Registration for 2022 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour Underway
The 49th annual Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour will take place in person in Ketchum, Idaho, on its traditional day, the first Saturday in February, falling in 2022 on February 5. Due to the popularity of last year’s virtual event, “Our Boulder, Your Backyard,” participants may opt to ski on a course of their choice between February 1-6 (except for the Harriman Trail, which will be closed to virtual skiers on February 5.)
Registration is now open at skireg.com/zions-bank-boulder-mountain-tour. All entrants who sign up between now and October 31 will be entered into a drawing for season Nordic ski passes courtesy of the good folks at Sun Valley Resort and the Blaine County Recreation District.
Early-bird race fees are $99 for adults and $69 for juniors (18-under) for the Full Boulder and $79 for adults, and $49 for juniors for the Half Boulder. Entry fee includes race bags, official 2022 BMT SWIX race hat, event program, sponsored goods, a raffle ticket, a 10-week training program for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers, and the opportunity to win amazing prizes from event sponsors.
For the virtual event, participants will ski a 30k or 15k course of their choice in a convenient location. Trails will be suggested at various areas and resorts in regions throughout the United States. Times will be submitted by racers for posting on the BMT Leaderboard. Prizes will be awarded via livestream drawing on Monday, February 7.
The “Virtually Amazing BMT” cost is $49 for adults and $39 for juniors. This fee includes an official 2022 BMT race hat by SWIX, a raffle ticket, a BMT program, training plans, and shipping if needed.
The BMT annually recognizes its fastest, oldest and youngest racers, on-course preem champions, wave winners, and Jon Engen Perpetual Awards for most significant time improvement (male/female) from one year to the next in the Full Boulder.
Post-race, the BMT Block Party and Awards Bash will be from 5-7:30 p.m. at Ketchum Town Square. Food and beverage trucks, awards, music, and a good time will be on tap. Raffle prizes include skis, boots, poles, clothing, bags, and training aids from our generous sponsors and supporters. You must be present to win.
Additionally, the BMT honors nonprofit organizations via its “Ski It Forward” award. In 2021, the Boulder distributed $5,000 to 10 nonprofit organizations throughout the United States as voted on by participants, including The Advocates, Hunger Coalition, Meissner Nordic Team, Protect Our Winters, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Bogus Basin Ski Team, Community Shares of Wisconsin, Idaho Food Bank, and Higher Ground.
Last year’s winners were Best Costume – Team Breadcrumb, BMT Oldest – Nancy Fichter, BMT Youngest – Isla Sundby, Most BMT Swag – Kurt Dudley, Team Spirit – No Pressure, 15k Pacesetter – Lizzy Albin, 30k Pacesetter – Brian Elkins.
In 2022, award categories will be Pacesetter, Youngest and Oldest, and Best Costume. All winners will be drawn by raffle with the exception of the costume category – which will be recognized in both the in-person and virtual events.
The Boulder Mountain Tour is proud to announce the 15k Half Boulder has been named in honor of valley-and-event favorite Charley French. Participants can now ski the 15k Charley Course Half Boulder.
Born in St. Louis, Mo., on August 3, 1926, French enlisted in the US Army at age 17, serving as a machinist aboard the USS Cleveland in the South Pacific during World War II. He graduated from Long Beach State University with a degree in electrical engineering. In 1971 at the age of 45, he came to Ketchum for a job as an engineer and in product development with a new and growing company named Scott USA. One of his developments was shaping cycling’s aerodynamic handlebar, which was strategically utilized by American Greg Lemond in his 1989 Tour de France win.
A notable athlete himself, French is a devoted skier, cyclist, and triathlete with numerous BMT age-class championships under his belt.
“I think I have done all the Boulders but four,” Charley said.
Event sponsorships are available. Details? Please contact race director Jody Zarkos at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208.720.1810.
While many of the hallmarks of the 48th annual Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour remain in place, there are a few key changes this year in response to the Covid pandemic and desire to keep racers and the community-at-large as healthy as possible.
The first is the date. Instead of one day, participants can ski any day and any style between Monday, February 1 and Sunday, February 7.
The second is the place. BMT organizers are encouraging racers to use their imagination to create and complete self-supported 15 or 30-kilometer races. To this end, many ski areas and organizations have established courses in conjunction with the BMT. Course partners are located throughout the United States. They include Soldier Hollow Nordic Center, Utah, Tahoe XC, Calif., Mount Bachelor, Ore., Meissner Nordic Community, Bend, Ore., Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Vermont, Washburn Ski Trails, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, Rendezvous Ski Trails, West Yellowstone, Mt., Sun Valley Nordic Center, and the Blaine County Recreation District.
