Cold, snowy conditions with temperatures in the single digits kept the snow surface covered with fine sharp crystals slowing many racers’ best efforts. Clanging bells and cheers from the crowd helped push everyone across the finish line where their achievement was rewarded with a cherished Nordic cowbell.
Six courses of 1.5, 3, 5, 10, 21, and 42 kilometers challenged the wide field of participants and several Telluriders kept pace with the fastest skiers of the day. Thalia Gould Pryor’s finish time of 2:27:44 won her third place overall in the 42K women’s race. Telluride men who competed in the long distance race were Daniel Murray finishing 20th overall and sixth in his age division with a time of 2:41:32. Close behind was Bill deAlva, whose time of 2:44:39 earned him 23rd overall and third in his age group. Chris Cardoza finished 53rd in a time of 3:30:58
The women’s 21K race saw three Telluride skiers finish in the top ten. Kari Distefano was second place overall with a time of 1:28:50, and on her heels was Lois Major who took third with a time of 1:31:34. Elaine Demas’s finishing time of 1:56:13 earned her ninth place.
Former Telluride hard-man Bryan Miller, now a resident of Gunnison, showed up and hammered his way to win second place overall with a time of 1:22:29. Lance Waring’s time of 1:37:17 put him in ninth place overall, followed by Midnite Reid Sholtes in tenth crossing the finish line in 1:44:04. Jeffery Barish powered through the course in 1:58:51 finishing 23rd while Ivar Eidsmo took first place in his age division and 30th overall with a time of 2:14:41.
Lindsey Welch took first place in her 30- to 39-year-old age class with a time of 1:01:07.
Aspiring youth Colten Rogers stepped up to defend last year’s 10K first place finish in his age class and charged to the finish line in 45:13 to win again.
The young Ashli Socorro finished the 5K course with a time of 27:06 taking second place in the women’s division, while Lobo James’s time of 23:59 was fast enough to take fourth place overall and second in his age class.
The Alley Loop course runs through the streets and alleyways of downtown Crested Butte passing store fronts and residences before setting out onto the open terrain adjacent town. As a qualifying event for the American Birkebiner, the Alley Loop attracts the fastest cross-country skiers, and as Crested Butte’s largest costume party it attracts hoards of fun loving cross country skiers of all abilities and conditioning.
This weekend Telluride’s fastest Nordic skiers will be taking to the track with in the Owl Creek Chase ski race. The 15K course begins at Snowmass Village and takes skiers to a heart-pounding finish at the golf course in the Town of Aspen.