The 3rd Annual Aspen Snowmass Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race was this past weekend.
It’s great to see this race so popular and run so smooth. Very often new events can be disorganized and struggle to find support. Fifty-eight teams of two took on the full course (14 more did the “Power of Two” half course) in perfect spring weather, and my guess is that those numbers are only going to grow in the years to come. Continual tinkering with the course has made things a little more fun and slightly faster. If a couple more discussed changes take place next year– including a more interesting route for the last climb– the race would likely become a Colorado favorite, if it isn’t already.
Congrats to everyone who was there, particularly Max Taam and John Gaston who nabbed the win in an unbelievable 4:54– a time that’s really hard to comprehend when you consider the course is over 25 miles long and climbs more than 12,000 vertical feet. Even though the minor course modifications make the finish times hard to compare year-to-year, the gist is the same, and faster is better.
Well done to Christy, who raced with Anda Smalls again this year and managed to finish in 3rd place in the women’s division, and just seconds under the coveted 7 hour mark (6:59:50).
Chris Lane and I partnered together and finished in a respectable 6:49, which was great considering how run-down and sick Chris was in the days leading up to the race. That Chris finished at all was impressive (take it from someone who was there), I think we were lucky to just edge out the girls. If the race were any longer they would have caught us.
Christy and I find it a big relief to get this one behind us. We usually try to arrange the race calendar so that the events build on each other as the season progresses, so each course serves as training for the next event. But the Power of Four, if measured by vertical feet, is the hardest course of the season for us and it’s early March date means we have to get a lot of miles in through the dark days of winter. But once we get it done, the remaining long races– the Breck Five Peaks and Grand Traverse— are in some ways easier. At least that’s what we’re hoping.
We’ll see how they go.