“We appreciate everyone rallying to make the Boulder happen. The response has been amazing. We want to emphasize you can ski anywhere. It doesn’t have to be an official course. It is whatever and wherever makes you happy. If you want to ski 10k at three different venues that is awesome,” BMT executive director Jody Zarkos remarked.
Registration runs through January 31 on SkiReg.com. The cost to “Rock the Boulder” is $39 for adults, $25 for 18-under, and $125 for teams of four. The entry fee includes an official 2021 BMT race hat by SWIX, raffle entry, sponsored items, BMT collateral, and a general training plan geared to novice, intermediate and advanced skiers.
The Boulder Mountain Tour, sponsored by Zions Bank with substantial support from the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Sue Engelmann of Berkshire Hathaway, Sentinel Security, and Blaine County Title, believes in the power and passion of nonprofit organizations performing vital work during these difficult days. To this end, the BMT will expand its “Ski It Forward” award, in recognition of the vital work these organizations perform. This year, the BMT will donate $5,000 to nonprofits throughout the United States. Registrants vote on the charity of their choice, and organizations receiving the most votes will receive donations at the BMT’s culmination.
Prizes will be awarded via raffle on an almost daily basis throughout the week via livestream at vimeo.com/2021BMT. Prize categories are Oldest/Youngest Racers, Best Costume (based on photos), Team Spirit (based on photos), and Pacesetters. Some of the great prizes up for grabs include skis from Salomon and Madshus, a pour-over coffee bar from Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee, boots, and outstanding cross-country gear from industry standouts.
Event sponsors also include Atkinsons’ Market, Backwoods Mountain Sports, Clear Creek Disposal, Davis Embroidery, Elephant’s Perch, Engel & Völkers Jones Grover Team, EnjoyWinter, Fischer, Hammer Nutrition, Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee, Power Engineers, Rex Wax, Rossignol, Sturtevants, Sun Valley Associates, Salomon, Swix, TOKO, Zenergy, with support from Blaine County Recreation District, Bluebird Solar, Boulder Nordic Sport, Cellar Pub, Conrad Brothers Construction, Dons, Galena Lodge, Lefty’s Bar & Grill, Morgan’s Fine Finishes, Mountain Rides, Nourish Me, Perry’s, Rickshaw, Sawtooth Avalanche Center, Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Sun Valley Community School, Sun Valley Company, Sushi on Second, VAMPS, Wrapcity and Wood River YMCA.
To help participants gear up for the 2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour, the good folks at Hammer Nutrition provided hydration tips to get you to the starting and finish lines in the best possible shape; physically and mentally.
An original in the industry, Hammer has offered endurance fuels, supplements & education since 1987.
To visit Hammer’s website and see their great lineup as well as additional information and articles, please click HERE.
Hammer Tip One – Hydration
FACT: In general, most athletes, under most conditions, will satisfy hydration needs with a fluid intake in the range of 20-25 ounces per hour – roughly the equivalent of a standard size small or large water bottle.
Lighter athletes or athletes exercising in cool weather conditions may only require an intake of 16-18 ounces per hour. Larger athletes or athletes exercising under very hot and humid conditions are the ones that can consider a fluid intake in the range of 28 ounces per hour, perhaps up to 30 ounces per hour in extreme conditions.
It’s important to remember that regular fluid intake over 30-34 ounces hourly significantly increases the potential for serious performance and health problems
Hammer Tip 2 – Caloric Intake
For best performance, DO NOT follow the “calories out, calories in” advice given by some “experts.” Instead replenish calories in “body cooperative” amounts, allowing your fat stores to make up the difference. For most athletes, 120-180 calories/hour is the ideal range. In very rare instances, larger athletes and hyper metabolic types may need slightly more calories per hour.
Workouts/races of 2 hours or less: choose a fuel with complex carbohydrates, not simple sugars (glucose, sucrose, fructose, etc.). Simple sugars cause energy peaks and crashes, and must be mixed in weak concentrations for efficient digestion. Complex carbohydrates absorb at about three times the rate as simple sugars. Plus, you get steady, reliable energy—no peaks and valleys.
Workouts or races of 2-3-hours, or more: Fuel primarily with complex carbohydrates, not simple sugars. Also, 10-15% of your fuel’s calorie content should come from protein, ideally soy, to help satisfy energy requirements and prevent muscle tissue catabolism.
