and then Aspen ski patroller Max Taam....who made a move to over take Pete Swenson prior to the boot pack. The descent off the peak was typical "ski mountaineering" snow, leading to some challenging conditions down. Max Taam was able to over take Wick for 2nd with some great skills charging down through the refrozen bump fields of Peel & Forrest. Wick 3rd, and Pete Swenson holding off Travis Scheefer, who finished 5th.
In the women's field, its was Sari Anderson taking 1st over US National Champion, Janelle Smiley, followed by Monique Merrill and Jari Kirkland.
Thank you to the CBMR Ski Patrol & Event Staff who were super helpful in set up and tear down of the race course...and keeping us safe!
Next up? SIA Sunday to meet with sponsors, and Monday is on snow demo and a COSMIC race at Winter Park to show case the sport during the event. Pray for snow!