Updated Safety Protocol for 2022 Boulder Mountain Tour

The safety of our participants and volunteers for the Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour is paramount when planning the event, and even more so in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To this end, the Boulder’s Board of Directors has begun regular meetings to discuss each aspect of the event and target ways to provide greater social distancing and limit the potential for transmission of COVID-19. 

Adjustments in place:   

General Precautions 
  • Masks will be provided in every race bag 
  • Volunteers and staff will wear masks at all times. 
  • Ongoing monitoring to ensure the hospital has capacity to treat general public and racers during the event. 
Race Bag Pickup and BMT Expo* 
  • Will be modified to limit exposure 
Transportation 
  • Mandatory mask-wearing. 
  • Riders can opt not to share seats 
  • Windows in buses will be ajar throughout the day. 
  • Masks required for entry into Galena Lodge. 
  • Extra masks available at shuttles. 
Race
  • “Covid Coordinator” from the local medical community will be onsite at race and available to answer any questions regarding COVID protocols and precautions as things may develop.
Awards 
  • Awards ceremony outside 

Also being discussed for safety purposes are switching the awards ceremony to a virtual event and spreading out the start times for waves to allow for greater social distancing, pre-and-during the race. 

 The BMT Board will continue to meet throughout the month and monitor developments in our valley. Helping steer this course of action are board members Jamie Lieberman, M.D., and Don Nurge, an emergency medical technician and squad leader for the Sun Valley Fire Department. The pair is in regular contact with local and regional hospital personnel to ensure we are consistent with local regulations. 

While we plan to hold an in-person race, our risk-management discussions will take into account the safety of our racers and volunteers, as well as the safety of the local community.

If COVID conditions deteriorate to a point where St Luke’s Wood River Medical Center or local EMS officials institute “Crisis Standards of Care,” or a drastic increase in the COVID caseload creates an unmanageable risk to the local community, the BOD may switch the in-person race  to a virtual event held between February 1-6. The BOD will announce any changes to the race format no later than Monday, January 24. 

Preventative Strategies from the CDC
 Local Medical Resources 

St. Luke’s Wood River – 208.727.8800

Testing: https://www.stlukesonline.org/health-services/service-groups/covid-resources/covid-testing

Vaccinations/Boosters: https://www.stlukesonline.org/health-services/service-groups/covid-resources/covid-vaccine-information

Ketchum Family Medicine – 208.622.3180 

Testing: https://www.ketchumfamilymedicine.com/covid19-testing

Sterling Urgent Care – 208.788.4122

Testing: https://www.sterlingurgentcare.com/hailey-id-urgent-care/

In addition, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is offering free, at-home COVID-19 test kits. Tests can be requested by calling 2-1-1. No personal information is required other than a name and mailing address.

*Limelight Hotel requires all persons on-premises to be vaccinated

Read All About It: 2022 Zions Bank BMT Program

Here it is, hot off the presses, the 2022 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour program. We thank all our contributors, sponsors, and supporters for their efforts in bringing it to life.

Cover art created by Jack Weekes of Type B Laboratories with program design by Judy Stoltzfus of Judy’s Art House.

2022 BMT Program

November’s News & Notes for the BMT

With three months until the 2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour, organizers are busy planning a new “Virtually Amazing” event which will run from February 1-7 at a ski track near you. Read all about it in November’s News & Notes.

With three months until the 2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour, organizers are busy planning a new “Virtually Amazing” event which will run from February 1-7 at a ski track near you. Read all about it in November’s News & Notes.

Format Change for 2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour

“Our Race, Your Backyard” is the rallying cry for the 48th annual Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour, February 1-7, 2021. We invite skiers of all ages and abilities to take part in our virtual BMT this year by skiing a trail and distance of their choice in their home state or favorite place.

Course distances are 15k and 30 kilometers. Courses will be suggested at various areas and resorts at 10 regions throughout the United States and Canada. We are asking racers to self-time and submit their times via email to bouldermountaintour@gmail.com. We will post daily race updates via our BMT leaderboard and ask you to “Rock the Boulder” by sharing your photos we will be posting to the BMT Photo Wall and our social media sites.