Hammer Tip 3 – Electrolytes
FACT: Salt (sodium chloride) cannot fulfill your entire requirements for electrolytes. The minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium also must be replenished to ensure the proper functioning of key body systems. In addition, your daily dietary sodium intake, fitness level, acclimatization, and the environmental conditions, such as heat and humidity, all affect the amount of electrolytes you will need to replenish during exercise.
For a balanced, full-spectrum formula of electrolytes, replenish with Endurolytes. Choose regular Endurolytes, Endurolytes Extreme, or Endurolytes Fizz in doses appropriate for the conditions.
Hammer Tip 4 – Pre-Event Fueling
To perform and feel your best during races or workouts, consume no more than 300-400 calories. Choose easily digested, complex carbohydrates, along with a small amount of protein and a little healthy fat. Avoid fiber, simple sugar, and acidic foods. Finish your meal 3 hours before exercise. Eating within 3 hours can seriously hurt your performance by 1) reducing the conversion of fats to fuels, and 2) accelerating glycogen depletion.
Tip: If your race is early, don’t sacrifice sleep to eat. Instead, consume a small amount of supplemental fuel, such as one Hammer Gel, about 5 minutes before starting.
Hammer Tip 5 – Recovery
What you do immediately after your workout is just as important as your workout itself. “Refill the tank” as soon as possible; ideally within the first 60 minutes to fully replenish glycogen and build and repair muscle tissue. Consume 30-60 grams of complex carbohydrates and 10-20 grams of protein. Recoverite supplies both in the ideal 3:1 ratio. Also, be sure to take antioxidants after exercise to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals and speed recovery.
Hammer Tip 6 – Reflecting Back, Looking Forward
Whether your recent race was a “personal best, a “DNF,” or somewhere in between, now is the time to reflect—making written notes even—on how things went and why.
Start with reviewing what went well from the race, so that you can be sure to incorporate it into your next race. This includes factors like physical performance (such as pacing) and your gear and fueling choices.
Next, take note of areas of opportunity, such as consuming too many or insufficient calories or fluids, timing them wrong, going out too fast, or choosing the wrong gear. These extremely helpful lessons learned can lead to improvement next time.
Instead of allowing these setbacks to be stumbling blocks, turn them into stepping stones so you can achieve greater success in your future races.
There are very few athletic accolades you could not apply to Muffy Ritz; a former U.S. Cross-Country Ski Team member, two-time American Birkebeiner champion, Race Across America runner-up, and a member of the local Ski Hall of Fame. On a more pedestrian front, Ritz is on the BMT’s board of directors, and founded and coaches for VAMPS, a Nordic ski program for women.
Fellow coach Betsy Youngman, a two-time U.S. Olympian, and Kate Ellis, a coach for VAMPS. Youngman created the Advanced program, Ritz designed the Intermediate, and Ellis the Novice training plan.
The intrepid trio created thorough training plans for our participants and skiing community that will elevate your strength and skiing.
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.
“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 email@example.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.
Registration for the 2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour opens tomorrow, Wednesday, July 1.
Formed in 1973, the Boulder Mountain Tour is a cornerstone event celebrating cross country skiing in the Wood River Valley. Starting at Galena Lodge and following the Harriman Trail through the Sawtooth National Forest, course distances are 34 and 15 kilometers. The 48th annual BMT is scheduled for Saturday, February 6, 2021.
Year in and year out, the safety of our racers, spectators, and volunteers is priority number one. With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, safeguarding the health and welfare of all involved with the event is even more crucial.
In light of present circumstances, we have made changes to our pricing structure for the benefit of our racers and respect for their decision-making process. Rather than tiered pricing, race fees will remain the same throughout the registration process.
2021 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour Race Fees Full BMT: Adult $95, Junior (17 & under) $50 Half BMT: Adult $80, Junior (17 & under) $45 Half BMT Adult + Child under 10 Combo: $95 Swix BMT Hat Only (US shipping included) $40
It is possible that changes to the race format will occur to provide a greater level of physical distancing. To date, no decision has been made to limit the size of the race field, although it is a likely consideration. If it’s determined that capping the size of the field will provide additional safety or compliance with any jurisdictional mandate, it will be announced simultaneously via email to our entire mailing list.
We are enthusiastically and methodically envisioning a memorable 2021 event. We hope you will join us! To register, please go to www.skireg.com. For any questions or concerns, please contact BMT Race Director Jody Zarkos at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208.720.1810.
