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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Every year, on the first weekend in February, hundreds of enthusiastic skiers line up at Galena Lodge to race the 34 kilometers to the finish line of the Boulder Mountain Tour. For the racers, their journey is just beginning. But for the race organizers and volunteers the sound of the starting gun represents the conclusion of months of careful preparation, and sets in motion the final, masterfully planned, process of executing a world-class race.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Boulder Mountain Tour. From coordinating bib bags to managing aid stations to timing, our tight-knit community makes this race happen again and again. Most have been involved with the BMT for more than two decades and remain dedicated supporters of this iconic event.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and we thank everyone for their unflagging enthusiasm and expertise!
Head of Volunteers Ted Angle Years volunteering: 34 Hometown: Seattle, Washington Skiing start: I started skiing on the West Seattle golf course in grade school. Skiing in one form or another and playing in the snow has always been a part of my life. History with the BMT: I like to support and get involved in the things I have a strong interest in and passion for. I started out as a racer in the Tour, and evolved into a volunteer. I have held many volunteer positions over the years: aid station set-up, trail maintenance, timer, communications relay, parking assistance, and now the head of volunteers. I enjoy working with like-minded folks who want to help. What keeps you involved with the BMT? I get the satisfaction that I’m helping to support and perpetuate a sport and lifestyle that has so many benefits: camaraderie, healthy workout, a beautiful setting. This is a great XC skiing community; easy to work with and a joy to recreate with.
Bib Bags Gay Riley Years volunteering: 22 Hometown: Nevada. Wood River Valley resident for 45 years Skiing start: I cross-country ski and snowshoe in the winter – anything to play outside. History with the BMT: In 1998 the Ketchum Chamber of Commerce, under whose umbrella the BMT had previously been managed, hired Roberta Heinrich and myself to move the race forward as its own entity. We oversaw the race with the BMT board of directors from 1999 through 2002. We have stayed on the committee since then organizing our beloved bib bag volunteers! Favorite part about the BMT? The people we work with. Those devoted, tireless members of the BMT committee as well as the ever-changing roster of engaged volunteers.
Bib Bags Roberta Heinrich Years volunteering: 22 Hometown: Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota Skiing start: I began cross-country skiing in 1971 and have been an on-again, off-again skier ever since. I appreciate the physical benefits of the sport and the incredible system of trails that are available here in one of the most beautiful areas in the country History with the BMT: I began racing in the BMT in the mid 1980s. Since that time, I have been aware of the importance and potential of the race on a community level as well as its national significance in the Nordic world. From 1999 to 2002, my business partner and I were co-directors of the BMT. We grew the race to 1,000 racers, 350 volunteers and 33 committee members. What keeps you involved with the BMT? There is a true sense of community, purpose and pride in putting together a world-class race. I continue to participate because I believe it is truly a great event for our community and because of the people I have come to know and work with over the last 20 years.
Registration Jenny Busdon Years volunteering: 20-plus Hometown: Staffordshire, England Skiing start: Nordic skiing has always been my passion for many years. My husband, Nello, and I graduated from the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors and developed a successful after-school ski program for kids in Whistler. My family competed in European Loppet races and many local races. When we moved from Canada to the USA in 1984, it was the dry snow of Sun Valley that was the big draw. To use blue wax instead of klister was a delight! History with the BMT: I have volunteered to head the BMT registration room for the past 20-plus years. I love the energy that this race brings to the community; being in the registration room you witness this first hand. It is great to see the familiar faces that come from all over the USA and Canada each year to enjoy what this race offers. What keeps you involved with the BMT? I love to give back to this community I adore and to the sport of Nordic skiing that brings me so much joy. I entered the Boulder Mountain Tour for the first time in 1985 and continued to do it until four years ago. Having participated in so many races (I won a gold medal in the Masters Worlds, racing for the USA in Canmore, Canada in 1995) the BMT is very special. I was inducted into the Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame in 2012.
Race Secretary Mike Wolter Years volunteering: 15-plus Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota Skiing start: I was born into a family who loved skiing, and began skiing at the age of two. I ended up competing at the collegiate level and beyond, traveling and racing in many national and international events. I moved to Ketchum after a conversation with Rick Kapala convinced me to continue ski racing. Today, my two amazing kids are both continuing their ski racing in college as SVSEF alumni, and enjoying the life of skiing like I did…How lucky am I to be part of a multi-generational family of skiers? History with the BMT: I attended and raced for the Montana State University Ski Team in the mid-80s where I became good friends with Jon Engen. We decided to race the Boulder Mountain Tour together in 1989. Unfortunately, the weather turned just before the race and the roads were closed. We had to cancel our trip, but race organizers were so kind and still sent us our gift bags! What keeps you involved with the BMT? I competed most of my life and am so happy I can now return the favor! I have many great relationships from a lifetime of skiing, now I get to reconnect with many old friends who come to participate in the BMT every year. The BMT stands out from other marathon ski races thanks to the views down the course, the participants, and the people who put the event together (now and in the past!). The best thing I’ve learned about volunteering for the BMT are all the people involved…who they are, what they do, and why they appreciate this sport as much as I do.
