The 49th annual Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour cross country ski race is Saturday, February 5 on the Harriman Trail of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. 

The BMT welcomes a field of 600 skiers in the 34-kilometer Full Boulder, and 200 in the 15-kilometer Charley Course Half Boulder. Due to race caps, the event is fully subscribed. 

The Virtual BMT, where racers ski a 15k or 30k course of their choosing from Feb. 1-6, has 116 entrants. Course partners in the Virtual event include Ponderosa State Park in McCall, Soldier Hollow, Utah, Tahoe XC, California, and Meissner Ski Area in Bend, Oregon, and the Blaine County Recreation District’s North Valley Trail System. Virtual racers may not ski the Harriman Trail on Feb. 5. 

The field features World Cup-caliber racers, Para champions, and cross country enthusiasts who embrace the “Tour” aspect of the event. All ages are welcome. Racers are designated by seven waves, including elite men, and elite women.

U.S. Super Tour races in the next two weeks at Lake Placid, New York, and Craftsbury, Vermont, are pulling many elite racers, including the SVSEF Gold Team, out of the field. The past two men’s champions, Johnny Hagenbuch (2020) and Peter Holmes (2019) will be racing on the East Coast, along with perennial top three finisher Katie Feldman for the women. 

Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s cross country program director Rick Kapala remarked, “David Norris just missed the Olympic team and has been top 15 on the World Cup. He’s legitimately one of the best guys we have ever had.” 

Norris recently won the men’s 15k classic (36:50) in Super Tour racing at Lake Creek, and was the silver medalist in a 30k freestyle in the US National Championships at Soldier Hollow.  

Another elite skier from Alaska, is 2018 Winter Olympian and national champion Tyler Kornfield. 

“One of the best guys we have,” Kapala remarked, and added, “Dan Wood, Christian Gostout, and Nick Power…   then some guys like (Tucker) McCreary, (Jack)  Hegman, (James) Roloff then master blasters of various abilities.” 

“We have an incredible field of top-level masters skiers,” race secretary Mike Wolter said. “It’s going to be exciting.” 

Kapala and Wolter point to University of Utah alum Leah Lange and Felicia Gesior as two to watch in the women’s elite field.

Ketchum’s Jake Adicoff recently claimed his first career world championship at the 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, Norway. Adicoff, 26, with fellow SVSEF alumni Sam Wood as his guide, won the men’s visually impaired middle distance race. The pair skied to silver (sprints) and bronze (long distance).  

Adicoff, who will appear in his third Paralympic Winter Games next month, is part of the largest group of Para athletes ever to compete in the Boulder, and they are some of the best in the nation. Also using the BMT to hone their skills before the 2022 Winter Games are Ruslan Reiter, Drew Shea, Josh Sweeney, Dani Aravich, Grace Miller and Lera Doederlein. 

With the support of the Challenged Athlete Foundation, the BMT will for the first time award prize money to adaptive athletes in standing and sitting categories at both distances. CAF also funded travel grants to help many of these skiers compete before the Paralympic Winter Games beginning March 4 in Beijing, China. 

“We are thrilled to see our mission in action at a competitive race like Boulder Mountain Tour where our athletes can showcase their spirit and strength,” said Wilson Dippo, program manager for CAF and a coach with the U.S. Para Nordic team. 

“One of the biggest development hurdles faced by US Para Nordic Skiing is the lack of inclusive events to train and compete in. By removing financial and logistical barriers, CAF is creating interest to try new sports like Para Nordic and providing the ways to participate.”

Overall men and women’s champions in the Full Boulder receive $2500 each, with $1000 for second place and $500 for third place. Sturtevants and Jones-Grover sponsor two in-race preems for the fastest man and woman. Thanks to donations from Galena Lodge, Muffy Ritz and VAMPS, and Jamie Lieberman of DON’s, the Town Sprints offer $600 to the top three men and women. Town Sprints will be Thursday, Feb. 4 at Simplot Lot in Ketchum.  

In addition to title sponsor Zions Bank, the Boulder Mountain Tour is made possible by gold sponsors Blaine County Title, Sentinel Security, and Sue Engelmann of Berkshire Hathaway, silver sponsors Atkinsons’, Backwoods Mountain Sports, Clear Creek Disposal, Elephant’s Perch, Power Engineers, Lloyd Construction, Lutz Rental, Nourish Me, Sun Valley Title, and Zenergy. Bronze sponsors are Davis Embroidery, Jones-Grover of Engel Veolkers, Lumi Experiences, Sawtooth Brewery, Sturtevants, Sun Valley Associates, Sun Valley Ketamine Clinic, and Vacasa. 

The BMT is also grateful to a stalwart and dedicated volunteer crew, who make the event happen on an annual basis, including aid station volunteers SV Community School, Sun Valley Suns Hockey, Wood River Pickleball Association, Galena Lodge, VAMPS, and Girls on the Run.