Mountain Outfitters Breckenridge to host Grand Traverse talk Tuesday

Grand Traverse ski mountaineering racers cross Star Pass near Crystal Peak in the Elk Mountain Range in 2019.
Courtesy Chris Miller

BRECKENRIDGE — Two months ahead of this winter’s Grand Traverse ski-mountaineering race, a pair of Summit County locals will host a talk about the esteemed winter endurance race at the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, Brad and Nikki LaRochelle of Breckenridge will host a chat at Mountain Outfitters in Breckenridge about the Grand Traverse race from Crested Butte to Aspen, which is scheduled for March 29. The talk is scheduled for 5:30-6:30 p.m.

The LaRochelles have done the Grand Traverse more than 16 times and will share thoughts on what they’ve learned along the way, including going over their gear list, the challenges of the 40-mile race, hydration and more.

“There’s a lot of tips and tricks and pieces of knowledge that if you know beforehand it can make it a big difference in your overall result,” Nikki LaRochelle said.

Each winter, the Grand Traverse race series hosts its ski mountaineering race, a point-to-point journey from Crested Butte to Aspen across the Elk Mountain range. Along the way, racers climb more than 6,800 vertical feet. Some years, the course is altered due to weather and other hazardous backcountry conditions.

Last year, Nikki LaRochelle and fellow Breckenridge local Kate Zander won the overall women’s Grand Traverse team ski-mountaineering race as a team dubbed “Mom’s in a Hurry.” The duo completed the course in 8 hours, 24 minutes and 14.3 seconds, nearly an hour quicker than the next fastest women’s team.

The year before, Nikki and Brad LaRochelle finished fourth overall among the top male, female and co-ed teams, with a final time of 7 hours and 14 minutes.

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