Aspen, CO – Unprecedented. Landmark. Historic. Just a few of the words used to describe the new Owl Creek Chase presented by Rocky Mountain Nordic. The organizers of one of the premier Nordic events in Colorado are planning something that’s never been done, a combination of major events to create a unique â€œSuper Eventâ€, where national level elite racers will tackle the same course as citizen racers, top juniors and recreational skiers attracted to a non-competitive tour. For perhaps the first time in U.S. cross-country skiing history, all levels of the sport will meet on the same day and at the same time, no small task indeed, but the Owl Creek organizers are up to it. Since last spring, The City of Aspen, The Ute Mountaineer and The Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Council have been working diligently to prepare for what could be one of the finest cross-country events the Roaring Fork Valley has ever seen.
For decades, citizen racers, elite racers, juniors looking to qualify for the Junior Olympics, and recreational tourists have never been able to ski together due to the different agendas of each group. However, on Feb. 10, 2007, that will all change. The USSA SuperTour, FIS Marathon Cup, RMN Junior Olympic Qualifier, Colorado Cup citizen’s series and the newly formed Bappa’s Tour will all come under one roof, The Owl Creek Chase presented by Rocky Mountain Nordic.
â€œWe really tried to use our imagination this year and expand the Owl Creek Chase to include juniors, families and recreational skiers as well as the top level elite racers. Our goal with this event is to bring junior racers and citizens together with their skiing heroes, the aspiring Olympians that come to town for the SuperTour. I think this is really taking cross country events to the next level and we’re extremely proud to be the hosts here in Aspen.â€ said Race Director Bob Wade this week. â€œWe have picked up a new title sponsor in Rocky Mountain Nordic, and they have worked hard to bring the new Bappa’s Tour in line with Owl Creek. This will be our biggest cross-country event yet and we should really turn some heads this year. We’re extremely excited.â€ Wade continued.
SuperTour comes to town. Once again the road to the Olympics will travel through Aspen, as the USSA SuperTour will make the ’07 Owl Creek Chase its 10th stop out of 12. Formerly known as the NorAms or Continental Cup, the SuperTour is the national cross country circuit and this marks the third year in succession that the Owl Creek Chase has been named to the tour. With cash prizes and national ranking points on the line, the ’07 Owl Creek Chase should see its most competitive field ever tackle the 25km from Snowmass to Aspen.
Citizens race adds 15k option. More and more citizen racers are finding their way to Aspen, the second week in February as the Owl Creek Chase gains a reputation as one of Colorado’s finest cross country races. However, some are a little overwhelmed at the course, a tough, rolling trail with many vertical feet of climbing. For those that are looking for a slightly easier course, this year the Owl Creek Chase is adding a 15k option that offers the beauty of the Snowmass to Aspen Owl Creek Trail without the level of effort the 25k requires. However, those up for it can still challenge the same course as the SuperTour racers and compare their times to some of the best in the country while enjoying the scenic beauty of the famous Owl Creek trail. Whether one is looking for pleasure or pain, many citizen racers now make the annual pilgrimage to Aspen for Owl Creek weekend and with a new 15k option, participation is expected to grow exponentially.
Junior events added. Juniors, seniors and masters rarely race together, but this year at Owl Creek, all 3 groups will be on the course at the same time. Through cooperation between the Owl Creek organizers, the Aspen Valley Ski Club and the Rocky Mountain Junior Committee, a new 15k Junior Olympic Qualifier will be held in conjunction with the Owl Creek Chase. There will also be shorter junior races held at the Aspen Cross Country Center, site of the finish of the Owl Creek Chase. This new cooperative will make it possible for families, coaches, juniors, elites, and seniors to all come together like never before.
Bappa’s Tour embraces recreational skiers. Cross-country ski races can be a little intimidating. Lycra clad Uber athletes running around panicking about wax and spreading anxiety like a plague can make it difficult to maintain perspective, but this year the Bappa’s Tour will take the edge off. RMN is promoting their new Rocky Mountain Nordic Tour series with stops at Summit County and Aspen for the Bappa’s Tour, a non-competitive, fully supported tour on the same Owl Creek trail as the big race. Starting at the same time as the 15k Citizen’s race and utilizing the same feed stations, the Bappa’s Tour will take in the point-to-point terrain of the Owl Creek trail and finish at the Aspen Cross Country Center. Festivities and fun await the participants at the finish with the post-race feed at the AXCC provided by Dahlia’s Lunch at Schlomo’s. Friendly camaraderie fills the air and stories of leg burning climbs and swooping descents are woven between newly formed acquaintances, just the cure for race day anxiousness, don’t race, just enjoy, welcome to the new Bappa’s Tour. Proceeds from the RMN Tour Series will support junior skiing and bring awareness to global warming.
