Summit locals Broecker, LaRochelle win first Breck Ascent ski-mo race of season
A few dozen of the county’s best Alpine touring skiers braved the elements on Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 8 on Wednesday morning to compete in the first Breck Ascent ski mountaineering series race of the season.
In the end, it was Summit County locals Eric Broecker and Nikki LaRochelle who won the men’s and women’s long-course races put on by the resort and the town of Breckenridge recreation department. Broecker completed the course in 50 minutes and 34.9 seconds while LaRochelle did so in 52:27.
The long course required skiers to ascend from the start line outside of the Mountain Thunder Lodge before dawn, at 6 a.m. Skiers then skinned up Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Gondola Ski Back trail to the Lower 4 O’Clock trail, the Crosscut trail and then the Upper 4 O’Clock trail. Skiers then transitioned from their uphill gear to their downhill setup to ski down the double-black-diamond Mach 1 trail. At the bottom of that trail, skiers ascended Sawmill Peak 8 Road, bootpacking and kick-turning up to the 4 O’Clock trail. Skiers then ascended 4 O’Clock to the Vista Haus before descending the double-black-diamond Tiger trail to the finish line at the Peak 8 SuperConnect chairlift’s mid-load station.
Broecker was joined in the top three in the men’s long course race by Summit County local Max Bonenberger (second, 51:10.2) and Brent Herring (third, 51:18.8). LaRochelle was trailed in the women’s long course race by Kim Eytel (second, 1:11:57.2) and Tracy O’Brien (1:14:18.8).
And in the women’s short course race, a Summit County trio led the way. Breckenridge’s Eva Hagen won the short course with a time of 37:09.9, followed by Grace Staberg (37:30.2) and Ella Hagen (48:32). The short course also began outside of the Mountain Thunder Lodge and ascended the Gondola Ski Back, Lower 4 O’Clock and Crosscut trails before finishing at the Vista Haus.
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The remaining races in the 10th annual Breck Ascent Series are scheduled for Feb. 13 at 6 a.m., and for 5:30 p.m. on March 13 and 20. For more information and to register, visit BreckenridgeRecreation.com.
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