The emphasis is more about a fun time than a fast-pace rush to the finish line according to Midnite Scholtes, a long-time event participant and Telluride Nordic Center Director.
"People have called me up and said they are intimidated to race, but I tell them that this one is more about participating," says Scholtes. "It's a community gathering and a time to come out and have some fun." It’s also Telluride’s only Nordic event of the season.
There is a long history of Butch Cassidy Ski Chases, dating back to the 1970s. The event changed hands and venues over the years, but is now a permanent part of the winter calendar during the busy President's weekend.
The Butch Cassidy Ski Chase is named for the notorious robber and leader of the Wild Bunch gang who staged his first bank robbery in Telluride in 1889. Following the heist, Cassidy headed south in an exciting chase. With the authorities fast on his heels, Cassidy couldn't stop to mount the new horses he had stashed at Priest Lake. Legend has it that Cassidy escaped, but the awaiting horses were not as fortunate.
Registration for Saturday’s race runs from 10 to 11 a.m.; start-time is 11:30 a.m. – all at Priest Lake. Immediately following the races, at roughly 1:30 p.m., there will be a barbecue, awards ceremony and raffle of gear from Paragon/Bootdoctors. Food, provided by the Cosmopolitan Restaurant, will satisfy all the hungry skiers almost as much as the race itself.
"With any event, whether you're racing or just out there to have fun, there is a certain sense of satisfaction in completing a race and being a part of something," says Scholtes.
Entry Fee is $20 for adults and $10 for kids 14 and under. Half-price equipment rentals are available at the Nordic Center in Town Park. For more information or to pre-register, contact the Telluride Nordic Center at 970/728-1144 or visit www.telluridenordic.com.