Buses and Biffies Andy Munter Years volunteering: 40-plus Hometown: Duluth, Minnesota Skiing start: I did some cross-country skiing in college while working part time at a local ski shop, but it wasn’t until I got to Ketchum that it became much more of a lifestyle. I skied the Boulder most years and lots of other fun races around town. And then, lots of days with now 38-year-old baby Henry on my back, young Henry in a sled, and little kid Henry skiing on his own. History with the BMT: My first experience volunteering for the BMT was in the late 70s when there was a call for help building a temporary bridge across the Big Wood where the Murphy Bridge now stands for race day. I showed up and was totally entertained watching three icons in early Nordic skiing; Bob Rosso, Joe Czismazia, and Phil Puchner use ropes, winches and an old Jeep to put a bunch of logs in place for the race the following week. I was amazed at their dedication to making the race work. What keeps you involved with the BMT? The BMT’s history sets it apart from other races. It is called the Boulder Mountain Tour for a reason. Although the majority of skiers have always been skiing as fast as possible, many locals would enter the “tour” with lunch and maybe a bottle of wine in their backpack, especially for all those years that the trail was groomed only for the race. Some of that energy still exists with people that ski it every year as a community event, with less importance placed on their finish time. Working on the BMT is not just about the race, I also see the passion of the lifestyle and connection to snow and winter that the skiers embody. When I’m shuttling out-of-town skiers, I consistently hear them comment on how beautiful the Boulder Mountains are, how great the tracks are, and how friendly the community is. All reminders of the gratitude I feel for what an incredible community we live in, including our generous race sponsors and agency partners who make the BMT possible every year.
Chief of Start Rick Kapala Years volunteering: 30 Hometown: Detroit Michigan. Has lived in Wood River Valley since 1987 Skiing start: 1974 History with the BMT: I have skied a few BMT’s but mostly have helped with the start crew. I learned the “start trade” from Bill and Annie Vanderbilt way back when. In my role and that of the Sun Valley Ski Foundation Nordic Team is that the SVSEF Nordic staff and parents as well as other supportive volunteers have committed to owning the organization of the BMT start. That is where all the fun begins! What keeps you involved with the BMT? A couple things. The enthusiasm of the skiers is really amazing. Folks just love being a part of the event. And, the fellow volunteers are really motivated to deliver a great experience to all the participants and that powers all of us to stay involved and give back to the community.
Food + Start Erin Zell and Don Shepler Years volunteering: 14 Hometown: All over the place, mostly Virginia Skiing start: We started skiing by breaking trails up and down the mountains in Oregon on winter routes, we never spent much time on groomed trails until we moved to the Wood River Valley. Our first groomed experience was in the free learn-to-ski clinics at Galena during Demo Days with Bob Rosso. We immediately got skate and classic skis and never looked back! History with the BMT: We inherited our role with the BMT when we started operating Galena Lodge. Galena plays a few roles in the BMT. First off, we are the start location, everyone is dropped off at the Lodge to await the start of the race. We also provide the soup and cookies at the end of the race. Though this is not strictly a volunteer role, we provide some staff volunteers to help us with this role. We serve close to 60 gallons of soup and about 1,500 cookies and brownies that day. It takes the better part of an entire workday for one person to bake and package all the cookies and brownies (even after they are mixed). We trade off racing the event or managing the food tent at the finish line each year and they’re down at the finish setting up and heating soup before the racers even start! What have you learned volunteering at the BMT? We pretty much just love being involved with the BMT. From the racers that come up to check out the course early to the volunteers that show up at 6 a.m. the day of the race to the support staff that helps us set up and take down the food tent, it is all an incredible community day! Volunteering allows you to be involved in an event in a different way. It is rewarding, engaging and fun without the pressure of having to race. It is so important to support community events, they are the backbone of our community.
Bag Transfer Coordinator Pete Stephenson Years volunteering: 30+ Hometown: Newport Beach, California Skiing start: I was invited to join a group of skiers from the Elephant’s Perch on a tour out to Boulder City in 1974. It was my first time on skis. We were on wooden skis and klister for the 14-mile round-trip journey. Looking back, it was incredible spring corn skiing. I kept trying to telemark and would just crash and burn. A friend skied up after one of my crashes and asked, “You wonder why we do this? That’s why! You crash and burn, and get back up!” That’s all I’ve done here since. History with the BMT: In the early days of the BMT, everyone who raced helped put the race on. Many hands make light work. In the 1980s, I became a paid fireman and stopped racing, but stayed on with the race committee as bag transfer coordinator. What keeps you involved with the BMT? For me, volunteering is what you do for your community. It has always been an important part of my life. I love running into people in the grocery store who say, “See you at the BMT” and I get to wave and yell back, “Yep, you will!” My favorite part of race day is working with volunteers to meet racers just after the finish line with their bag of dry clothes. The look on those skiers’ faces and their appreciation is the most incredible moment. I’ve stayed involved with the race for moments like those and because of the other passionate, dedicated people I get to work with. It is just a whole lot of fun, and the only way to spend the first weekend in February!
