A winning winter combination of fresh snow and blue skies, brought more than 200 racers out to participate in the first event of the 2012 Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series, on January 8, in the Cadillac 10K, the East West Resorts 5K Quest, Dash for Cash and Larkburger Kids K snowshoe races.
Due to snow covered roads and powder day crowds, races started about 15 minutes late to allow enough time for participants to make it up the mountain from the overflow parking in Avon. But a warming hut with snacks and hot tea kept everyone happy until the official start. In addition, race sponsors, Columbia Sportswear, Atlas Snow-Shoe Company and Clif Bar, were on sight with plentiful samples and demo gear for competitors to try for the day.
All races began in Creekside Park, and then the initial combined route took participants towards the Beaver Creek Strawberry Park lift and eventually over to Chair 14. The first aid station, at 1.6 miles, was where 5K racers turned for the steep downhill to the finish. Racers could choose to make their way down in fresh powder or on the parallel stripe of corduroy, and either standing up or on sledding on their bottoms. The 5K route was actually just a bit longer, coming in at almost 3.4 miles with an elevation gain of 1,113.3 feet at a 12 percent grade.
10K racers had a brief one-mile ‘break’ of rolling terrain on the Village to Village trail towards Bachelor’s Gulch, before enduring another half-mile uphill push. And then they too made the downhill turn for an all-out race to the finish. The 10K route featured 1,826.2 feet of elevation gain spread over 3.3 miles, for an average grade of 11 percent.
All racers had one last quarter-mile climb to face before the gradual descent back to Creekside Park.
When asked about the route, men’s 10K winner Josiah Middaugh jokingly said, “I never knew a 10K loop could go uphill for five miles,” but added, “the harder the better.”
Middaugh won with a time of 53:26, followed by Merrell athlete Travis Macywith at 53:57 and Alex Nichols in 54:17. Middaugh, of Vail, CO, said the well-timed fresh snow made for a great course.
Carrie Zografos, who claimed victory and $100 in the 100-yard Dash for Cash, also won first place in the women’s Cadillac 10K division with a time of 1:08:18. Lindsay Krause finished second in 1:10:55, followed by McKenna Douglas in 1:11:25.
The men’s East West Resorts 5K Quest was a tight race with Brian Welch winning first with a time of 32:11, Ezra Velez taking second in 32:22 and a finishing time of 32:52 putting Ethan Pence in third place. Welch also won the men’s division of the 100-yard Dash for Cash.
Women were close on the men’s heels with Power Bar/Atlas Snow-Shoe athlete Jennie Thorne taking first in 35:56, and Karen Mellion-Smith, of Team Beaver Creek, finishing second in 37:51. Melinda Brant’s time of 39:10 put her in third place.
The day ended with lunch at the Beaver Creek Ice Skating rink and a must-be-present-to-win raffle with prizes ranging from snowshoes to hand thrown coffee mugs, health club memberships and other great gear.
There is plenty of time to sign up for the second race in the series, which happens Sunday, February 5 at Beaver Creek’s Creekside Park. The third and final race takes place on and Sunday, March 11 at Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park with the Jeremy Wright North American Snowshoe Championships. For more information and to register, go to www.bcsnowshoe.com.
The Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series is presented by The Beaver Creek Resort Company, Cadillac, Columbia Sportswear, Atlas Snow-Shoe Company and Clif Bar and presented in part by East West Resorts, Larkburger, Rocky Mountain Reprographics, The Dusty Boot Steakhouse & Saloon, TV8, Vail Daily and KZYR The Zephyr.