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Gothic Mountain Tour is coming

$2,000 cash up for grabs, spectacular views and a rec class too

by Stan Cola

Been training for the Grand Traverse? Afraid of the Grand Traverse but want to test your mettle? Want to give skimo racing a try for the first time? The 13th Annual Gothic Mountain Tour on Saturday, February 23 has something for everyone and helps support Crested Butte Nordic as well as the Crested Butte Avalanche Center.

The Gothic Mountain Tour is just that, a tremendous tour of the valley bottoms and high alpine all the way around Gothic Mountain. While the course may seem daunting, there is a rec course option for people who feel that the 23-mile race course may be too much.

The race class starts at 6 a.m. behind the Crested Butte Community School and heads up to the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, over the top of Painter Boy lift and down to the Snodgrass trailhead with a little added climb on Snodgrass before heading down and through the town of Gothic.

Skiers will then head out the drainage before climbing up over the ridge between Gothic Mountain and Baldy, eventually dropping racers into the Slate River drainage by the town of Pittsburgh where the course heads down valley (though there is some up) and finishing at the Magic Meadows Yurt. All told, the course is 23.5 miles long with a little over 5,000 vertical feet of climbing.

The race category course is a great opportunity for Grand Traverse racers to flesh out their race pace, their transitions among other race details and, with $2,000 in cash up for grabs, maybe walk with a little spending money.

The recreational course is presented as an untimed tour option for skiers to experience this unparalleled backcountry route, coupled with vast winter vistas that exemplify the Gothic Mountain Tour.

The rec class starts at 8 a.m. at the Snodgrass Trailhead (5.7 miles into the competitive course), averting the initial climbing out of the town of Crested Butte to the resort high point. The rec course proceeds directly on the Gothic Road grade, subtracting another 600 feet of climbing off the competitive course but still gives participants the thrill of climbing into the high alpine between Gothic Mountain and Baldy. The rec course is 17 miles long with 2,300 feet of climbing.

This is a great way for anyone to test the waters of skimo racing while in a relaxed tour mode frame of mind.

This is a backcountry race, through known avalanche terrain. Beacon, shovel, probe and skins are required. The Snodgrass and Pittsburgh descents are not suitable for Nordic skis. Lightweight AT and Randonee gear are recommended and lightweight telemark gear is acceptable.

All information and registration can be found at cbnordic.org.

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