Wax ‘em up for the 29th annual
For the past 28 years, Nordic skiers of all ages and abilities have lined up in downtown Crested Butte for the Alley Loop race. Friday and Saturday, February 6-7, it’s all happening again.
The event has morphed, as of late, into more than just the Alley Loop race but more of an Alley Loop weekend complete with the prestigious Nordic race, a pub-crawl on skis and, yes, even a Fat Bike race.
It all kicks off with the aforementioned Fat Bike race on Friday, February 6. Race registration opens at 2 p.m. at the Brick Oven Pizzeria with the racing slated to start at 3 p.m.
There will be two options available, a solo race and a team/relay race. The solo riders will pedal the course for 90 minutes plus one lap. The team/relay race starts off 10 minutes after the start of the solo race and teams will ride for 80 minutes plus one lap. In the team/relay race, teams of two, three or four can share one bike.
Limited supplies of Fat Bike rentals are available locally. To find out where you can reserve one or for more information and to register, visit cbchamber.com. Stay up to date by following Gunnison Crested Butte Fat Bikers on Facebook.
Once you are done with that, you can get back to the all-important pre-Alley Loop race carbo-loading in the Pub-Ski, a pub-crawl on skis Friday evening. To take advantage of Elk Ave. being shut down and full of snow, participants can ski between the participating Elk Ave. bars from 5 to 7 p.m. The route will be on Elk between Second and Third and will be pre-assigned.
Do this in a group of four or do it on your own. You will play a game, do something nutty, or answer a trivia question at six of the 10 bars to earn points. The person or group with the highest points will win a special prize! Wear a costume to receive additional pub points. Event space is limited to 200—ensure your entry by pre-registering online.
Pub Ski bib pick-up on Friday will be from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Queen of All Saints–Parish Hall, located at 401 Sopris Ave. and the crawl will then kick off at Montanya Distillers on Elk Ave. at 5 p.m.
The weekend comes to a head on the morning of Saturday, February 7 with the 29th Annual Alley Loop race.
The Alley Loop is part of the American Ski Marathon Series and an American Birkebeiner qualifying race so there will be some heavy hitters out there on the longer races.
But it is also Crested Butte’s largest costume party and biggest Nordic event of the year so there’s plenty of room for skiers of all ages and abilities. There will be classic and freestyle classes in distances from 1.5 kilometers up to the granddaddy 42 kilometer race. Plus, the best Alley Loop costumes receive awards from Montanya Distillers, the Last Steep, the Brick Oven and the Boomerang.
The Alley Loop’s unique course starts and finishes in the heart of downtown Crested Butte at Second and Elk. In between it meanders through snow-lined alleys, behind false-fronted stores and restaurants, over footbridges and alongside residences. The course then heads out to the expertly groomed Nordic trails on the pristine outskirts of Crested Butte.
Not sure what wax to run? The Nordic Center will be providing a professional wax service for 50 pairs of skis, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Options include Basic LF, Racer HF and Pro Service. Pro Service will be provided from a Boulder Nordic Sport wax tech. To reserve your spot, call the front desk at (970) 349-1707 or email email@example.com.
Ski drop-off is at the Crested Butte Nordic Center, located at Second and Whiterock, on Thursday, January 5.
Registration for the Alley Loop race is online at cbnordic.org. Prices go up on February 1. There will be last-minute registration available on Friday, January 6 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Queen of All Saints, Parish Hall.
Not interested in skiing? Volunteers are needed. It takes numerous folks to put on this funky classic Crested Butte race. Positions range from pre-race organization to day-of-race course marshals, aid stations, start, finish, awards, etc. Sign up to volunteer online at cbnordic.org.
See you in the alley.