Two favorite races in the ski marathon circuit took place on Saturday: the Craftsbury Marathon in Craftsbury, Vermont and the Boulder Mountain Tour in Sun Valley, Idaho. Both races are very scenic point to point courses – Craftsbury rolls over the hills of Vermont on its way to the Craftsbury nordic center, while the Boulder Mountain Tour starts high at Galena Lodge and heads down towards the town of Ketchum. Craftsbury is the high point of the season for many easterners, while the Boulder Mountain Tour is the season's focal point for many westerners.
The Craftsbury race is classical, the Boulder is skate
In the Craftsbury Marathon, Patrick Weaver (Atomic) won the men's 50K race in a time of 2:24:17. Weaver was just over two minutes ahead of the next racer. Vermonters managed to take the next two podium spots as Eli Enman (Rossignol) was second, while Marc Gilbertson (Rossignol) was third.
Abigail Larson (Subaru Factory Team) won the women's 50K by almost four minutes in a time of 2:50:50. She was followed by Natasha Tereshchenko and Sandy Tetreault.
The 25K winners were husband-wife tandem Charlie Gunn and Amy Patenaude-Gunn.
The Craftsbury Marathon is a member of the American Ski Marathon Series and the New England Ski Marathon Series. The Craftsbury Marathon also has a very popular touring division thanks to its Gourmet Skiing concept.
From the Craftsbury.com website: “Cross-country has just become a self-indulgent form of exercise thanks to an alliance of some of the Northeast Kingdom's best chefs and the Craftsbury Marathon and Tour. Three years ago John Brodhead, the Center's Director of Skiing proposed a partnership among several Craftsbury, Greensboro and Albany inns to produce a marathon with gourmet food stations along a linear course stretching 15 or 30 miles from Greensboro to Craftsbury, Vermont. To his surprise they eagerly agreed. Since adding the gourmet food, participation quadrupled to six hundred.”
Boulder Mountain Tour
The Boulder did not have the same high profile names as last year, when Justin Wadsworth outsprinted World (and soon to be Olympic) Sprint Champion Tor Arne Heltand for the win. But that made this years race all the more exciting.
In the men's race, the top seven skiers skied the entire way as a pack, and it came down to a mad dash over the final kilometer. In the end, it was a Subaru Factory Team sweep, as Eric Meyer earned his first Boulder Mountain Tour victory ahead of veteran team members Scott Loomis and Nathan Schultz. This was at least the fourth or fifth time Loomis has made the podium in this race, but he has yet to win. This was his closest yet – finishing only 0.2 seconds behind Meyer. (ed. note: We are tempted to make Susan Lucci or Buffalo Bills jokes at Loomis's expense, but we know how much he really want to win this race, so we will refrain.)
Like the men, the top women also spent most of the race together. In the women's sprint, Sun Valley resident Brooke Baughman (Rossignol), eeked out a 0.3 second victory over Suzanne King (Atomic). Right behind King were Factory Team skiers Katerina Hanasova and Nina Kemppel.