Prizes will be awarded each day in many categories, including Best Costume, Oldest/Youngest Racers, Pacesetter, Team Spirit, Best in Snow and Best in Show (canine category). The week-long festival culminates with a virtual awards celebration and recognition of our participants that will be broadcast on Vimeo.

The entry fee is $39 for adults, $25 for juniors and $125 for families or teams of four. The fee includes an official SWIX race hat, sticker, sponsored items, raffle ticket, and a training plan for racers of all abilities. Trail passes courtesy of the Blaine County Recreation District will be available to skiers in the Sun Valley area. Participants will receive their race packet via mail.

To register, please click here.

Please contact us at bouldermountaintour@gmail.com if you have any questions. Thank you!

Results Posted for the 2020 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour

Results from the 2020 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour are posted as at http://my.raceresult.com/148009/.

Congratulations to all our participants, including race champions Guro Jordheim of the University of Utah, and Johnny Hagenbuch of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and U.S. Ski Team.

Official awards will be held at Ketchum Town Square tonight at 5 p.m.

Top finishers in the 47th annual Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour were, from left, Ola Jordheim, Katie Feldman, champions Juro Jordheim and Johnny Hagenbuch, Erika Flowers and Max Bie. Photo by Nils Ribi.

Breaking Down the Boulder: Insights from a BMT Champ

How does your BMT story begin? It may end in a sore, tired, and (hopefully) sunburned heap on the snow, swearing off XC ski racing forever. Not to worry, this affliction will heal rapidly once you start trash talking to your friends how you will beat them in the BMT 2020…But what started your BMT career? Are you a glutton for punishment? Did you lose a bet? Maybe you are here to show everyone that an old dog can learn new tricks? I’m sure some of you got suckered in with the, “it’s all downhill” line. If so, I encourage you to strap on your 140 flex boots, lock your heels down, and head to the start line…

For those brave enough to tackle this 1,000 foot descent (lol, it’s all downhill, I promise) on XC gear, here’s six phases of the race to consider. DISCLAIMER: I was a “professional athlete” (making an NFL salary) for 15 years so spend the next three minutes of your life reading this at your own risk. I will not be held responsible for wasting your time nor giving bad advice…

1) Elbows and Ski Poles: The Start

A great marathon race starts as fast and hard as you can to build an early lead. As you’ve seen in the Tour De France, that usually works SUPER well. The start is important, but you’ve got 34 km to ‘race’; spend the start defending your poles and enjoying the gorgeous views – there’s plenty of time to make yourself tired later. At the starting line, mind the short bald man with the bullhorn, he is amusing (especially to himself) and will warn the stragglers of the men’s elite field to allow the elite women who catch them to pass with ease…These ladies have already beaten you by two minutes, let it go!

2) Do Not Color Outside The Lines: The Road Crossing

A kilometer or so into the race is a beautiful strip of pearly white to carry you across Highway 75. I will spare you the “stone grinding” jokes about what happens if you miss this white ribbon (you can’t). Note, this is a great place to knockout your competition, as a small nudge can send your competitor back to ‘go’ without collecting $200 dollars (actually, spending a lot more than $200 on a new pair of skis). In all seriousness, be light on your feet and head up and you will blast through this into Phase 3.

3) You’ll Ski At My Pace and Like It: The Infamous Hawk Hill

One could call this a big climb, but they would also call the Midwest ground zero for big mountain alpine skiing. The challenge here lies in the trail width – it doesn’t afford a three-person wide “I’m more fit than you” contest. This will help those who believe that this is their spot to make a move – trust me, it’s not. Let the trail width save you from yourself. Relax and flow up the hill, look forward to the great view from the top and the fun descent to follow.

4) Enjoy Your Next 20km: The Blowup

This overlooked bump will inform you immediately as to what kind of day you are having. A SNEAKY uphill that takes 30 seconds to ski but can put you one minute or more ahead (or behind) someone who started it with you. I have watched President Truman drop Fat Man AND Little Boy on legit racers here…However, if you are feeling good, this can be a great place to strut your stuff.

