Snow and Ice: Reports from Leadville’s Winter Races
It was a BIG time in Leadville last weekend, as several events and competitions were held from one end of the county to another. Here’s the Leadville Today roundup report including information and results received to date.
The Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby returned to Lake County on February 11 & 12, after a year’s break for the state’s longest tournament on ice. Almost all of the fish were captured within the first few hours of the tournament on Saturday, although the big “mac-daddy” came in on the early morning hours on Sunday, Feb. 15, according to Angelina Salazar, with the Leadville Rod & Gun Club, the event’s sponsor. That’s when Vern Plackner brought his 15.11 lb, 37” mackinaw into the weigh station to get the fish’s numbers recorded and take the top spot on the leader board for the mackinaw. In the Brown trout category it was Bob P’s catch weighing in at a hearty 15.5 oz. that took first place. Jeremy Kopasz rounded out the big competition with a 1.83 oz rainbow trout. There were no entries in the cutthroat category at this year’s tournament.
Seventeen kids also participated in the derby with Jenna Gurule taking first place among the younger participants. The tournament is truly a family affair with generations of people drillin’ and droppin’ their lines together throughout the weekend.
The annual fishing tournament is known as one of the longest in the state, with kick-off starting early on Saturday and running overnight until noon on Sunday. While most competitors were a bit blurry-eyed from lack of sleep, all appreciate the excitement of seeing those big fish getting pulled from the hole in the dark of night and brought to the official weigh-in located at Dexter Point Campground. It’s one of the many things that sets this tournament apart from the rest in the region. That, and the prizes!
Find out how the rest of the competition played out: 2017 Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby RESULTS.
Loppet Draws Record Number of Skinny Skiers
The 14th Annual was the biggest Leadville Loppet to date, with over 260 racers on the course on Sunday, Feb. 12. Sixty percent of those racers live right here in Lake County, demonstrating the community-focused nature of the event.
This year’s Leadville Loppet took place at Dutch Henri Hill on US 24 due to technical grooming difficulties on the Colorado Mountain College campus trail network. And yet, the course was aptly rerouted to take place entirely on the Mineral Belt Trail, the very rec-path the Loppet serves to support.
Congrats to the first place costume winners Amelia Carson and Robert & Marianne Garner. Organizers volunteers and racers made a good day out of it. View the full listing of results here.
It’s really a volunteer-driven event, with search and rescue doling out blueberry soup and timers Henrik Lundgren and Dick Dougherty at the finish line. With a growing number of participants the annual event maintains itself in local spirit with children and adults of all ages strapping on skinny skis and sipping hot blueberry soup.
Leadville’s Winter Bike Series Kicks Off in Lake County
The Tennessee Pass Night Jam opened this year’s Leadville Winter Mountain Bike series with a night ride on Saturday, Feb. 11. Racers saw old man winter bring the snow, coming down hard and fast for this annual event now in its 17th year. Produced by Leadville’s local bike club The Cloud City Wheelers, Saturday night’s event saw 129 racers come out to keep them spinning through the snow, with a special fire jump added to the mix this year. For complete results: CLICK.
Winter fat-tire cycling has become one of the fastest growing segments of the mountain biking industry in recent years. So if you’re looking to hop on the recreational bandwagon, be sure to mark your calendar for the second race in the Leadville Winter Mountain Bike Series: this Saturday, Feb. 18 it’s WinterBike. The second night ride and is hosted at Copper Mountain resorts, located 26 miles north of Leadville in Summit County. Registration starts at 3 p.m. in Cooper’s Center Village! Race starts at 6:15 p.m. Check out their website for additional details and registration information.
Mush! Mush! Crowds, Competitors Howl With Delight
Meanwhile out at the Leadville golf course, competitors took to the snow for some incredible “mushing,” as well as the chance to compete in a new race added to the mix this year: fat-bike joring! On February 11 & 12, the Colorado Mountain Mushers were back in Lake County for another weekend of competition and pleasing the crowds with some fast-paced dog sledding.
While the original plan was to use some of the United States Forest Service land adjacent to the Mt Massive Golf Course unfortunately those trails are not going to be viable for racing because they weren’t wide enough to get the piston bully (groomer) down. Without that, organizers couldn’t pack the snow down well enough to make a solid base.
“The wellbeing of the dogs is top priority,” reported the group via social media, “and given the additional snow expected in the next few days, we don’t feel that the surface will be safe for dogs to race on.”
But that didn’t stop more than 15 teams to take to the well-groomed, twisty course that loops for about 3.5 miles around America’s Highest Golf Course, which tends to see more white than greens throughout the year. Larger teams (8-dog sled, 3-dog skijor, 6-dog sled, 2-dog skijor, 2-dog fatbikejor) ended up running the loop twice, for a total distance of approximately 7 miles. The smaller teams (4-dog sled, 2-dog skijor, 2-dog canicross) ended up running the loop once for an actual distance of around 3.5 miles. But despite a few hiccups, it was great to see the event return to Lake County and it’s becoming a real crowd-pleaser as dog-lovers and outdoor recreationalists come together at 10,200 feet!
While race results were not posted as of publication, readers may check in at the Colorado Mountain Mushers website.