Scenes from the 2016 Imperial Challenge at Breck (photo and video) |

Scenes from the 2016 Imperial Challenge at Breck (photo and video)

The wind was blowing, the sun was shining and race organizers were cranking Christmas tunes for the 25th running of the Imperial Challenge, an annual end-of-season ski mountaineering race from the Breckenridge Recreation Center to the summit of Peak 8.

Here’s how it went: Beginning at 9:15 a.m., more than 140 athletes between 12 and 70 years old biked 6.2 miles from the rec center to Peak 8 base, skinned or hiked past the T-Bar and Imperial Chair to the top of Peak 8, then turned around for a whip-fast descent on spring corn to the finish line back at the bottom. There were folks in tie-dye, others in spandex and still others in cut-off jean shorts, plus local celebrities like outgoing Breckenridge mayor John Warner, elite triathlete Jaime Brede and longtime local Doc PJ, the sort of guy who travels the Imperial route almost daily during winter.

When the race was said and done, the athletes covered nearly 9 miles and 3,500 vertical feet. The reward: beer, beanies and bragging rights. And it was all worth it. Here are top finishers for the 2016 Imperial Challenge. For complete results, see

Note: This year’s Imperial Challenge had two new divisions, the heavy metal division and retro division. Athletes in the heavy metal division raced on heavy gear, like alpine touring skis and splitboards. Athletes in the retro division carried all of their gear (skis, board or snowshoes) from the rec center parking lot to the summit. In the run division, athletes skipped wheels altogether and ran from the rec to the Peak 8 base.

Men’s overall

1. Chris Carr, 30-39 division — 1:25:29

2. Matt Tomasko, 40-49 division — 1:30:20

3. Joe Howdyshell, 30-39 division — 1:31:46

Women’s overall

1. Jaime Brede, 30-39 division — 1:44:27

2. Jill Sorensen, retro open division — 1:46:43

3. Amy Freeman, 30-39 division — 2:00:28

Heavy metal division, men’s

1. Ryan VanHalle — 2:08:10

2. Anthony Nance — 2:15:17

3. Langston McDowell — 2:16:28

Heavy metal division, women’s

1. Sierra Anderson — 2:01:19

2. Kimberly Eytel — 2:21:46

3. Dawn Crane — 2:36:57

Retro division, men’s

1. Todd Olsen — 1:35:34

2. Mark Koob — 1:40:41

3. Jonathan Tashkin — 1:42:06

Retro division, women’s

1. Jill Sorensen — 1:46:43

2. Jaime Falcon — 2:24:17

Open run division, women’s

1. Jennifer Schappert — 2:22:38

2. Hannah Taylor — 2:48:58

3. Kerry Wong — 2:53:26

Open run division, men’s

1. Jamie Kilcoyne — 1:58:51

2. Brian Johnson — 1:59:59

3. Africa Bob — 2:18:23

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