Copper hosts Copper Crush MTB race and Capture the Flag for adults this weekend | SummitDaily.com

Copper hosts Copper Crush MTB race and Capture the Flag for adults this weekend

You're never too old for capture the flag.

Just ask Alex Marsh: This Sunday, the 36-year-old attorney from Frisco joins hundreds of adults, kids and kids-in-adult-form for the first-ever Capture the Flag fundraiser at Copper.

"I've always been a fan of capture the flag, ever since I was an adolescent boy," he said, who started training this summer when organizers announced games in and around Center Village. "It's one of those great sports with some athleticism and strategy. Some people are good at sneaking through bushes, others are good at running back and forth, and others are good at strategy."

For him, this alpine-meets-urban version of Capture the Flag is a childhood dream come true. As a boy, he and a group of friends started playing on abandoned logs, slash and other ephemera near a golf course in his native Nebraska. After just one summer of hiding and chasing and laughing, they'd formed a capture the flag league, with rules and teams and standings — the whole nine yards.

"There's so much strategy," said Marsh, who approaches the game like chess, or maybe Stratego. "I love when the teams first split up, and you go to each side. You start talking about strengths, weaknesses, the course, what will happen out there. Once it gets started, the time just flies."

When Marsh first heard about the Copper event, he couldn't say no. He's been friends with the event organizers, Summit native Amanda Groneman and former local Kally Kuhlmann, ever since the three worked together at Arapahoe Basin: he at the ski shop, they at ski school.

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This weekend's event is Kuhlmann and Groneman's first fundraiser for Camp Powder Gap, an all-ages, all-season camp in Summit or Lake County they started seriously planning about a year back.

"These are girls who have college degrees and have applied their profession to having fun," Marsh said. "When they have an idea, they make it happen. They aren't your average ski bums."

Camp Powder Gap is the co-founders' baby and brainchild, but, while the camp is still in its infancy, Capture the Flag at Copper gives participants a taste of the all-ages fun they have in mind for the future.

"This was always one of my favorite camp games as a counselor (and) as a kid," said Kuhlmann, who's made a career working for youth summer camps and nonprofits like SOS Outreach. "No one has done capture the flag through Center Village before. It's organized chaos for a day — we'll be turning Copper upside down and have a blast doing it."

Capture the Flag isn't the only pulse-pounding event at Copper this weekend and next. Here's a look at a trio of activities for everyone, from mountain-bike masochists to road jockeys to, yes, kids like Marsh who are still playing capture the flag.

Copper Crush MTB races, July 30

For one reason or another, the local mountain-bike community has snubbed Copper. Why? Not sure. Like every square inch of the county, the resort's wooded fire roads and challenging singletrack on steep, gladed slopes are ripe for riding.

The Copper Crush race series on July 30 just might be a game changer: five separate races from 5 to 60 miles, with divisions for juniors, adults and trios, all held on Copper's network of singletrack and dirt roads. It's brought to you by the folks who organize the Breck 100, so you know there will be swag, aid stations and prizes at the post-race awards party, held in Center Village during Copper's gourmet burger festival.

The marquee Crush rides come in three flavors: a 50-mile endurance ride with 9,000 feet of climbing over five laps on a mountain course; a 30-mile cross-country ride with 5,400 feet of climbing over three laps; and a three-person relay covering 60 miles and 10,800 vertical feet over six laps.

For juniors and beginners, there's a 20-mile appetizer course with just 3,600 feet of climbing over two laps. Kids ages 10 to 18 ride anywhere from 5 miles to 20 miles, based on age.

Cost: $85 endurance, $70 XC, $65 appetizer, $35 juniors, $150 relay

Get registered: In Center Village from 6:30-9 a.m. at Endo's in Center Village or online at http://www.warriorscycling.com.

Camp Powder Gap Capture the Flag, July 31

Sure, a capture the flag fundraiser is all well and good, but what about the cause, Camp Powder Gap?

Co-founders Kuhlmann and Groneman grew up attending summer camps before becoming adult counselors, and so the entire camp concept is close to their hearts.

"There's a beauty about camp that makes it so pure, so wonderful, so social," Kuhlmann said. "It's a place to be independent and confident while putting kids in touch with great mentors. There's too much to offer. We have to champion that cause."

And the two won't stop there. When the summer kid's camp closes, they want to host high-adventure adult camps, including guided backcountry skiing and snowboarding tours. The first hurdle is finding a venue to host everything — no easy task given the market right now — but they're confident the camp will be a reality within five to seven years.

"I like the notion of getting more time outdoors in our life," Groneman said. "It's the idea that children need to be able to look up and see the stars."

Cost: $25 online, $40 on-site

Get registered: Play begins at 9 a.m., with a break around 12:30 p.m. A second game begins at 1:30 p.m., followed by live music from Fort Collins-based act Euforquestra. Register the day of the games at Burning Stones Plaza before 9 a.m. or online through http://www.camppowdergap.com until July 30.

Copper Triangle road ride, Aug. 6

The Copper Triangle is back and as big as ever.

On Aug. 6, an estimated 3,000 cyclists tackle a 78-mile mountain loop course, cresting three majestic Colorado mountain passes: Fremont Pass (11,318 feet), Tennessee Pass (10,424 feet) and Vail Pass (10,662 feet), with 9,200-foot Battle Mountain thrown in for good measure.

Riders first traverse Fremont Pass. Essentially 12 miles up and 12 more down, Fremont takes riders toward historic Leadville before heading west toward Camp Hale and the next of the three passes, Tennessee Pass.

Tennessee Pass traverses the Continental Divide between the Sawatch Range to the west and the Mosquito Range to the east, connecting the headwaters of the Arkansas River with the Eagle River. The summit is virtually level and provides access to Ski Cooper, one of Colorado's oldest operating ski areas. Riders also pass Camp Hale, a World War II training ground for the U.S. Army's fabled l0th Mountain Division.

Next up are Battle Mountain — a bump in the road, all things considered — and Minturn before the final climb east of Vail Pass. Vail Pass, named for Charles Vail, a highway engineer, is 10,662 feet (3,250 m) high. The 8.7-mile climb from East Vail offers incredible views as riders gain over 1,800 feet, followed quickly by a short and speedy descent to Copper.

All told, Copper Triangle riders gain nearly 6,000 feet, starting and ending at 9,700 feet.

"Colorado's mountains in the summer offer spectacular scenery, and to enjoy them from the seat of your bicycle is nothing short of special," race organizer Scot Harris said. "The course itself is tough but majestic, the five aid stations are well stocked and every one who rides contributes to the Davis Phinney Foundation. Over the last 10 years our faithful Copper Triangle riders have contributed over $1 million to the Davis Phinney Foundation. We are incredibly thankful for those contributions."

Cost: $150 online by Aug. 2

Get registered: Entry is limited to riders 14 years and older. Register now through Aug. 2 online at http://www.coppertriangle.com.