Young gun edges out win at Snowmass rando race
Well, just when the locals started to reel in and beat Dave Scheefer on uphill and downhill races, be it on bikes or skis, his son Travis Scheefer comes along and starts beating them.
Such was the case at the Snowmass Winter Wild COSMIC randonnee race at Snowmass Saturday, February 21, as Travis edged out a win over Brian Smith on the final descent.
Smith charged off the start line, as he always does, leading the way up the first major climb of the uphill/downhill race. Travis tried to stay with him but started to feel the hurt and decided to step back.
“I tried to get on Brian’s tails but I started to feel like I was going to blow up, so I eased off,” says Travis.
With Smith out in front, a contingent of Gunnison Valley athletes lined up in his wake, including Jon Brown, Bryan Wickenhauser and Travis as well as Aspen skier Max Taam.
The sub pack behind Smith reeled him in closer on the first big descent of the race with Travis leading the charge, and when they transitioned into the next climb, it looked to be anybody’s race.
The course then took racers through a backcountry gate for some off-piste sections, taking racers from Snowmass to Buttermilk.
Smith maintained the lead but Travis and Wickenhauser were right behind him as they weaved through the hills between Snowmass and Buttermilk.
“There was a lot of really tight tree skiing and all three of us were neck-and-neck,” says Travis.
All three skiers left for one last short climb with Smith still in front, Wickenhauser in second and Travis in third. Aware of what lay ahead on the course, Travis made his move toward the top of the last climb to jump back into second place and directly on the heels of Smith.
Once on Buttermilk, racers took off their skins one last time and pointed it down a groomed run similar in pitch and length to International on Crested Butte Mountain.
The three worked the terrain as fast as they could, with Travis biding his time until halfway down when he slipped in front of Smith to edge out a win by one ski length.
“It basically came down to a downhill race on our little rando skis,” says Travis.
Wickenhauser crossed 20 seconds later in third place and Brown finished in fifth.
“It was cool because it was a tight race,” says Travis. “Three-quarters of the way through all five of us were still in contention. We were pushing each other for sure.”
Other notable local results include Jason Stubbe in ninth, Eric Sullivan in 10th, Jake Jones 14th and Mark Smiley in 17th place.
Janelle Smiley represented Gunnison Valley women in her race coming in third place.
The COSMIC series continues this weekend with the Race the Divide, a ski mountaineering race at Monarch Mountain on Saturday, February 28.