Keystone, Frisco play host to unique Sr. event |

Keystone, Frisco play host to unique Sr. event

special to the daily
Summit County, Co Colorado

Summit County seniors have never been typical retirees, between skiing, skating, snowshoeing and loving frigid winters at nauseating elevations.

For the past 27 years, many have showcased their outstanding outdoor abilities at the annual Colorado senior winter games, which have been locally held since 1983.

The two-day competition series embodies friendliness ” winners receive medals and a round of applause ” yet organizers insist its entrants are far from feeble.

A new planning committee renamed the event, which will take place at Keystone Ski Resort on Monday and the Frisco Nordic Center on Tuesday. This year’s Summit County Open Winter Games 50+ aims to attract more generations of participants and less elderly associations.

“The word ‘senior’ is not sexy,” games co-chair Lorie Williams said. “So we took senior out of it.”

Yet spectators need not be swayed. Williams has heard from numerous people interested in watching.

Keystone will host the alpine and skating contests on the mountain and at the ice rink in Lakeside Village from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday. The Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and snowball throwing competitions will take place at the Frisco Nordic Center from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday.

Competitions include figure and speed skating, hockey goal shoot, alpine slalom and rally races, downhill obstacle course, Nordic skate ski and classic races, biathlon, snowshoe run and snowball throw.

Of all the events, the snowball throw consistently draws the masses.

Almost all of some 50 preregistrants signed up for the toss, which involves slugging snow chunks at hanging target holes. A one-time $30 registration fee covers each person’s participation cost for the games, regardless of how many activities entered.

A week before the festivities, registrations were still being accepted. Day-of registrants will be limited to the Frisco events, according to Games chairwoman Donna Rushing. Logistically, making last-minute changes to Keystone’s computerized start lists would be too difficult, she said.

Although organizers were hoping for 100 participants, every event except the beginner 1K Nordic race remained scheduled, Rushing said. Each contest requires at least two pre-registrants.

The opening ceremony kicks off Sunday, Feb. 8 with a spaghetti dinner at the Summit County Community and Senior Center, located on Peak One Boulevard in Frisco. From 5:30-7:30 p.m., athletes can pick up registration packets, eat and enjoy special speaker Matt Dayton, the 2002 Nordic combined Olympian who will honor longtime Games organizers, Pat Hutson and Peg Bartko. After 21 years, the two have stepped down from participating for the first time in the 75-79 and 85-89 age groups, respectively.

For a sense of what lies in store, 91-year-old Molly Mackown of Silverthorne will compete in the biathlon and 1K ski as the oldest athlete in Colorado Games history.

“When she came last year, her sons were trying to have a birthday party for her, and she out-skied all of them,” Williams said. “There are some people that look like your little old grandma, but when they get competing they look like tigers.”

For more information, visit or contact Lorie Williams at (970) 668-2940.

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