5) Fruit Of The Loom Is Not Going To Cut It: The (Sometimes) Cold Part

If you begin your clothing layers like with the same piece as Walter White in the first episode of Breaking Bad, you may regret it. “Frostbite Flats” translates directly in skier to “wear your wind briefs.” Even if it is warm on the day of the race, wind block material can’t hurt. This section of the course (from Baker Creek to the finish) contains great open skiing, where you can ski big and let your skis glide out. Don’t forget to enjoy the amazing views of the Boulders and the Big Wood River!

6) Move It Or Lose It: The Finish

I’ve been the one moving it – and also the one losing it. The end of the race is narrow, twisty, and FLAT. Think tactically, save energy, and do NOT start sprinting too early! The final drag is long, so be patient and time your ‘move’ such that you die (metaphorically only please) at the finish line, not 10 feet before it.

Remember these six phases and you might have a good race, or not, it’s really up to you. Write your own BMT phases; hopefully they involve fun racing, good weather, great snow, and amazing people. Enjoy your time on the Harriman Trail, it’s a beautiful place and you only get to race on it once a year (if you’re lucky)!

Matt Gelso is a retired professional ski racer, formerly with the SVSEF Gold Team. As a member of the University of Colorado NCAA Ski Team and the U.S. Ski Team, he raced throughout the U.S. and Europe in World Cup and World Championship competitions. He now deals commercial and residential real estate in the Wood River Valley with Paul Kenny & Matt Bogue Real Estate. He is the 2018 Boulder Mountain Tour champion.

 

Summer Training with Mary Rose: Do What You Love

After I retired from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Gold Team, I went straight into coaching for Sun Valley SEF. It was time for me to move on from competitive skiing, but that doesn’t mean that I will ever move on from the sport. The transition away from being a full-time athlete was pretty smooth because I still love being active, and I always loved training, so my life didn’t really change.

Being a Nordic skier, we are privileged with how we train for skiing. It is essential that we mix up our workouts between running, biking, rollerskiing, and strength. When I was skiing competitively a lot of my training included exploring the wilderness around Sun Valley by running, biking, or skiing.

Mary Rose (right) and Liz Stephen exploring the Idaho backcountry.

I have instilled a lifestyle that allows me to stay fit year-round. In the springtime, you will find me backcountry skiing in all the different mountain ranges surrounding Sun Valley. You will also find me squeezing in the perfect spring skiing conditions at Galena and on the Harriman Trail. I spend most of my days outside doing what I love, skiing! Backcountry skiing and cross-country skiing in the spring help me build up my endurance base. Without even considering this training, I am putting in big training hours, simply by exploring.

Once the snow is gone, I rely on my running shoes and bike to explore. There are so many places I have yet to experience around Sun Valley and that is my biggest motivator when it comes to exercise. During the weekdays, I try to get outside once a day for either a bike or run and on the weekends I try to climb one or two peaks. I no longer focus on intervals sessions or how many hours my training plan says. Instead, I focus on what will bring me the most joy. I love getting outside with good friends who share the same passion.

On rare occasions, I will jump into a running interval or two with my athletes to help them with their technique or to keep them motivated to dig deeper. Intervals are not a top priority for me. However, it is good to squeeze in a couple here and there.

While I am far from the perfect training plan for cross-country racing, I stay fit by doing what I love! The most important thing to do for Boulder Mountain Tour prep is to get outside and enjoy your time, especially in the spring and summer. Training hours will build up, and you will get fit in no time.

Born and raised in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Mary Rose is a former SVSEF Gold Team athlete. Mary represented the United States at the Under 23 World Championships as well as the Colorado Buffaloes at the NCAA Championships where she earned two team National Championships. Now that her professional racing days have come to an end, Mary has decided to call the Wood River Valley home and pass on her sport knowledge as a ski coach for the SVSEF.

Nordies on top of the mountain! From left, Mary Rose, Chris Mallory, Matt Gelso, Peter Harris, and Kevin Bolger on top of Galena Peak.

