Thoughts on the Traverse
by Mike Kloser

After my 1st year racing in the Elk Mt., I realized that this race is "for real". It's not just any old ski race, it's a true back county epic, and epic might be the operative word. In the six years I have raced the Grand Traverse, I've seen pretty much every condition imaginable for the Colorado back country.

There have been years where we've had such warm temperatures that the creeks had melted out and we had knee deep crossings with sub zero temperatures at the higher elevations. That year, many elite level racers had to abandon with severe frostbite! There have been years where we had mild conditions with great soft snow, excellent for back country skiing. Then there's conditions like last year's (2007), we had low snow pack in the lower elevations, good snow up high and absolutely miserable subzero white out conditions along the high ridges. The top teams found progress and navigation near impossible, losing their way above tree line and donning all the emergency gear they had in their packs. Many of the teams had to hunker down (in some cases abandon the race) and wait out the worst of the night time weather conditions until dawn struck.

The Elk Mountain Grand Traverse is for real, don't underestimate Old Man Winter in the Colorado Rocky Mountain high country!
 
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