Co-race director Kelly Allison said it best about Saturday’s 42nd annual Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Ski Tour.
She said, “There were really challenging conditions, not pristine at all out on the course. But, hey, that’s ski racing. And nonetheless we had an incredible turnout.”
Considering the snowy weather during Saturday’s race, the final tally of 543 finishers in the 34-kilometer (21.1-mile) Full Boulder plus another 176 finishers in the 15k (9.3-mile) Half Boulder was a tribute to the determination of all—the racers, volunteers and supporters all included.
By comparison to this year’s 719 finishers, last year’s Boulder staged in beautiful winter conditions had a total field of 757 skiers—586 in the Full Boulder and 171 in the Half.
The new snow took its toll, resulting in the slowest Boulder Ski Tour times in 32 years.
Saturday’s 10 a.m. start for the Elite Men at Senate Creek near Galena Lodge 23 miles north of Ketchum featured overcast skies, but it wasn’t snowing yet. “They seemed like pretty good conditions,” said Allison, there at the start.
Things changed quickly as the snow started, falling heavily at one inch per hour.
Even the fastest skiers were slowed considerably, their times at Cathedral Pines (still about 11k out) comparable to the normal Boulder Tour top finishing times of about one hour and 16 or 17 minutes at the SNRA headquarters.
“Despite our trail crew endlessly trying to make the course better, finishing times averaged about 25 minutes slower than last year,” Allison said. “As the skiers kept going, the heavier and heavier it got.”
At the finish line, there was four inches of powder as the top skiers slogged down the Harriman Trail. The grooming machine hadn’t made it there yet. So race announcer Travis Jones encouraged several hundred spectators and volunteers at the finish to go out and pat down the finish line approach.
Former Dartmouth College All-American cross-country skier Silas Talbot, 24, of Bozeman, Mt. was first across the line in 1.33:42, one second ahead of Brian Gregg, 32, of Minneapolis, Minn. (1.33:43) in a two-man sprint to the line.
Talbot is a 2015 Dartmouth engineering graduate originally from Anchorage, Ak. and Gregg, from Winthrop, Wash. was a University of Alaska All-American before becoming a 2014 U.S. Olympian. Talbot’s top time was 16:29 slower than Nick Hendrickson’s 2016 win.
Allison said, “The racers were so whipped. The top guys were just tapped, so different from last year. Same with the Elite Women, who started their race in the snow.
“But you know what meant the most to me? The last woman coming to the finish (Gloria Ploss, 71, of Bend, Ore. in 4.51:52). We were just rolling up the finish when she came in, followed by Sean Petersen, who for years has cleared the course and skied in with the final Boulder Tour finisher.
“The look on her face was incredible. She felt so proud of herself. It brought a tear to my eye and reminded me what this race is all about.
“It was awesome. We did a lot of improvising with the wet conditions, but I’m just happy we pulled it off.”
Repeating as Boulder women’s winner in 1.40:19, 16:24 slower than last year, was Caitlin Gregg, 36, a 2010 Olympian from Minnesota. Just one year ago, after winning the Boulder, Gregg captured the World Championship bronze medal in 10k freestyle in Sweden.
Nate Struebel of Driggs, Idaho and the Teton Valley Ski Foundation won the Half Boulder in 47:39, and Dartmouth College senior Natalie Flowers of Belgrade, Mt. was the top Half Boulder woman, 52:04.
Ketchum’s Charley French, 90, won his age class and placed 115th overall in the Half Boulder, the 43rd man, in 1.29:55.
Local women on the Full Boulder age-class podium were June Lane, Carol Monteverde, Linda McClatchy, Kim Nalen, Elizabeth Youngman, Deb Cornwell, Muffy Ritz, Liv Jensen, Laura Theis, Mary Rose, Alexa Turzian, Deedra Irwin and Annie Pokorny.
Full Boulder male podium placers from the valley were Del Pletcher, Patrick Simpson, Jon Engen, Bill Nurge, John Reuter, Rogan Brown, Cole Morgan, Sebastian Radl-Jones, Fisher Gardner and Mathias Radl-Jones.
Prize money for the 2017 Boulder Tour was $9,150 with $2,500 going to the male and female winners. Second place finishers earned $1,000 and third placers $500. There was $400 in preem money, plus $750 for male and female winners of five separate waves.
You have to go back to February 1985 to find slower Boulder Tour finishing times, again, because of heavy snow.
That year, the Wood River Valley had near-drought conditions for the month of January and most of December before 20 inches of snow dumped between Thursday and Friday, before the scheduled running of the Boulder Ski Tour.
Moisture content of that 24-hour storm was two-and-a-half inches, matching the normal total of all of February.
