Steamboat Springs athletes reach new heights at Grand Traverse | SteamboatToday.com
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Steamboat Springs athletes reach new heights at Grand Traverse

Morgan Landers makes her way to the top of Star Pass during this year's Grand Traverse race from Crested Butte to Aspen. The women pushed their limits and finished the race, but not fast enough to get an official time.
Courtesy Photo

— After doing the Grand Traverse four-straight times, Donnie Haubert is quick to point out it isn’t your typical race.

“This is such an incredible race,” he said Monday after finishing second in the coed division along with partner Amy Lawton, both of Steamboat Springs. “I’ve done a lot of ultra endurance races, but this one is special. It starts at midnight, and it’s a challenge until about 5:30 a.m. You are dealing with a lot of other things besides just putting one foot in front of the other.”

But it would seem that the “other things” didn’t really bother Haubert and Lawton as they made their way along the 40-mile route between Crested Butte and Aspen and finished the trek in 8 hours, 58:44.3.

Nick Hendrickson, a former elite level Nordic combined skier who used to train in Steamboat, and 2015 NCAA national cross-country skiing champion Veronika Mayerhofer claimed the fastest time in the coed division at 8:18:59.7.

The Steamboat team posted the 12th fastest time out of the more the more than 200 who started.

“This was a very good finish for us,” Haubert said. “We were chasing the team in front of us but had some issues with our skins and stuff like that. We lost contact with them and couldn’t catch them in the end.”

Lawton said the team didn’t have any expectations before the race, and she was thrilled with the experience.

“We really didn’t talk about time expectations,” Lawton said. “Anytime things come together for you it’s a pleasant surprise. We trained really hard, we put in lots of miles and we feel like we got out of the race what we put into it.”

Aspen locals John Gaston and Max Taam won the men’s race with a record setting time of 6:63:38 seconds, and Nikki Larochelle and Eva Hagen of Breckenridge topped the women’s division with a time of 8:43.09.

Other top Steamboat finishers were Graham Muir and Kallie Nelson, who placed 34th in the coed division with a time of 15:01:35.0; Claire Palmer-Lutrill and Liz Doby, who placed 13th in the women’s division with a time of 13:21:01.3; and Mandy Marvin and Bec Bale, who placed 15th at 14:07:03.8.

Steamboat also had two men’s team finishes with Mike Farny and Andrew Farny placing 23rd with a time of 9:53:16 and Ben Glassmeyer and Jimmy Howe finishing 39th in 10:55:52.

The race, which takes competitors through the Elk Mountain Range, is steeped in history. The route was once the mail route that connected the mining towns of Crested Butte and Aspen.

In 1998, Crested Butte resident Jan Runge and a band of backcountry skiers founded the race, which is now a huge draw for ultra-endurance athletes from across the state and the country.

The race begins at midnight, so that racers can reach the top of 12,303-foot Star Pass before the temperatures start to warm and skis start to stick. Teams are required to carry essential items like food, supplies, shelter, stoves, fuel, first aid kits, avalanche beacons and rescue gear.

The route is remote, and avalanches are always a threat.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966


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