 

Zions Bank Remains Title Sponsor of Boulder Mountain Tour

The Boulder Mountain Tour is delighted to announce Zions Bank remains the event’s title sponsor for the fifth consecutive year.

Tracy Groll, Regional President of Idaho Resort Banking, remarked, “We enjoy partnering with the BMT because it supports the local community and we believe it’s extremely important to invest and participate in the communities where we have a presence.”

Bob Rosso, a longtime board member and local business owner, concurred, “We are really thrilled to have Zions back as our title sponsor. Zions has really terrific people who back us up, give us support, and share really creative ideas. It is an excellent relationship and one we are very appreciative of.”  

Boulder Board President John Reuter added, “Long-term sponsorship is incredibly important for the BMT because it allows us to make educated planning decisions toward growing the event and maximizing the positive impact of the BMT on the community as a whole. Specifically, Zions’ five-year sponsorship has allowed us to increase our marketing and outreach, improve our timing and results, modernize our website, and deliver a “presentation” to visitors that highlights this amazing valley in which we live.”

2019 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour champions Peter Holmes of Sun Valley and Erika Flowers of Bozeman. Photo by Nils Ribi.

Salt Lake City is the corporate headquarters for Zions Bank, which does business in 10 different western states in the U.S. In addition to Idaho and Utah, Zions and its subsidiaries have locations in Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas. There are two branches in the Wood River Valley in Ketchum and Hailey. (Tip: Check out the freshly-baked cookies offered every Friday).

Notable among Zions Bank’s BMT enthusiasts are Mark Garfield, Senior Vice President of International Banking, who participates with his whole family. This year, seven skiers related to the family were in the field, and Garfield semi-jokingly says that one of the criteria to marry into the family is being able to ski the Full Boulder.

“That is exactly the case!” Garfield exclaimed.

Of course, being a zealous cross country skier helps, and Garfield is a prime example of how Zions encourages its employees to exercise and take care of themselves and how that philosophy spreads to the greater community as well.  

“As a bank organization, we are encouraged to stay active and healthy and have incentives to do so. I believe the handful who do participate (in the Boulder) recognize the superb course conditions and beautiful landscape Sun Valley has to offer,” Groll said.

Community is at the heart of the Boulder Mountain Tour, and that is readily apparent in the remarks offered by both Groll and Reuter.

“Having Zions Bank remain as our title sponsor demonstrates Zions’ long-term commitment to supporting our local community. The BMT is technically just a ski race, but it’s actually a celebration of Wood River Valley – its natural beauty, its welcoming people, its local businesses. Zions Bank understands that supporting the BMT is really supporting the place we call home,” Reuter remarked.

“I think the biggest thing I would like people to know is that we really do support our community – whether it’s a sporting event, the arts, nonprofits, or cultural – it’s important to us. We are invested,” Groll said.

The Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour is the premier cross country ski marathon in the western United States. Held annually on the first Saturday of February, the Tour’s 34k route travels from Galena Lodge on the historic Harriman Trail in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to the finish line across from SNRA Headquarters. There is also a 15k Half Boulder that begins at Baker Creek. The event attracts upwards of 1,000 people with more than 50 percent of participants from out of town, representing 23 states and three countries. This year’s race is on Saturday, February 1, 2020. Registration opens on July 1 at www.skireg.com. 

Skiers make their way down the BMT course. Photo by Steve Butler.

Svea Grover joins board of Boulder Mountain Tour

It is said that roots don’t lie. You can take that a couple different ways.

In the case of Svea Grover, who was born and raised in Alaska, her roots in cross country skiing run as deep as the Bering Sea and as true blue as the water in it.

When she was six-years-old, her family moved from Ketchikan to Homer, Alaska, (“Where the Road Ends and the Sea Begins”), and built their first home, a 20-by-24’ one-room cabin on 40 acres, located 14 miles out of town and a mile off the main dirt road, according to Svea. When the main road is composed of dirt, you are definitely well off the beaten path, but that seemed to suit Svea and her family just fine.

