“Something for Everyone” at the Owl Creek Chase

FasterSkierNovember 26, 2008

Something for everyone at the 2009 Aspen Parks and Recreation Owl Creek Chase
22nd Snowmass to Aspen Nordic race moves back to mid-January

ASPEN, CO- “Something for Everyone” is the theme for the 22nd Aspen Parks and Recreation Owl Creek Chase, which is moving to January 17, 2009, its original date on the calendar. Since 1985 the Owl Creek Chase has been one of Colorado’s favorite Nordic events, drawing hundreds of Citizen racers annually, and has since grown into the largest multi-day event in Colorado, the Aspen Nordic Festival. With the Owl Creek Chase as the centerpiece of the multi-day event, the Aspen Nordic Festival features races and activities for all ages. Events included are; Junior Olympic Qualifiers, Citizen level Colorado Cup racing and a free clinic, Elite level events in the USSA SuperTour, Sprint racing at Wagner Park, and for the first time this year, the University of Colorado NCAA Invitational.

The Owl Creek Chase and Aspen Nordic Festival are organized by an enthusiastic group of local Nordic entities including The Ute Mountaineer, The City of Aspen, The Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club and The Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Council. These groups have come together to organize and steer The Owl Creek Chase into the future as one of the top events in the country, and are leading the way in an ongoing effort to bring various elements of the Nordic community together. 2009 will be the first year to see all of Colorado’s Nordic racers, from the youngest juniors through citizens, collegiate, and elite level racers, together at the same time.

The USSA SuperTour, the leading FIS sanctioned series in the United States, is again the major draw for the Owl Creek Chase, and The Aspen Nordic Festival is the 6th stop on the 14 event Tour. In addition, The Owl Creek Chase is the 2nd of 5 Colorado Cup events, the top series in the state for Citizen racers, and also the opening event on the FIS North America Marathon Cup. The Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club will host Junior Olympic Qualifying races as well as a youth Nordic festival and everything kicks off Friday, January 16th

Aspen Nordic Festival set to host NCAA collegiates
The AVSC will play host to the SuperTour racers on Friday, Jan. 16th, with a 5 and 10km classical race. The event will take place at the Aspen High School trails and will also play host to the Rocky Mountain Division junior racers. The NCAA collegiates will come to Aspen for the first time this year as the University of Colorado will stage their invitational meet here in association with the SuperTour events.

“This year we are really excited to have the college kids coming to Aspen for the first time to join us here at the Owl Creek Chase. For many years we’ve invited CU and DU and the other schools but this year is the first time they’ve been able to make it work with their complicated schedule.” said Mike Trecker, one of the organizers of the Aspen Nordic Festival. “The NCAA racing is at a level just below the World Cup, and that, combined with the large number of Citizen racers and juniors, really brings the energy levels up to the maximum. For the last couple of editions of The Owl Creek Chase the atmosphere and the energy here have really fostered a greater sense of community for Nordic skiers around Colorado as well as those who have traveled here from around the country. Our mission is to provide a quality event for everyone and to be a part of a greater developmental mission for the U.S. Nordic scene, and that is something we are tremendously proud of.”

Citizen racers will also be welcome to challenge themselves in the classic race on Friday and after the race, the AVSC will host the RMN Junior Festival with games and fun in the afternoon. Racers from 6 to 60 will be on hand to experience Aspen’s signature in-town trail network the Aspen High School trails.

Aspen Parks and Recreation Owl Creek Chase
The 22nd Aspen Parks and Recreation Owl Creek Chase will be held on Saturday the 17th with a new, later start time of 11am at the Snowmass XC Center. Registration will take place the week of the event in person at The Ute Mountaineer, which is one of the key organizers. On-line registration is available at Active.com and racers will be allowed to register the day of the race but with a slightly higher entry fee. The course has been shortened slightly to 21km to accommodate the back-to-back racing for the SuperTour as well as those who wish to do the race but felt 25 or 30km was a little too much. In addition to the Owl Creek Chase, Saturday will also see the AVSC host Junior Olympic Qualifier and Citizen races at the Aspen XC Center, the finish venue for the Owl Creek Chase. Junior and Citizen racing at the AXCC will start at 8:30am on Saturday.

