Skinny Skis News: From State Nordic to The Loppet
Starting this evening Leadville could see a large increase in teenagers . . . with skinny skis! Yes, this Thursday & Friday, Feb. 22-23, the Colorado High School Athlete Activities (CHSAA) State Ski Championship, is being hosted by Lake County High School at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center/Ski Cooper. The event will bring together dozens of the best students athletes from across the state in a skate-ski showdown that’s (hopefully) bound to see some local faces from the Lake County High School Nordic Ski Team take their place on the podium.
While the competition is bound to create it’s own “Olympic” buzz, season pass holders and users of these recreation facilities should note that they will see a BIG increase in traffic in the area. Fortunately, it looks like Cooper and the Nordic Center have their ducks in a row with plans in place for overflow parking and other details. So, remember to pack your best “ambassador” smile and welcoming nature if you encounter these young athletes and their families. Give them a fantastic Leadville welcome!
Last Saturday’s Leadville Loppet (see report below) may have been missing a few of the regular starters, but that’s because those student athletes were wrapping up the last race of the regular Nordic season.
More on those details to follow. But first, here’s the Nordic report from last Saturday’s meet.
Panthers Wrap Nordic Season, Eye on State
The final course of the 2018 Nordic season was a five kilometer classic race at Maloit Park in Minturn which consisted of steep climbs followed by quick descents with some sharp turns thrown in as well.
Joe Koch led the Panther boys’ team with a 16th place finish. Sam Frykholm was next across the line as he notched his best race all season in 21st. Zayden Tufte and Conner Lenhard were just a few second behind in 27th and 29th respectively. Matt Koch continued to demonstrate his improvement in classic skiing by placing 38th. Camden Gillis, who attends Salida High School but skis for the Lake County, completed his first ever classic race in a remarkable 64th place. LCHS Seniors Matthew Seibel and Jarrett Rongstad finished off their Nordic careers in 88th and 89th places respectively. The boys’ team was 6th overall for the season.
“This was the best race all season for our boys’ team since we had five skiers in the top forty,” noted Nordic coach Karl Remsen.
This race was the last race in the skimeister competition, which challenges athletes to compete in both alpine and nordic races throughout the regular season. Sam Frykholm has gone toe to toe with some of the best skiers from around the state all season and finished up in 6th place for the entire state. Since he is only a sophomore, he is looking forward to breaking into the top five in years to come.
The girls team was paced by Ariel Benney, who recovered from an early tangle and a fall on course to place 15th. Molly Lenhard used her strength on the hills to place 22nd. Caroline Benney was close behind in 27th. Jackie Williams had her best race of the season to place 31st. Abby Holm was 52nd, followed by her sister Hannah in 60th. Madelyn Townsend, who attends Salida High School but skis for the Panthers completed her first race in 64th. The girls were 6th as a team.
The Panthers will have ten athletes competing at the CHSAA State Ski Championships, which are being hosted here by Lake County High School. The races will be at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center. Individual start classic races will be on Thursday morning and pursuit start skate races will be on Friday afternoon.
The girls team heads into the state meet ranked 6th. Coach Remsen commented that, “It will take a good day for us to break into the top five, but that is what we are hoping for on our home turf.” Ariel, Caroline, and Molly will be competing both days, while Jackie and Abby will be competing only in Thursday’s classic portion.
The boys team is ranked 7th in the state after the regular season. “The strength on our boys team is our depth. Even if one skier has an off day, the other guys are ready to step up,” said Coach Remsen. Joe, Zayden, Sam, Conner, and Matt Koch will all be competing in both classic and skate competitions. Come cheer on the Panthers if you can!
The Loppet: Another Win-Win for All
The 15th Annual Leadville Loppet was held last Saturday, Feb. 17 with an ever-growing field of skate-skiers for the annual event which is a fundraiser for the Mineral Belt Trail (MBT).
The fields were thicker than ever, putting some 240 skate-skiers, including some fierce local competitors to the test. In the end, the leader boards revealed a good news-bad news result. While Leadville athletes saw only one podium spot, thanks to 13-year-old Zander Bertonneau and a third place win in the 10K, the out-of-towner victories just means that more visitors than ever will be out on the MBT keeping their edges sharp for next year’s Leadville Loppet. VICTORY for all! Here’s a breakdown of the competition.
In the big 44k race, there were 40 competitors which saw 29-year old Adam Farabaugh of Boulder claim first place with a 2:19:35 time, leaving a more than 5 minute gap between the second skate-skier, Ben Woodbeck, 47 from South Fork, who crossed the finish line at 2:26:55. It was great to see female skier Diana Finkel, 46 also from South Fork, round out the podium placement taking third place with a time of 2:27:53.
Next out of the gate were the 62 competitors in the 22k with a father/son team from Kremmling book-ending the winner’s circle. In first place, was 17-year-old Tyler Scholl taking top honors with a time of 1:10:40 beating out his father, Shawn Scholl, 53 who took third in the competition with a 1:13:18 but skied a fierce finish line try with racer Ross Delaplane, 47 of Golden, who sqeaked out second place only two-tenths of second lead, logging in a final time of 1:13:16. A crowd-pleasing finish line finale, for sure!
The 10K race saw the largest field of competitors, tipping in 105 skinny-skiers at the start line. Two strong female skate-skiers from Boulder – both 20-years-old – dominated the raee for most of the competition, bringing home a first place to Emily Pickner with a 38:30 victory time, with Phoebe Powell following not too far behind at 40:19. Leadville’s only podium placer in the big competitions saw 13-year-old Zander Bertonneau bringing home a bronze for America’s Highest City with a 42:37 finish time. Yeah, Zander!
And finally the crowd favorite – the 5k Fun Race sponsored by High Mountain of Leadville – saw its usual array of costumed skinny skiers, including the ever-popular T-Rex, aka Talus Schreiber who placed an impressive fourth, but clearly won the hearts and cheers from spectators. In the end, among the boas and tutus, it was 9 year-old Mila Moseley won took top honor clocking in a 23:20 finish time. The championship circle was rounded out by Judy Allen with a 25:34 second place finish time and 11-year-old Jaren Peters taking third place at 26:51.
That’s a wrap for the 15th Annual Leadville Loppet. The day’s event was celebrated with all competitors enjoying a wide variety of homemade soups and chilis during the awards ceremony. But in the end, everyone is a winner, as the annual tradition is the primary fundraiser for Leadville’s beloved 11.5 mile non-motorized Mineral Belt Trail which encircles America’s Highest City. Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers who bring it all together. Another job well-done!