A 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, BMT board members are John Reuter, president, Martha Pendl, vice president, Muffy Ritz, secretary, Sue Hamilton, treasurer, Tom Bowman, Svea Grover, Jamie Lieberman, Paddy McIlvoy, Andy Munter, Ivana Radlova, Bob Rosso, and John Seiller.
The sun was shining on the 2020 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour and Sun Valley Nordic Festival – literally and figuratively.
The 47th annual race marked the feel-good edition of the BMT. Not only was the weather flawless, adding to a marked cheerfulness by all involved, locals had reason to cheer as the race saw its first local champion in 12 years and the youngest ever race winner.
Johnny Hagenbuch, 19, a senior at Sun Valley Community School and member of the U.S. Ski Development Team, backed up his potential in the men’s elite field deemed to “be the deepest in the history of the race” by Rick Kapala, SVSEF cross country program director.
Emerging from the trees in front, Hagenbuch built a strong enough of a lead on the homestretch to turn around and look at his pursuers. He crossed the finish line – alone – in 1:17.07, almost one second ahead of Jordheim and Bie, who were separated by 1/100th of a second. The pair, along with women’s champion, Guro Jordheim, are coached by Miles Havlik, a former racer on the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Gold Team and two-time NCAA National Champion at Utah.
Hagenbuch’s victory marked the first win by a skier who grew up in the valley in 12 years. Mikey Sinnott claimed the Harriman Trail crown in 2008.
The women’s race came down to the wire, with Jordheim narrowly overtaking 2019 runner-up Katie Feldman at the finish to win in 1:25.50.3. Feldman crossed the line in 1:25.50.5, and 2019 champion Erika Flowers was a close third in 1:25.50.9.
Jordheim, 23, a six-time All American, is competing in her third NCAA Championships this week in Bozeman, Montana. She is the top-seeded skier in the women’s 5k classic and 15k skate in the West Region. Havlik’s Utes won the 2019 NCAA banner in his first season as head coach, and with six veteran skiers, including the Jordheim twins and Bie, competing are looking solid once again.
Cash prizes totaled $8000 in the elite class with $2,500 going to the race winners, $1000 to second place and $500 to third place, along with flowers and BMT special-edition cookies. There is no disparity between men and women regarding cash prizes awarded.
Age class champions in the Full Boulder were Ella McNeeley, Sarah Kilroy, Jordheim, Mary Rose, Flowers, Kellie Carim, Kathryn Roberts, Brooke Hovey, Barbara Kreisle, Kim Kawaguchi, Elizabeth Youngman, Janet Conway, Linda McClatchy, Andrew Crouch, Jackson Monz, Hagenbuch, Bolger, Gelso, Joshua Korn, Sam Kreig, Joe Jensen, John Bauer, Barry Makarewicz, Kris Thoreson, Steve Moore, Peter Darienzo, Del Pletcher, and Steve Swanson.
Wave class winners (3-7) took home $75 cash courtesy of Zenergy Health Club and Spa. Champions were Sloan Storey, Eloise Zimbelman, Maria Gesior, Naomi Goldberg, and Justin Calvin for the women, and James Roloff, Will Sladek, Ruslan Reiter, Jeff Aken and Clint Mortley for the men. Goldberg and Calvin won their waves outright.
The Jon Engen Memorial Award to the skiers who improve their times by the most significant percentage year-over went to Hannah Young (17.5%) and Brad St. Clair (31.7%). Jon’s wife, Darlene Young, was on hand to give out the eponymous belt buckles hand-crafted by Foster Weld of Boise.
A new award this year, Ski It Forward, is given to the nonprofit organization of the winning team’s choice. “Bjorn to Adventure” with Hagenbuch, Bolger, and Bjornsen garnered $1,000 for The Hunger Coalition, who builds healthy community through access to good food and addresses the root causes of food insecurity in Blaine County.
“There are so many amazing nonprofit organizations on which our community is built and depend. We are happy to contribute to their wonderful work and be a good partner in our quest to create a healthy and happy community,” Jody Zarkos, BMT executive director, remarked.
Youth was served in the 15k Half Boulder, as overall titles went to 13-year-old Reed Wuepper of Bend, Oregon, in 38 minutes and 15 seconds and 12-year-old Cora Scott of Hailey in 43 minutes and 28 seconds. The pair finished first and sixth overall, respectively. The winning parent/child team was McCallen and Brady Campbell of Hailey.
