Breckenridge Ascent ski mountaineering races continue
For its third race, the five-event Breckenridge Ascent Series shifted gears Wednesday — moving from early morning to evening ski mountaineering competitions for the remaining races.
Put on by the town of Breckenridge Recreation Department in conjunction with Breckenridge Ski Resort, the races — now in their sixth year — have aimed to capture the growing popularity of ski mountaineering.
“It’s really blown up in the state of Colorado,” Brian Schaefer, events coordinator for the Breckenridge rec center, said of uphill ski racing, adding that the increased number of local events is a testament to the growing sport.
For Frisco resident Linsey Kach, it’s a way to transition from summer running to an alternate winter activity.
“The draw for me is friendly competition and great exercise,” Kach, who helped create the event when she worked for the rec department, said. “I just do it for the social aspect and to get some exercise.”
Kach credited increasingly light touring gear and the community appeal of the competitions for their increased popularity.
“You can go in any ski shop and they all have uphill gear. It’s definitely a growing sport,” she said. “I’m always excited to see new friends show up at the race.”
Wednesday’s event included long-course and short-course options, both with finishes at the top of the Independence SuperChair on Peak 7 at Breckenridge.
Around 30 avid uphillers charged off the starting line at the Peak 8 base area at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Long-course participants climbed to near the top of Peak 8’s Rocky Mountain SuperChair before skiing part way down and then climbing to the finish on Peak 7. Short-course riders took a more direct route to the summit finish, skipping most of the Peak 8 Climb.
Matt Tomasko took the top spot on the men’s long course, completing the race in 40 minutes. Jamie Falcon finished first in the women’s race, tackling the challenging route in just over 48 minutes. Devin Cole won the men’s short-course competition in 34 minutes, 17 seconds. Erin Socks was the women’s short-course winner, finishing in 36:09.
The series continues Wednesday, March 25, with a ski-mountaineering-inspired pairs race on Peak 10. It concludes Wednesday, April 15, with a lap course on Peak 7. Competitors will have an hour to do as many laps as possible. Race registration is available online through the rec center website for $20 or on the day of the race for $22.
A Basin Alpenglow Ascents Rando Challenge
Building on the popularity of its Rise n Shine morning randonee series, Arapahoe Basin Ski area will host its second annual Alpenglow Ascents Rando Challenge races later this month. The Saturday-afternoon races will take place on March 21 and April 18. Each will also have long- and short-course options.
The long course will take skiers from the base area to the summit and include 2,300 feet of vertical gain. The short course will turn around near midmountain with 1,300 feet of elevation gain.
Races are $20 each or $30 with a post-race appetizer buffet and beer.
More information is available on A-Basin’s webpage.
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