First Aid Stations Tom Bowman Years volunteering: 25-plus Hometown: Salinas, California Skiing start: When I was in college, I rowed for San Diego State University and eventually made the U.S. National lightweight rowing team, so I had a solid aerobic background when we moved here. Cross-country skiing shares many of the same traits as rowing; your fitness and technique are equally important. History with the BMT: I volunteered for many years on the start set up crew and finish line. Last year, I learned the complexities of setting up the four aid stations along the course. I was recruited to the Board of Directors a few years ago when the BMT was transitioning from being run for many years by Kevin Swigert. What keeps you involved with the BMT? I continue volunteering to be able to feel that in whatever small way, I am contributing and making a difference to one of the very important pieces of our community. One of the things that makes our community so strong is the individual commitment to volunteer and non-profit organizations. The most rewarding part of volunteering is being a part of the community institution, which is the BMT.
Back Up Timing Bobby Noyes Years volunteering: 18 Hometown: Long Island, New York Skiing start: I started skiing as a way to enjoy the snow in New York. It would snow for a few hours, and I would bust out my first pair of wooden skis with three-pin bindings as a teenager and get out in my backyard. History with the BMT: I used to compete in the 1980s. The trail was only groomed a few weeks before the race happened, so it was your only chance to get out and ski the course. Eventually, the BCRD started grooming all the time and you didn’t have to race to ski the trail. I decided that if I wasn’t going to race anymore I might as well help out, and started helping with back up timing. What keeps you involved with the BMT? It isn’t about what you’re doing but the people you’re doing it with. My daughter was a competitive XC racer with the SVSEF team, and I started volunteering to help with timing at her races. I ended up timing for the BMT because of my experience helping at those races. I’ve competed in other long-distance ski races and the BMT truly stands apart. It is a really great event and its fun working with other people who are supporting it.
Photographer Nils Ribi Years volunteering: 20-plus Hometown: Bitterroot Valley, Montana Skiing start: My father was a member of the Swiss national biathlon team, each winter he brought me and my brother to Sun Valley to ski when we were young. While we skied on Baldy, he would go off and cross-country ski with Leif Odmark. There is nothing more calming for the soul than enjoying the beauty of nature while exercising on snow. History with the BMT: I began working at the BMT start area, after a few years, we created a crew to focus on setting up all the start area sponsor banners to make sure they looked excellent for the sponsors and participants. For the past thirteen years I’ve also volunteered my photography for BMT publicity. What keeps you involved with the BMT? The most rewarding part of volunteering at the BMT for me is seeing so many happy faces of friends and people you don’t know having a great time all on one day. We live in a great community filled with wonderful, giving volunteers and it is special to work with and be around them.
Finish Area Construction John Reuter Years volunteering: 8-plus Hometown: Bethel, Maine Skiing start: I began racing in the Bill Koch Youth Ski League as soon as I could shuffle on snow and be incentivized by a lollipop at the finish. I skied through middle school, high school, and most of my time at Bates College. History with the BMT: I had skied the BMT a few times and Bob Rosso approached me about serving on the board. Aside from my roles on the board (they made me Board President when I didn’t show up for a meeting one day) I’ve worked at the start line several times. The last two years I organized the race finish. It takes several days, and I’ve been blessed to have a crew of wonderful volunteers to set up and take-down everything you see at the SNRA finish. I’m grateful to Nappy and his crew for having done this work for the last century, it’s no small task! What keeps you involved with the BMT? Despite having been involved in this race for about 10 years – as a skier, volunteer, board member – it took me until 2018 to fully get it. Specifically, I remember two moments. The first, I was in Atkinsons’ Market a day or two before the race, and everywhere you looked, people were obviously here to race. You know the look – they’re fit, wearing Nordic clothes, and look confused in the aisles of an unfamiliar grocery store. The impact was obvious, our little town was filling up during an off-peak week in February! The second moment was watching local David Lloyd trying to keep up with his smiling 5-or-6 year-old son as he crossed the finish line. The impact of a local event like this is captured in moments, and it’s moments like these that make the Wood River Valley a great place to live. Volunteers make the community go round. Period.
Chief of Course Bob Rosso Years volunteering: 47 Hometown: Newport Beach, California Skiing start: We used to roll up to these old ski areas in the mountains of California and then we would make the run up to Mammoth. One year I wanted to get away from the scene, I heard about Sun Valley from some friends, packed all my belongings and the rest is history. In the 70s, the cross-country skiing was out on the golf course. It was a great crew of people. What keeps you involved with the BMT: It’s the basic stuff. All my life I have been active in sports; surfing, biking, running, skiing, swimming…The people I have met through these sports are really important to me, and the people that help are the lifeblood of our community. It really makes a difference when you step in to help, and someone steps up with you. When that happens, nothing can stop you and the energy it takes to make these events go year after year.
Writer Emily Williams grew up chasing her family as they were kayaking rivers, climbing peaks, and skiing the powder of the Wood River Valley. Her passion for the outdoors grew as she did, deepening with every new adventure. She started cross-country skiing on the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Devo Team in third grade and never looked back. She is now the Head Coach of South Devo and Striders cross-country ski programs with SVSEF.