Audi Power of 4 is the biggest, highest altitude and probably most difficult skimo contest in North America. About 11,600 feet of vertical gain over 25 miles — including summiting the Aspen Highland Bowl at 12,382 ft (3,774 meters). Horrendous skiing downhills, mostly black diamond and double black, a section of off-resort bushwhacking where the meaning of helmets is defined, and running on foot to connect Buttermilk resort with Highlands. This year’s route even had some downhill boot packing to create an altered state of reality in the racer’s psyche.
We were there spectating (a challenge itself), overall winning team was John Gaston & Max Taam at 5:33 (according to race website), with second place team William Laird and Jon Brown about 20 minutes behind! Third placers, Rory Kelly & Pete Swenson finished a minute later. (Some question about results, we will check). That’s an amazing 1st-2nd spread that shows how far Gaston and Taam have come in their skills — and how powerful their motors are. The pair have just returned from Europe where they did well in the World Ski Mountaineering Championships. Racing in Europe apparently keeps you going fast. Ditto for the gals, with the team of Stevie Kremer and Lindsay Plant coming in looking rested but having done the work for a first place time of 6:05. All results here.
This past week’s bloggination:
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.