ASPEN, CO – It was a busy weekend in the world of Nordic racing in Aspen, Colorado. Highlighted by the Owl Creek Chase, the Aspen Nordic Festival also played host to Junior Olympic Qualifiers, Citizen level Colorado Cup racing, 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. With all these events combined, the Aspen Nordic Festival and the Owl Creek Chase brought Nordic skiers of all different backgrounds and interests together for a festive Nordic atmosphere unlike any other.
Over 600 racers of all ages raced this past Saturday at the Aspen Parks & Recreation 22nd Annual Owl Creek Chase – a 21k freestyle cross-country ski race from Snowmass to Aspen. Snow conditions were fantastic and the weather was perfect.
The race is part of both the USSA SuperTour and the RMISA collegiate series. Matt Gelso (CU/USST) won the event in a time of 53:38.8, 43 seconds ahead of Tad Elliot (Saab Salmon Factory Team). Josh Smullin (Rossignal) outsprinted Zach Simons (Rossignol) and Andrey Golovko (Saab Salomon Factory Team) to claim the final podium spot, 16 seconds in back of Elliot.
In the women’s event, Rebecca Dusault (Saab Salomon Factory Team) skied to a 42 second win over CU’s Maria Grevsgaard. Kristina Strandberg (Saab Salmoon Factory Team) finished 3rd, another 34 seconds behind Grevsgaard.
The first male citizen racer to cross the finish line was Dan Campbell with a time of 57:53.1 and the first female citizen racer to cross was Grethe Lise-Hagensen with a time of 1:09:01.4. Lise-Hagensen is the head coach of MSU and Dan Campell, an Olympic Biathlete in 2002, the assistant.
All in all, a great day of racing Aspen! The City of Aspen, Ute Mountaineer and Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club would like to extend a huge thank you to our volunteers who donate their time, Aspen Parks & Recreation – the title sponsor, Aspen Cross Country Center, Snowmass Cross Country Center, Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Council, Salomon, Fischer, SWIX, FasterSkier, SuperTour, FIS, Rocky Mountain Nordic, Fischer, Clif Bar, Ice Breaker and all the generous local businesses for their support of this spectacular event.
For complete results, please visit www.owlcreekchase.com.