Backcountry athletes swarmed Crested Butte, Colorado to participate in the first Life-Link/Dynafit Randonnee Rally to be held in that state. The second stop of 2003 series proved to be an exciting international competition. Toti Bes, of the Spanish National Ski-Mountaineering Team, completed the course in an amazing one hour 50 minute time. Fellow team member Alforso Gaston placed second, and local Crested Butte ski patroller, Ethan Passant came in third. Crested Butte women took first and second. Dawn French won the women’s racing category with a time of two hours 29 minutes. Janae Deverell just edged out Monique Merrill, of Breckenridge, for second place.
“The Crested Butte course was the most challenging to date. Eric Baum, and the rest of Crested Butte ski patrol, did a fabulous job plotting and setting the course. This course has raised the bar for the rest of the competitions,” stated John Scott Executive Vice-President of Life-Link.
“The Crested Butte community really came together in support of the rally. At a resort known for some of the top freeskiers and snowboarders in the country, it’s great to be able to host another event in addition to the Grand Traverse that singles out the elite endurance “backcountry” athletes that live here,” said Gina Kroft, Vice President/ Marketing Communication and partnership of Crested Butte Mountain. Honorable mention goes to John Norton, for the first time a president or CEO of a resort has ever participated. “Yikes! What a laborious course and tough field of athletes. I was just happy to keep their tail lights in view,” Norton said.
“Both the town and the resort of Crested Butte were most hospitable. Everyone was very supportive of the rally and the ski-mountaineering competitors,” stated Christie Watts, event manager.
The first place winners took home over $1,000 in cash and prizes, but everyone left with great raffle prizes. All race competitors receive points towards the series championship, which will be decided after the fifth and final race in Jackson Hole. Leading in the point series is the winner of the 2001 Jackson Hole Race Brendan O’Neil, one point behind is Crested Butte’s Jeff Banks, the 2002 champion.
The race series continues with the Marmot Randonnee Rally at Alpental, Washington on February 23 and, Stevens Pass, Washington on March 9. The series culminates at the Marmot North American Championships on March 22, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Sponsoring the series are: Marmot, Cloudveil, Petzl, Mountain Hardwear, Powder Magazine, Couloir Magazine, Off-Piste Magazine, Croakies, Breckenridge Brewery, Daggers, Clif Bar, Arc’teryx, Boeri, Suunto, Avalanche Ale, Adventure Medical Kits, G-Push, Crazy Creek, Honey Stinger, Teton Brewery, REI, and the American Alpine Club.