26 miles with 12,000' vertical gain
The week prior to the Power of Four I watched the weather forecast gradually worsen as the biggest, wettest storm of the year arrived just in time for the race.... Miles Venzara, Nick Gould and myself set off to Snowmass at 4:30am. We were soon in a full on downpour. It started to sink in that we were in for a brutal race. Miles commented that it was going to be a "Tough Guy" competition and probably Nick's last SkiMo race. The rain turned to heavy, wet snow as we arrived at Snowmass. Start time was pushed back to 6:30am to allow for control work in Highlands Bowl.
6:30am sharp and we were off. The bottom of Highlands Bowl was the steepest skin of the day. We went to the front and began breaking trail through 3" of fresh that soon turned into 10". At the start of the bootpack Taam/Gaston took the lead as Marshall and I stopped to get dry gloves out of my pack. I knew things were about to get challenging. The wind was blowing 70+ mph. It was hard to stay on your feet and visibility was less then 5 feet. We dropped into the bowl behind Taam/Gaston (the hometown boys). It was a struggle to stay together as we were in white-out conditions. I stopped and waited/worried. I began yelling for Marshall and thinking the bowl had slid. We made contact and he said his binding had broken. It really was a Tough-Guy Competition as Marshall proceeded to finish the race and put us into 2nd place without a heel-piece.
Team-mate Marshall Thomson and myself at the finish line.
(photo credits: Jen Gersbach-Venzara)
Finish Line Chit-Chat
Scarpa/SkiTrab dominates the podium. Thanks for helping us get there!
1st Place-Max Taam/Pete Gaston- 5:20
2nd Place-Marshall Thomson/Scott Simmons-5:33
3rd Place Brian Smith/Brian Wickenhauser-5:38
UltraRunners Drew Gunn and Brendan Trimboli
I think I might puke ~ Nick Gould ~ Finish Line Action
Jen Gersbach-Venzara congratulates husband (and dad-to-be), Miles Venzara.
Miles Venzara/Nick Gould