This year’s race attracted 877 (676/201) participants, with 587 racers finishing the Full Boulder and 174 crossing the line in the Half.
As always, the Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour received tremendous support from its partners in the community and nationwide. Zions Bank was the title sponsor for the sixth consecutive year. Gold sponsors were Sentinel Security, Sue Engelmann of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, and Blaine County Title.
Silver sponsorships were provided by SWIX, Limelight Hotel, Backwoods Mountain Sports, Elephant’s Perch, Atkinsons’ Market, Power Engineers, Voće Tea, Lutz Rental, Zenergy, Blaine County Recreation District, Galena Lodge, Davis Embroidery, Rossignol, Madshus, Rex Wax, Salomon, Hammer/Heed, TOKO.
Bronze sponsors were Sturtevants, Jones Grover Team of Engel & Vølkers, Clear Creek Disposal, Sun Valley Associates, Sun Valley Garden Center, Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, McCall Remastered, Boulder Nordic Sport, Fischer, Bliz/Swenor/START, and Enjoy Winter.
Race supporters include West Yellowstone Montana, Sun Valley Community School and Ski Academy, Morgan’s Fine Finishes, Lloyd Construction, Mason Family Restaurants, VAMPS, DONS, Conrad Brothers Construction, Perry’s Restaurant, Wrapcity, Nourish Me, Sushi on Second, The Cellar, Sawtooth Avalanche Center, Lefty’s Bar & Grill, Glow, Wood River YMCA, Pisten Bully’s, Mountain Rides, Wood River St. Luke’s, U.S. Forest Service, and Bluebird Solar. The NordicTown USA Sprint purse was provided by board members Muffy Ritz and John Seiller.
The BMT would like to extend its gratitude to Sharon Pyle of Atkinsons for her help in procuring race-bag items and the following amazing companies who made very generous donations to the delight of our racers: Pro Bars, Nuun Hydration, Kate’s Real Food, Betty Lou’s, BoBo’s, Nature’s Path, Wolo Bars, Honey Stinger, NibMor, Raw Rev Bars, Dandies, and Backcountry Bars.
Jack Weekes created the official poster and artwork for the custom-made socks of the 2020 BMT. A limited number of both are available for purchase at email@example.com. Nils Ribi was the official race photographer. Program contributors include Emily Williams, Mikey Sinnott, Annie Pokorny, Don Shepler, Mary Rose, Matt Gelso and John Reuter. Design by Judy Stolzfus of Judy’s Design House.
We would like to acknowledge the City of Ketchum for co-hosting our BMT Block Party and Awards Bash, as well as local businesses and sponsors who provided food and drink; The Cellar Pub, Leroy’s, Voće Tea, Wood River Sustainability Center, La Parilla, Sawtooth Brewery, and Zions Bank.
Race stalwarts include our wonderful aid station sponsors, Galena Lodge, Sun Valley Suns, Sun Valley Community School, Sturtevants, and Girls on the Run spearheaded by Tom Bowman. We would also like to extend our thanks to the road crew with Bryce Turzian and friends. Andy Munter for buses and biffies. John Seiller ran the start for the Full Boulder and Kelley Yeates and Family the Half Boulder start. Prime Time Timing of Wisconsin expertly provided race timing supported by Bobby Noyes, safety measures by the Galena Backcountry Ski Patrol and emergency services by the Ketchum and Sun Valley fire departments, Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho State Police, and Wood River Ham Radio. In acknowledgment of the local ham radio club’s years of service, the BMT donated $500 to the organization in honor of Joe Yelda. The course grooming crew headed up by Eric Rector of the BCRD did an excellent job, and the course held strong all day long.
The board of directors of the BMT would also like to extend its sincere thanks to the 260 committed volunteers who absolutely make the race what it is year after year. This race would not happen without your dedication, energy, and enthusiasm. Volunteer heads include Ted Angle, Jenny Busdon, Roberta Heinrich, Travis Jones, Rick Kapala, Jim Keating, Eric Rector, Bobby Noyes, Ashton Wilson, John Reuter, Nils Ribi, Gay Riley, Muffy Ritz, Bob Rosso, Jim Keller, James Lieberman, Frank Rowland, Andy Munter, Don Shepler, Pete Stephenson, Mike Wolter, Bryce Turzian, Tom Bowman, Joe Yelda, Mat Hall, Kelley Yeates, Sue Hamilton, Ivana Radlova, Paddy McIlvoy and Martha Pendl.
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.