The 18th annual Patagonia Owl Creek Chase was held under ideal conditions as Russia's Ivan Babikov continued his winning ways in North America while Austria's Irene Eder scored her second major victory of the season.
Representing the Subaru Factory Team, Babikov set a new course record from Snowmass to Aspen in 1:07:03 for the 25km course, besting a top field that saw the U.S. Ski Team pick up second and third place with Justin Freeman and Leif Zimmerman.
Alpina/Madshus' Irene Eder added the Owl Creek title to the Pepsi Challenge win that she scored two weeks ago with a 1:45 second victory over Rossignol's Brooke Baughman and Subaru's Tara Sheahan.
Babikov pulled away from the lead pack at the 8km mark and skied solo to the finish visibly tired when he arrived but still able to offer the crowd a modest victory salute. “This was the hardest course I've ever skied” Babikov exclaimed after he crossed the finish line having destroyed the top national caliber field in a new record time.
Eder pulled away from Baughman at around 15km never to look back and claimed one her biggest wins to date over a field that included the class of the North American Super Tour Karin Camenish of Switzerland as well as former American Bikebeiner champion Muffy Ritz. Eder's time of 1:17:03 would have been good enough for 13th place in the men's field, an outstanding result for the gregarious athlete from Austria.
Look for Results and photos soon.