69 laps at the Enduro
ARAPAHOE BASIN Nobody has ever skied 70 laps during an Enduro competition at Arapahoe Basin. At Wednesdays 17th annual event, however, Summits ever-evolving breed of steep bumps standouts drew two big steps closer.Not one, but two teams broke Chris Carson and Rex Wehrmans 67-lap record in a stunner that drew barks and howls from even the most seasoned canines (and humans) who help make the Enduro the one-of-a-kind event it is. Jamie Ober and Ollie Holmes won the coveted crown just ahead of Gary Fondl and Ben Leoni. Both teams finished with a record-setting 69 laps a number that evoked hope and wonder from those who have long maintained 70 is an untouchable total on the test-you-till-you-drop Palivacinni terrain.Afterward, however, no thanks to sponsors, or God, or a good nights sleep spewed from the victors mouths. In true Enduro tradition, the praise went to their competition sort of.It was all their fault we skied so fast, really, Holmes said of the runners-up. They pushed it. They were right behind us, no more than 30 chairs back at the (largest margin).Ober praised the conditions, which were hard and fast and icy, at least until early afternoon.I was just praying that it wouldnt get warm, and it didnt get warm enough to slow us down, said Ober, 30, a patroller at A-Basin. Kinda sucked, kinda hurt, but thats what it takes to go fast.The Enduro works like this: Ski from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., most runs wins. Thats it. No money or prize to the winner, only bragging rights. Yet win this one, and your profile rises in a subliminal manner that only certain people notice.Holmes already has two Enduro crowns at 22. This was the first for Ober. The duo teamed up last year to take third, with 61 runs, but endured some insane bad luck along the way. Obers binding broke on their first lap, and Holmes lost one of his own later in the morning.Our game plan for today was just to ski smooth, have a clean day, said Holmes, a boot technician at Surefoot in Keystone.The second-place finishers took plenty of comfort knowing they finished just short of their record-breaking friendly rivals.Asked if he was bummed with their oh-so-close result, the 39-year-old Fondl who skis for the A-Basin Freeride Team said: Naw, man. The guys that won definitely earned it, and we set a new record too.Fondls ski popped off on their 22nd lap, which didnt help his teams cause. At the time, the two teams were almost even. Still, said Leoni, 23, a former Bates College racer who works as a lift operator at the Basin, Jamie and Ollie skied such a good race, I dont know if that wouldve made a difference in the standings.On the womens side, Summit Cove residents Nichole Perisho, 29, and Kimberly Rauch, 28, teamed up for the first time and won. They finished with 60 laps, three off the womens record but still plenty to iron a smile on their faces.I can hardly walk, Perisho muttered to nobody in particular at 5:15, after their total topped runners-up Diane Moser and Erin Wascher by one. Ten minutes later, Perisho added, almost as if to continue the thought, But it feels great. I wouldnt trade it for the world.You got the feeling that none of the other 29 teams would, either. An almost unbelievable 17 duos finished with 60 or more laps, and nine others tallied 55 or more.Russ Sikorsky and Ryan Roberts ended with 65, as did Team Summit freestyle moguls coaches Katherine Lynch and Ryan Van Nuys.Equally as impressive, Drew Peterson and Nick Raymond, both just 11 years old, tallied 61 laps. The father-son duos of Leif and Ian Borgeson and Eddie and Wiley Kaupas finished with 63 and 62 runs, respectively. The Borgesons did it on freeheel skis, too.Returning to his former home, Grateful Ed Boardman teamed with fellow Crested Butte resident Ethan Passant to notch 60 laps. In doing so, Boardman remained the only person to have competed in every Enduro.Devon ONeil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at email@example.com.
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