The Race Worth Racing: Beaver Creek Hosts Passionate Snowshoers of All Ages

Snowshoers, start your…energy bars!

The Beaver Creek Ski Resort near Avon, Colo., has become the focal point of many snowshoers’ racing careers. And, for those that don’t take it as serious, it’s a snowshoeing playground of magnanimous Nordic center delight.

Thanks to the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series, competitors from around the nation and the continent have gathered to compete in a series of races held at the resort. Three races have been completed (Dec. 13, Jan. 10 and Feb. 21) and the next is set to proceed on March 13: The North American Snowshoe Championships.

Within the races, the cream has certainly risen to the top. According to the results of the Dec. 13 event, Josiah Middaugh of Vail, Colo., and Anita Ortiz of Eagle, Colo., received top honors for the opening 10K race of the 2003-2004 Adventure Series. Known for her efforts as a member of the U.S. Snowshoe Team, Ortiz overcame second place winner Lisa Goldsmith of Team Atlas and Nike ACG and third place winner Helen Cospolich of Breckenridge, Colo.

In addition to the fan-favorite 10K race, the Series features the East-West 5K Quest, the Kid’s K trot and the Beaver Creek Resort Company “Dash for Cash.” In the Dec. 13 5K race, Mike Moher of Eagle took top honors for the men, and Vicky Keleske inked top spot in the women’s division. Austin Gunnarson and Breanna Gunnarson trotted over the finish line to overtake the Kid’s K trot. And, also within the Dec. 13 event, Brian Gunnarson and Lisa Isom were “Dash for Cash” winners.

The Jan. 10 set of races at Beaver Creek was no let down. Many a winter sportsperson came to strap on some snowtrompers to compete with the best-of-the-best. Danelle Ballengee of Dillon, Colo., and Josiah Middaugh (once again) of Vail triumphed over all to win the 10K title at the day’s Adventure Series race. Ballengee won the upset for the day by crossing the finish line first before the revered, Anita Ortiz. Syl Corbett of Team Atlas finished third.

Middaugh strutted his stuff with his second Series win. The Beaver Creek snowshoeing whiz kid overcame the likes of Atlas Team member Greg Krause and Travis Macy of Boulder, Colo.

In the East-West 5K Quest, Heidi Vosbeck of Glenwood Springs, Colo., placed first for the women’s division, and Ryan Goheen earned top tributes for the men. Dash for Cash brought out the best in Vail’s Lisa Isom for the women’s field and Neil Smith defeated the reigning champ, Brian Gunnarson. It’s funny what some people will do for $100 cash. Well, it’s not that funny.

Breanna Gunnarson of Longmont, Colo., and Alex Haar of Centennial, Colo., were victorious in the crowd favorite, the Kids K.

And, the calm before the Championship storm, Feb. 21 brought hundreds of snow-hungry folks to the Creek for some good ole racin’ for prizes. Snowshoeing phenom Anita Ortiz laid claim to her second 10K win at the third race of the Adventure Series. Helen Cospolich came in a “not-to-be-misunderstood” second place, and Syl Corbett nabbed a happy third.

The men had nothing to worry about because they weren’t competing against Ms. Anita Ortiz (how we love thee!), but Bernie Boettcher of Silt, Colo. edged his way into first place in the 10K stretch. Mike Kloser of Vail secured a second place win over third place winner, Charlie Wertheim of Glenwood Springs.

“It was a battle of a race out there,” explained Mike Kloser. “Bernie, Charlie and I have a fun rivalry. Bernie just got the best of us today.” And, indeed, it was his best; Bernie finished the 10K with a time of 52:12.

Outshining all genders in the 5K, Laurie Edwards took top honors. Heidi Vosbeck of Glenwood Springs claimed second with Vail’s Vicky Keleske nipping at her heels, 58 seconds behind, to take third. It was a close race, but one for the record books thanks to Edwards’ performance.

In the men’s 5K tromp, Silt’s Dennis Webb took first, Tom Solawetz of Gypsum, Colo., took second, and Thomas Whitman of Broomfield, Colo., earned a third place finish.

Karen Opp of Bailey, Colo. sprinted a hearty Dash for Cash to win $100 in the women’s division. Bryan Gunnarson won the dash for the men’s side. Gunnarson’s daughter Breanna dominated the girl’s Kids K and Mike Kloser’s son, Christian, conquered on the boy’s side.

Snowshoe Magazine congratulates all the winners of this year’s Beaver Creek Adventure Series races. You go peoples!

The final event, deemed the North American Snowshoe Championships, which Snowshoe Magazine plans to attend withstanding the stupidity of mountain traffic, will commence on March 13. We will post race results once it’s been determined. Good luck to all who are participating. And, happy snowshoeing.

For more information on the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series, visit