Loveland ski mountaineering race set for Saturday | SummitDaily.com

Loveland ski mountaineering race set for Saturday

DEVON O'NEIL
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily file photo/Kristin Anderson
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LOVELAND ” The inaugural Colorado Ski Mountaineering Cup, a five-race randonee race circuit that takes place throughout the state, makes the first of two stops along the Continental Divide this weekend.

Loveland Ski Area will be the venue for the third race in this year’s series, which is the vision of Breckenridge resident Pete Swenson, the defending ski mountaineering national champion. The fourth race in the series is set for Silverton Mountain on April 21, with the fifth annual Grind at Arapahoe Basin wrapping up the series on April 28.

For Saturday’s race at Loveland, Swenson said the course will begin with a run, skis in hand, through the pedestrian tunnel under Interstate 70. Then the racers will travel up and down and across much of the ski area, north to south, including at least one stop on the Continental Divide for the race division participants (there is also a rec division, which is shorter than the race class).

Swenson said the rec division will include about 2,500 vertical feet of climbing, while the race division will feature about 4,000 feet of climbing.

As always, the event is open to telemark gear, alpine touring gear and split-boards.

About 60 competitors showed up for each of the first two COSMIC races, at Sunlight and Snowmass earlier this winter. However, with the cancellation of a Life-Link series randonee race that was scheduled for this weekend in Kirkwood, Calif. ” the resort has received incredible amounts of snow over the past 10 days ” Swenson said he expects Saturday’s field to be stacked.

“The Jackson Hole guys will be there, the Crested Butte guys will be there; it’ll be really competitive this weekend,” he said.

Ethan Passant of Crested Butte has won each of the first two COSMIC races on AT gear, with Karen Kingsley of Ophir taking the first two women’s overall crowns. Breckenridge’s Sue King has finished second to Kingsley in both races. They should get some competition from Breck resident Monique Merrill, who is slated to make her COSMIC competitive debut on Saturday, Swenson said.

He said the course offers a unique challenge for rec division racers because it allows them to cover a great deal of ground “without really any steep climbs or having to cover a ton of vertical.”

The race division, meanwhile, features one of the more challenging routes in the series and should test even the experienced competitors.

Telemark division winners in the race division get a pair of Black Diamond bindings, while AT winners get $200 apiece, with the second- and third-place AT finishers also receiving cash.

For more information, go to http://www.cosmicski.com. Saturday’s race begins at 8 a.m.

Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-4633, or at doneil@summitdaily.com.


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