Keep Winter White. With special cooperation between the organizers of the Owl Creek Chase, The Bappa’s Tour and the City of Aspen’s Canary Initiative, this year’s event will balance out it’s carbon emissions by purchasing wind and solar power. 100% of Owl Creek Chase CO2 emissions from energy consumption including participant travel, course preparation, shuttle transport and Nordic center operations will be offset. For more information go to: www.canaryinitiative.com.
Saturday Night Thunder at Wagner Park. Also added this year is a post race fun event scheduled for downtown Aspen on Saturday night. The Wagner Park Drag Race presented by the Aspen Valley Ski Club was first tried last season on an experimental basis and was met with fanatic enthusiasm. Pitted head to head, racers will drag race 80 meters under the lights and through single elimination, tournament brackets, winners will be named. Calling all adrenaline junkies, high speed and excitement is what the drag races are all about, an event in and of itself that should not be missed.
Ski with the pros on Sunday. Racing is not the only thing on Owl Creek weekend; learning from the best is also a big draw for the Owl Creek Chase participants. Returning again for its third season is the Ski with the Pros clinic on Sunday, Feb. 11. Free of charge, the Ski with the Pros is a chance for citizen racers, tourists and juniors to take a lesson from some of the top skiers in the country. With elite racers from several teams including; Subaru, FSX, Rossignol, Alpina, Madshus and Atomic, the Ski with the Pros continues to grow from year to year and is one of the highlights of the entire weekend.
So keep in mind, whether you’re an elite racer, junior Olympian, citizen racer or recreational tourist, make plans for Aspen Feb. 10-11 2007 and the Owl Creek Chase presented by Rocky Mountain Nordic, there’s something for everyone.
20th annual Owl Creek Chase presented by Rocky Mountain Nordic
When: Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007
Where: Start at Snowmass Golf Club, 9am
Sponsors: Rocky Mountain Nordic, The Ute Mountaineer, The Aspen Cross Country Center, The Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Council, Wells Fargo Bank, Fischer Skis, Salomon, The City of Aspen Canary Initiative, The Snowmass Cross Country Center, Plum TV, Toko, Swix
Series: USSA SuperTour, FIS Marathon Cup, RMN JO Qualifier, Colorado Cup, RMN Nordic Tour Series
Format: Elite/Citizens race, 25km freestyle (classic track will be set), Junior/Citizens/Tour, 15km freestyle (classic track will be set)
Defending champions: Zack Simons, Team FSX, Sun Valley, ID and Kristina Strandberg, Team Subaru, Albuquerque, NM and Sweden. Defending citizen champions: Peter Kan and Jennifer Campbell.
Registration: Pre-register at utemountaineer.com or mail entry to Ute Mountaineer, 308 S. Mill St., Aspen, CO 81611, race day registration available at the start in Snowmass from 7-8:30am. Pre-registration is $35.
Course: The 25km event starts at the Snowmass Golf Club, loops around the Snowmass golf course before joining the Owl Creek trail and traversing the ridges between Snowmass and Aspen before finishing at the Aspen Cross Country Center. The 15km event will start near the Two Creeks area in Snowmass and ski an abbreviated distance, also finishing at the AXCC.
Elite race or Citizens race: The Elite field is for current USSA and or FIS license holders and top-level citizen racers. Citizens looking to participate in the Elite race should fax a resume for seeding purposes to The Ute Mountaineer, attention: Mike Trecker, (970) 920-2094.
Post race feed: Dahlia’s Lunch at Schlomo’s will provide at hearty, healthy post-race feed for all participants of the Owl Creek Chase and the Bappa’s Tour immediately following the finish. Dahlia’s is located at the Aspen Golf Course across the main hall from the Aspen Cross Country Center.
Wagner Park Drag Races: Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007, 6pm. 80 meter, freestyle, head to head, knock out sprints. Pre-register through the Owl Creek Chase or through your junior club affiliation. J2, OJ/J1, Senior/Master divisions. Pre-registration is $10, late registration at Wagner Park, $13.
Ski with the Pros: Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007, 9am at the Aspen Cross Country Center. Elite level teachers from Factory teams Subaru, Alpina, Madshus, FSX, Rossignol and Atomic. Free of charge and no reservations necessary.
Information: For more information on the Owl Creek Chase presented by Rocky Mountain Nordic, go to utemountaineer.com, contact Paul Perley or Mike Trecker at The Ute Mountaineer, (970) 925-2849, e-mail Paul Perley at firstname.lastname@example.org, call the Aspen Cross Country Center, (970) 925-2145, or e-mail the Aspen Cross Country Center, email@example.com.