Press Release
Elk Mountains Grand Traverse: Linking Crested Butte to Aspen for 10 Years
Legendary Backcountry Ski Race Challenges Athletic Skills & Smarts
March 30 - 31
GUNNISON-CRESTED BUTTE, COLORADO (August 24, 2006) – One of the most interesting and challenging backcountry ski races on the planet celebrates a decade of memorable moments and amazing athletic feats in 2007. The 10th annual Elk Mountains Grand Traverse is a backcountry ski race that follows mail routes that connected the Colorado mining towns of Crested Butte and Aspen in the 1880s.  Kicking off at the stroke of midnight on March 30, it is a one-of-a-kind test of endurance and smarts, requiring avalanche awareness, backcountry athleticism, winter camping knowledge and map reading skills all wrapped in one.

Race Overview
At midnight, approximately 250 racers (125 teams of two racers each) will depart from the traditional starting line at the Crested Butte Community School in town, catch the old Upper Loop Trail, skirt along Hunter Hill Road and drop into Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski area in Mt. Crested Butte. Cheering crowds, torches and a firework display will greet the racers as they pass through the base area just below the Silver Queen lift.

After the parade review, the teams climb up and over Crested Butte Mountain Resort terrain, exiting just below the East River lift, crossing the East River valley, turning down stream and rejoining the course on Brush Creek Road before climbing over two mountain passes. Several hours later, on March 31, racers arrive in Aspen bleary-eyed and exultant in their accomplishment.

“The Grand Traverse is not a Nordic or downhill race, but instead tests skiers overall skills and goes from town-to-town, covering 40 miles of rugged trails in the Elk Mountains. When Grand Traverse began 10 years ago, it was fashioned after similar events in Europe that connect various villages,” says Jan Runge, race organizer.

In 2006, all three race categories were won by local athletes, and finish line watchers were treated to the closest finish in the history of Elk Mountains Grand Travers. Jon Brown and Brian Smith of Gunnison won the men’s division and overall with a time of 7:52:30, only 5 seconds faster than the second place finishers Dave Penney and Eric Sullivan of Crested Butte.

Allen Hadley and Jari Kirkland of Crested Butte captured the co-ed division crown in 8:48:50. The dynamic mother-daughter duo of Carol Quinn and 2006 Olympian Rebecca Dussault of Gunnison finished at 10:30:55 to lead the women’s division. Dussault competed in several Nordic events in the 2006 Olympics, and Brown, Sullivan and Kirkland are part of Crested Butte’s adventure racing team that competes all over the world.

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Thanks to our sponsors of the
10th Annual Elk Mountains Grand Traverse!
Mountain Hardwear

Crested Butte Mountain Resort Clif Bar Gu Sports Backcountry Access Black Diamond
Smith Optics Conundrum Catering The Alpineer Backcountry Magazine Gu Energy Gel
Powerade New Belgium Rocky Mountain Sunscreen City of Aspen Nickwax
Elk Mountains Grand Traverse
P.O. Box 1349
Crested Butte, CO 81224-1349
[email protected]