Mike K. and I are finishing up our training for the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse, the epic ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen, which starts next Friday at midnight in CB. Mike has won the Traverse twice with Dan Weiland and then last year he won it with Stephen White. This year Mike is racing with our buddy and pro mountain biker Jay Henry, who helped the team win an adventure race in China last year. Jay is a strong nordic skier and together with Mike, they’ll definitely be the team to beat.
I’ll be racing with veteran adventure racer Billy Mattison, a member of the original Team Vail that won the Eco Challenge in Morroco. Billy and I hope to win the co-ed division.
In the weeks leading up to this race we’ve all been debating whether to use nordic ski gear or randonnee gear. Brian Smith and Jon Brown from Crested Butte raised a lot of eyebrows with their strong performance at last year’s race. They were in the lead for much of the race wearing lightweight rando gear. Although Mike and Stephen ended up passing them for the win, many of us are now wondering if rando gear is the way to go.
At this point, we’ll be waiting to see what the weather and snow conditions are like on Friday afternoon and making the gear decision then.