Elk Mountains Grand Traverse 40 mile backcountry ski race is this weekend

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 23, 2010 6:22 am

We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again. Cross-country skiers are probably the fittest athletes on the face of the planet. Yep, we said it. We think they’re in better shape than soccer players, triathletes and ultra marathoners. To us, they’re from Mars.

To further prove that point to us, 260 cross-country ski racers signed up for this weekend’s Elk Mountains Grand Traverse, a 40-mile overnight backcountry ski race. It goes from Crested Butte to Aspen, and it’s the 13th year of torture, er, racing.

The route is based on the tradition of mail routes which connected Colorado mining towns back in the 1880′s. The race begins at midnight on Friday (so that racers reach the high point of Star pass at 12,303 feet before the warmth of the day increases the likelihood of avalanches). Racers have to carry with them enough food and supplies to last 24 hours. Now, we consider ourselves pretty bad ass at The Ski Channel…but come on! These guys rock!!!

If you’re not from Mars, but want to be a part of this cool event in some way, head to the “Ski Town Breakdown” at the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. It’s basically a party celebrating the race. The Pete Kilpatrick Band and the Yonder Mountain String Band (our gal Selma told you a bit more about that yesterday) will be performing. Tickets are $35 and the party starts Saturday at 3PM. You can also get a VIP ticket for $99 which includes an exclusive meet-and-greet with the bands before the shows, as well as private food and drink service on the deck of Butte 66.