Svea recalls, “With no snow plow for many years, this meant learning to cross country ski to get in and out of our property. I skied to the school bus stop from our home every morning, leaving skis by the mailbox for many years. I learned to love that cold air on my face and the snow under my skis!”

Her love of skiing continued unabated through middle school and high school, to Junior National Championships, and, eventually to college at the University of New Mexico, where she was a member of the Lobos ski team in 1985-1986. Svea was one of two Americans on the 11-person team. The roster was rounded out by Finns and Norwegians racing for longtime coach Klaus Weber, who was enshrined in the New Mexico Ski Hall of Fame in 2010.  

Deciding she needed to branch out, Svea continued her education at the University of Oslo in Norway for a year, then enrolled for a year at a Norwegian business school before returning to the states to finish her bachelor of science degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University.

Fast forward to 1994, Svea moved to Ketchum and began coaching for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s cross country team and program director Rick Kapala. By good fortune, Kapala hired one of his former racers from Anchorage in 1996, a young man by the name of Chris Grover. While matchmaker is not a word normally associated with Kapala, he definitely cast Cupid’s bow at the pair, culminating with walking Svea down the aisle when the two married in 2001.

Svea and a furry friend hit the trails. Courtesy photo

After living in Bend, Oregon, and Park City, Utah, Svea and Chris moved back to Hailey with their very young daughters, Eva and Anja. Chris took the role as head coach of the SVSEF Gold Team, created to train elite cross country skiers and provide funding to pursue racing at the highest level possible. Grover, who began coaching with the U.S. Development Ski Team the late ‘90s returned to the organization in 2006 and has been the head coach of the U.S. cross country team since 2009, overseeing some of the team’s greatest success to date, including its first-ever Olympic gold medal for the U.S. women.

A skier, coach, wife of a coach, and mother of competitive skiers, Svea holds every possible role in relation to the sport of cross country skiing and in May of 2019 added one more; board member for the Boulder Mountain Tour. With the appointment, the board gains a knowledgeable and respected member of the cross country community and our community at-large.

Board vice president and fellow SVSEF ski coach Martha Pendl concurred, “Svea brings a unique wealth of knowledge to the BMT Board…as a competitive ski racer, a longtime SVSEF coach, parent and team volunteer, and an avid cross country World Cup and U.S. Ski Team enthusiast, she has a keen eye for a race well run. As a local business partner, Svea has been a dedicated supporter of cross country skiing and its continued growth and development in the Wood River Valley. Svea harbors many trusted relationships within our community, and I look forward to her advocacy and enthusiasm for the BMT as the newest member of the board. Welcome, Svea!”

A successful realtor with Engel & Vöelkers in Sun Valley, Svea remarked, “the BMT has a part of my life nearly each winter it seems – either volunteering as a coach at the start, skiing sweep with the coaches at the end, skiing the half Boulder with my then, little kids, TRYING to ski the full Boulder with my kids or being a sponsor of the event, it’s always been something I’ve been proud to be a part of on whatever level.”

“I’m thrilled at the honor of being invited to join the BMT board with this accomplished list of friends and colleagues from the nordic world, who have worked so hard to raise the bar each year. “I hope I can help give back to our community through this unique and important event.”

 

Counting Down to the Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour

Race day for the 46th annual Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour is drawing near and this year’s race promises to be special for several reasons.

The capstone event of the Sun Valley Nordic Festival, this year’s Boulder on February 2, 2019, will honor Jon Engen, a three-time Olympian who was a dedicated ambassador and respected competitor in the sports of cross country skiing and biathlon. A longtime Ketchum resident, Engen passed away from pancreatic cancer in April of 2018. Many of his friends from near and far, including Bozeman, Montana, where he attended college, will be in attendance to pay homage to Engen and ski in his memory.

