Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 Boulder Ski Tour is full steam ahead

Despite low snowpack, minor changes to course

Express Staff Writer

     Despite below-average snowpack in the Wood River Valley, the 39th annual Swix Boulder Mountain Tour scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 1 north of Ketchum is still on track and full steam ahead for hundreds of cross-country skiers.

     Organizers have made only a slight change to the course to ensure adequate safety and enjoyment for all, Sun Valley Nordic Festival spokesman Susie Quesnel said Saturday morning in a press release.

     The 2014 Boulder Mountain Tour Organizing Committee announced Friday that the 32-kilometer course will begin as usual with 25 lanes in Senate Meadows at the Galena Lodge Ski Trails 23 miles north of Ketchum, Quesnel said.

     Skiers will do a loop around the Senate Meadows area then cross State Highway 75 at the bottom of the meadow at the chain-up area just to the south of Galena Lodge.

     Racers will proceed to the upper Harriman Trail where they will remain until they end at the Sawtooth National Recreation Headquarters eight miles north of Ketchum.

     The gently rolling course and has an elevation drop of 1,100 feet over its 20-mile length.

     The Boulder Mountain Tour is an open skate race, however, there is a single track at the side of the course for those who prefer classic technique. The start area has tracks set for the first 100 meters. There is no skating in the tracked area.

     The 15k non-competitive Half-BoulderTour course will begin at Baker Creek on Feb. 1 and remain exactly the same as last year. After a very short start area heading north, the race will turn south and merge with the BMT course finishing near the SNRA headquarters.

     Free course inspection is allowed on Friday, Jan. 31 until 4 p.m., at which time the race course will be closed. Use of the trail before Friday and any time after the race will require a North Valley Trails trail fee.

     More details about the Swix Boulder Mountain Tour or other Sun Valley Nordic Festival events during the week of Jan. 24-Feb. 2 is available by visiting


Prize money offered for Nordic Festival

     Organizers of the 2014 Sun Valley Nordic Festival announced Jan. 5 that $8,050 in prize money is available for top skiers in two major events of the fifth annual, 10-day festival.

     Quesnel, writing in a press release, said, “The prize money package is made possible by a generous donation by the Sawtooth Club, a longtime supporter of the SWIX Boulder Mountain Ski Tour and Sun Valley Nordic Festival.

     “Money will be awarded to the top 10 male and female finishers of the SWIX Boulder Mountain Tour in the following increments—$1,000 for first place, $700 for second place, $500 for third place,” and down to $50 for 10th place. In addition, $400 will be awarded for Boulder Mountain Tour preems.

     The 39th annual Boulder Mountain Ski Tour scheduled for a 32-kilometer course in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area north of Ketchum will be Saturday, Feb. 1 at 10 a.m. from Senate Creek near Galena Lodge.

     Prize money will also be given to top skiers in the Downtown Jam/NordicTown USA Sprint Relays on Thursday, Jan. 30 at the Sun Valley Center field near the Ketchum Post Office. Prizes will be $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place.

     The Sun Valley Nordic Festival features a week full of local events like the USSA Intermountain Open freestyle and classic races Jan. 25-26 at Lake Creek north of Ketchum; the Ski the Rails citizen skiing event Jan. 25; the Galena and Ski Trails Winter Benefit Jan. 25; and the Sun Valley Ski Hall of Fame induction ceremony Jan. 29.

     Registrations are accepted through the final deadline of Jan. 30 for the Boulder Mountain Ski Tour. Adult entry fees are $110, while those 17-and-younger are charged $45. Sign-ups are accepted until the field has reached 800 paid entrants.

     Last Feb. 2, there were 669 finishers at the 32k Boulder Ski Tour distance led by Sylvan Ellefson, 26, of Vail, Co. in 1.09:08 and Lauren Fritz, 24, of Anchorage, Ak. in 1.18:57.

     Also offered is the Half Boulder 15k race for $65 per person or $33 for 17-and-under, through Jan. 30.

     A special incentive combo race is available for a parent and child under 10 for $70.

     Visit or check the entire Nordic Festival schedule at



JN Nordic races move north to Galena

     It’s a go, despite the lack of snow!

     The 2014 Sun Valley Nordic Festival gets off to its regularly scheduled start Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25-26 when the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation hosts Intermountain Division Junior National cross-country qualifying races.

     Instead of being staged near the SVSEF Nordic team’s training site at Lake Creek just north of Ketchum, this weekend’s races because of low snow conditions have moved north to Galena Lodge 23 miles north of Ketchum.

     Race events will be held in Senate Meadows near Galena Lodge. Freestyle individual sprints begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Interval start classic races on 10-kilometer and 5k courses are Sunday at 9 a.m.

     Rick Kapala, SVSEF Nordic program director, said he expects well over 100 young racers from ski programs at McCall, Boise, Driggs, Bozeman (Mt.), West Yellowstone and Jackson Hole (Wyo.), Park City, Soldier Hollow and Salt Lake City, Utah, plus Mt. Bachelor (Ore.) and Sugar Bowl (Ca.).

     “We expect a really good field,” Kapala said.

     Because of parking shortages at Galena Lodge, spectators and volunteers are asked to park at Baker Creek and take shuttle buses to Galena Lodge. Buses begin moving on their regular schedules at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

     The Sun Valley races comprise the second event in the three-event qualifying process for March’s U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Cross-Country Junior National Ski Championships set for Stowe, Vt. March 3-8. The first event was held Dec. 20-21 at Trail Creek Nordic Center near Jackson Hole.

     Final JN qualifier is Feb. 5-8 at Soldier Hollow.

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