Day 1: 5/ 10k classic race
Aspen, Colorado- For what is probably the biggest weekend of racing in Colorado, Denver University (DU) hosted its collegiate invitational double as SuperTour races for the Aspen Nordic Festival. Elite and casual racers all registered to race at one of the most popular ski venues in America for the weekend event.
In the mix of skiers from all schools, the University of Colorado (CU) took home the individual victories and placed two skiers in each of the top ten overalls. Juniors Reid Pletcher and Joanne Reid were the two Buffs that took the win, finishing with times of 27:41.7 and 15:35.3 respectively in a tightly packed field. Their teammates Eliska Hajkova (3rd), Mary Rose (25th), Jesper Otensen (9th) and Andreas Hoye (15th) contributed for the Buff’s victory for the first day, scoring 116 in the women’s race and tying the University of New Mexico (UNM) in the men’s race with 107.
Top finishers include Terese Andersson (2nd) of UNM (2nd) in the women’s race, Miles Havlick (2nd) of the University of Utah (UU) and Tor-Hakon Hellebostad of UNM(3rd) in the men’s race. Andersson and Hellebostad’s performances placed the Lobos second overall. Today’s race also marks the first race Maria Graefnings of Utah did not finish first this season as she finished twenty-five seconds back and fifth overall.
The top non-collegiate racer in each race was Morgan Smyth from the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Club and Sylvan Ellefson of Team Homegrown.
Day 2: 21k freestyle mass start
Sunday woke to skiers preparing for what is possibly one of the most brutal races in America: a 21 k race that climbs 9000 feet from start to finish. All 80 collegiate racers and professional athletes participated in the Elite field, separate from the citizen’s field of 200 skiers.
Taking the women’s overall win and back on top of the podium was Maria Graefnings (UU) finishing the course in a time of 1:05:44. Her male teammate Miles Havlick won the men’s collegiate field and came in fifth overall in a time if 0:59:23, a little over two minutes back from the winner Sylvan Ellefson, whom won yesterday’s race.
The CU women managed to place ahead for the ladies’ team win with a one-two from Hajkova (2nd) and Reid (3rd) with 132 points. Montana State University skiers Tyler Reinking and Michael Schallinger had a similar results to the lady Buffs, filling the rest of the podium to get the men’s team win with 117 points.
The Ute’s podium performances was not enough to overthrow the Buffs, as CU took the Nordic team win with 458 points over the Ute’s 429. Racing continues on the weekend of the 25th as the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association schedule concludes with the season championship at Soldier Hollow, Utah. CU currently leads the overall standings with 1831points, ahead of UU
Results can be found here
Ben Theyerl was born into a family now three-generations into nordic ski racing in the US. He grew up skiing for Chippewa Valley Nordic in his native Eau Claire, Wisconsin, before spending four years racing for Colby College in Maine. He currently mixes writing, politics, and skiing (not necessarily all related) while based out of Crested Butte, CO, where he coaches the best group of high schoolers one could hope to find.