Jon Engen leading the charge in 2017. Photo by Nils Ribi

The men’s elite field is shaping up to be a highly competitive one for the 34-kilometer race staged on the Harriman Trail in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Four-time Olympian Andrew Newell (2018, 2014, 2010, 2006) heads up a men’s elite field that includes 2018 champion Matt Gelso (1:10.28), 2018 bronze medalist Bryan Cook, 2012 BMT and Birkebeiner champion Matt Liebsch, a noted marathon racer, and 2008 BMT champ Michael Sinnott. This pack will be challenged by perennial top-10 finisher Wyatt Fereday, and top-20 racers from last year, Nathan Schultz, Harb Harrison, Orion Berryman, Noel Johnson, James Rucker and Joe Jensen.

With three-time defending champion Caitlin Compton Gregg set to give birth this month, the women’s field is wide open and several local women will be leading the charge. Annie Pokorny, a former Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Gold Team racer, returns to the field after finishing fourth in 2018. Sloan Storey, a SVSEF alumni, coach and former captain at University of Utah, will try and improve on her third-place finish in 2016. Emily Williams, another SVSEF coach and alumna. 2017 women’s silver medalist, Erika Flowers, skied to 16th place overall, 7:41 behind champion Silas Talbot.

Annie Pokorny training with the SVSEF Gold Team in 2016-17. Photo by Hillary Maybery.

Conversely, there is a non-timed Ninth Wave for participants who want to embrace the touring aspect of the event. There are currently 25 participants signed up for the Ninth Wave. Current registration for the event is nearing the 700-person mark with 117 people signed up for the very popular 15k Half Boulder. There are 83 open slots remaining in the Half, and 235 openings in the Full. The entry field is limited to 1,000 participants altogether and last year, 317 people signed up for the race in January. The course is set to accommodate skate and classic skiers.

Two weeks remain to register at the current $100 rate. At midnight on Friday, January 25 the rate goes up to $120 for the Full Boulder and $100 for the Half Boulder (currently $85). Registration closes on Monday, January 28 at midnight. There is no week-of-race registration. Sign up is through SkiReg.com at https://www.skireg.com/zions-bank-boulder-mountain-tour.

We are on track for fabulous conditions for the 2019 Boulder Mountain Tour. Photo by Steve Butler

All Boulder entries are eligible for a free pre-race clinic with Sun Valley Ski Education Gold Team racers at Sun Valley Resort on the Wednesday prior to the BMT, January 30. There is no trail fee, but participants are asked to check in at the ski desk in the lodge prior to the clinic.

The NordicTown USA Sprints on Thursday, January 31 at Simplot Field west of the Ketchum post office, feature a “Regs and Dregs” class for citizen racers. Pros and members of the SVSEF cross country team will also toe the line. Awards for the sprints will be held at the Limelight Hotel in downtown Ketchum, which will coincide with the kickoff celebration featuring live music by Ketchum’s own Pisten Bully’s, food and drink specials.

SVSEF junior racers get off the mark at the NordicTown USA Sprints. Photo by Nils Ribi.

The BMT Expo is on Friday, February 1 at the Limelight Hotel from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will feature some new vendors, including local artist John Caccia, Pit Viper of Utah, and Brynje, industry standouts SWIX, Madshus, Boulder Nordic Sport, and valley nonprofits Blaine County Recreation District, Sun Valley Ski Academy and Hunger Coalition. If you would like your business to be featured at the Expo, please contact Jody Zarkos at bouldermountaintour@gmail.com.

Demo Days will be held on Sunday, February 3 at Sun Valley Resort from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Local shops and industry representatives will be on hand to provide access and insight to all the latest and greatest gear and tips in cross country skiing. Demo Days is free to all BMT participants and open to the public. Sun Valley Resort will have the grill on with burgers, brats and veggie burgers available between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

There are many ways to be involved in the race besides skiing in it. Volunteers are needed. It takes roughly 210 people to execute all facets of the event and everyone who volunteers for the race is invited to an appreciation party on Wednesday, February 13 at the Limelight Hotel. Go to http://signup.com/go/HvepoEh to lend a hand.

The sunshine takes care of itself, but we need help with the flags, and other things! Photo by Nils Ribi.

 

 

 

© Boulder Mountain Tour 2022
Faster Skier XCSkiWorld

P.O. Box 5868 Ketchum, ID 83340

Photos courtesy of Nils Ribi Photography