Adventure racing makes debut at Copper Mountain |

Adventure racing makes debut at Copper Mountain

RICHARD CHITTICKsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkInaugural Copper Adventure featured trail running, mountain biking, inline skating, canoeing and rock climbing

COPPER MOUNTAIN – From West Lake in The Village at Copper to the top of the Excelerator lift, several dozen adventure racers got to take in the full spectrum of what Copper Mountain offers in the summer on Sunday.The inaugural Copper Adventure was deemed a complete success by event organizer Mike Heaston of Event Marketing Group. “We’re pretty excited to get it off the ground,” Heaston said.The competitors agreed, specifically because of the course.”It was a real adventure course,” said Adam Chase, who along with Syl Corbett, both of Boulder, won the event by finishing the multi-discipline course in 3 hours, 18 minutes and 41 seconds. “This would be an excellent event for people who want to try adventure racing without killing themselves.”

As members of the Team Salomon adventure racing team, Chase and Corbett are veterans of 24-hour and multi-day adventure races. Still, they felt this course adequately challenged them. Said Corbett, “This is definitely a fun course and fairly spectator friendly. I love this kind of course – it has a good mix of everything.”And it truly did.After a 2-mile run, the two- and three-person teams rode their mountain bikes to the trailhead of Copper’s newest trail, Fat Marmot. Carrying their running shoes the entire way, they hopped off the bikes at Solitude Station near the top of the American Eagle lift, then ran two miles to the top of Excelerator and two miles back.

From there, they jumped on their bikes and descended back to the base area where they put on inline skates and skated to the very edge of the East Village and back, before running over to West Lake.There, they paddled a canoe across the small lake in the middle of The Village at Copper, portaging the canoe back to the put-in before running over to the climbing pinnacle behind Copper One. One person out of each team had to ascend the pinnacle. Once that was completed, the teams repeated the opening 2-mile running loop to the finish. “I wish they were all like this,” said Corbett, referring to the way the course mixed running and biking in several stages. “It wasn’t that hard, but you still had to be pretty agile.”The highlight of the course for many racers was the 4-mile roundtrip to the top of Excelerator.

“The views up top were just amazing,” said Mike Johnson, who raced with Leigh Pezzicara on Team Rooster. “But I was a little surprised at how long it took us to get up there.”In fact, the amount of time required to finish the first two legs of the race surprised many people, including Heaston, who shortened one of the bike legs in the middle of the race. The initial combination of running and biking was supposed to consist of six miles on foot and 17 miles pedaling. But when Heaston realized that many competitors were taking two hours just to start the run up to Excelerator, he eliminated four miles from the mountain bike portion.”I think the course was maybe a little harder than we anticipated,” Heaston said. “But it’s not surprising considering we went up above 12,000 feet.”At first, the total number of competitors – less than 40 spread over 14 teams – may seem small, but the turnout was perfect as far as Heaston was concerned.

“We’re pretty pleased with this event. The idea was to get 10 to 15 teams and we’re really excited to see it get off the ground. Next year, we’re obviously looking at a bigger crowd, and we’ll introduce a solo division to try and attract more people.” The event coincided with Copper Mountain’s annual Adventure Fest weekend, which combines extreme sports with live music. As the adventure race was taking place, BMX riders put on stunt demonstrations in two different locations in the village.According to Copper Mountain spokesperson Holly Aure, the resort is “definitely” prepared to bring the event back next year.Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or at

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