AVSC Elite Sprints at Wagner Park Saturday night
The Aspen Valley Ski/Snowbaord Club Elite Sprints will take place Saturday night under the lights in Wagner Park, downtown Aspen. Festivities and racer introductions will begin at 5:30 with racing starting at 6. 16 of the fastest men and women will compete head to head for cash prizes in a single elimination tournament format. Bleacher seating, music and play-by-play announcing will highlight the action and there are also plans for a festive bonfire, food tent and beer garden. The AVSC Elite Sprints are the perfect kick off to a Saturday night on the town after a hard Owl Creek Chase.

Ute Mountaineer Skate with the Pros on Sunday
Another tradition with the Owl Creek weekend is the Ute Mountaineer Skate with the Pros clinic on Sunday morning at the Aspen XC Center. Citizen racers can join several of the pros from Saturday’s Owl Creek Chase for a free skating clinic. The session will be broken down into small groups of various ability levels in order to accommodate everyone, and it is a fine way to wrap up a full cross country ski weekend in Aspen. Go to the host website for all event details and information. www.owlcreekchase.com

Aspen Nordic Festival / Owl Creek Chase event schedule

Friday, Jan. 16th -AVSC SuperTour, 5/10k Classic, Aspen High/AVSC Trails, USSA SuperTour, RMN JOQ, CU NCAA Invitational, Citizen Race, 9AM, RMN Youth Festival races and activities, 12:30PM

Saturday, Jan. 17th -Aspen Parks and Rec Owl Creek Chase, 21km Freestyle, Snowmass XC Center to Aspen XC Center, USSA SuperTour, CU NCAA Invitational, Colorado Cup Citizens Race, 11AM

Saturday, Jan. 17th -AVSC Junior Olympic Qualifier and Citizens Race, 5/10/15km Freestyle, Aspen XC Center, RMN JOQ, Citizens Race, 8:30AM

Saturday, Jan. 17th -AVSC Elite Sprints, 80m Freestyle, Wagner Park Downtown Aspen, Elite head to head tournament format, 5:30PM

Sunday, Jan. 18th — Ute Mountaineer Skate with the Pros, instructional clinic for citizen skiers, Aspen XC Center, 10AM

Colorado Cup Nordic Series 2008-09
Dec. 20 – Steamboat Springs, CO, 10k classic
Jan. 17 – Aspen, CO, 21km freestyle
Jan. 31 – Crested Butte, CO, 42km freestyle
Feb. 7 – Tabernash, CO, 15km freestyle
Feb. 28 – Fraser, CO, 21km classic

Rocky Mountain Junior Olympic Qualifiers 2008-09
Dec. 19-20 – Steamboat Springs, CO
Jan. 16-17 – Aspen, CO
Jan. 30-31 – Soldier Hollow, UT
Feb. 13-14 – Eldora, CO

USSA SuperTour 2008-09
Nov. 28-29 West Yellowstone, MT
Dec. 2 Bozeman, MT
Dec. 6, 7 Soldier Hollow, UT
Jan. 3-8 Anchorage, AK
Jan. 16-17 Aspen, CO
Jan. 24-25 Mt. Itasca, MN
Jan. 28 Duluth, MN
Jan. 31-Feb. 1 Telemark, WI
Feb. 4 Rumford, ME
Feb 7 — 8 Stowe, VT
Feb. 14-15 Madison, WI
Feb. 21 Hayward, WI
Mar. 27-29 Fairbanks, AK

FIS North America Marathon Cup 2008-09
Jan. 17 – Aspen, CO, Owl Creek Chase
Feb. 23 – Hayward, WI, American Birkebeiner
March 28 – Fairbanks, AK, National Pursuit
March 30 – Fairbanks, AK, National Marathon

Owl Creek Chase 2008 results
1. Noah Hoffman, USA, SVSEF/AVSC
2. Tad Elliott, USA, Durango Nordic
3. Zack Simons, USA, Rossignol
4. Andrew Johnson, USA, Fischer/Craft
5. Lars Flora, USA, Saab
1. Evelyn Dong, USA, Saab
2. Kristina Strandberg, SWE, Saab
3. Abigail Larson, USA, Saab
4. Sarah Konrad, USA, Madshus
5. Karin Camenisch, SUI, Rossignol

Owl Creek Chase / Aspen Nordic Festival website: www.owlcreekchase.com
For media information: contact Mike Trecker at The Ute Mountaineer, (970) 925-2849 x17 or trecker@utemountaineer.com


2008 Women’s champion Evelyn Dong heads towards the finish with Tiehack/Buttermilk in the background 


Colin Rodgers, Fischer/Craft, streaks to the finish of the AVSC Elite Sprints