Local cross-country skiers comprised most of the Boulder Ski Tour field in those days, compared to all the out-of-town participants today. The first solution that organizers came up with was pushing the race start back one day to Sunday. It enabled groomer Brad Siemer helped by Nordic enthusiasts like John Plummer and Dave Wheelock to work 36 hours clearing the course.
Unfortunately, the most notable American Nordic skier in those days, Bill Koch, had been scheduled to race the Boulder Saturday but had to leave town due to other commitments.
Race day on Sunday dawned very cold (-6 Fahrenheit) but sunny at the Galena Lodge start. Defending men’s champion Dave Bingham won again in a field of 371 skiers. His time of 1.38:58 was nearly seven minutes slower than in 1984.
E.J. Holcomb captured her first of two consecutive Boulder Tour women’s titles that year of the big dump, but her 2.01:50 time was over 14 minutes behind Janet Kellam’s winning time of 1984.
2017 Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour results
February 4, 2017, the 42nd annual cross-country ski tour on a 34-kilometer (21.1-mile) course starting at Senate Creek near Galena Lodge Touring Center 23 miles north of Ketchum and ending at the Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters 8 miles north of Ketchum. Of 543 racers who finished the 34k course, 341 were male and 202 female. Finishing times of the locals who completed the course are listed with class placing in hours, minutes and seconds. Complete results at bouldermountaintour.com.
1—Caitlin Gregg, Minneapolis, 1.40:19 (15th overall). 2—Erika Flowers, Belgrade, Mt. 1.41:23 (16th overall). 3—Mary Rose, Ketchum (SVSEF) 1.42:46. 4—Deedra Irwin, Ketchum (SVSEF) 1.47:05. 5—Veronika Mayerhofer, Salt Lake City 1.47:07. 6—Annie Pokorny, Ketchum (SVSEF) 1.48:19. 7—Alexa Turzian, Sun Valley (SVSEF) 1.51:10. 8—Elizabeth Youngman, Sun Valley 1.51:30. 9—Kristen Monahan, Ketchum 1.51:31. 10—Jennifer Santoro, Cottonwood Heights, Utah 1.52:54.
1—June Lane 2.25:18. 2—Carol Monteverde 2.59:33.
2—Linda McClatchy 2.28:23. 9—Jan Wygle 4.17:07.
1—Kim Nalen 2.08:04. 9—Gloria Kimball 2.24:56. 10—Carol Mutzel 2.31:42. 11—Charlotte Alexander 2.34:35. 17—Jeanne Lynch 3.49:19. 18—Susan Giannettino 4.17:03.
1—Elizabeth Youngman 1.51:30. 2—Deb Cornwell 2.04:11. 3—Muffy Ritz 2.04:45. 4—Kim Kawaguchi 2.06:48. 5—Susan Thoreson 2.09:36. 6—Sue Hamilton 2.12:59. 12—Kim Steel 2.28:30. 13—Kelly Martin 2.28:38. 14—Nancy McMath 2.34:41. 16—Kris Walker 2.38:35.
4—Heidi Watanabe 2.04:24. 8—Tricia Swartling 2.09:38.
2—Liv Jensen 1.59:53. 7—Kirsten Ritzau 2.13:25. 9—Tizz Miller 2.14:54. 14—Michelle Tullis 2.25:04. 24—Kathryn Guylay 2.52:19.
4—Natalia Nurge 2.03:32. 8—Peggy Trollan 2.08:49. 12—Caroline Hobbs 2.23:00.
8—Elizabeth Herrick 2.12:51. 11—Carmen Finegan 2.31:37. 16—Jamie Zussman 2.47:24. 18—Jessica Schlueter 2.58:50.
2—Laura Theis 2.04:28. 8—Chelsea Zussman 2.49:57.
2—Mary Rose 1.42:46 (3th female, 19th overall). 3—Alexa Turzian 1.51:10. 4—Kristen Monahan 1.51:31. 16—Katie Quaglia 2.26:08.
1—Deedra Irwin 1.47:05 (4th female, 34th overall). 3—Annie Pokorny 1.48:19 (6th female). 13—Heidi Weiss 3.02:08.
1—Silas Talbot, Bozeman, Mt. 1.33:42. 2—Brian Gregg, Minneapolis, 1.33:43. 3—Sawyer Kesselheim, Bozeman 1.33:51. 4—Rogan Brown, Ketchum (SVSEF) 1.33:58. 5—Cole Morgan, Ketchum (SVSEF) 1.35:34. 6—Wyatt Fereday, Carson City, Nev. 1.36:12. 7—Nick Hendrickson, Salt Lake City 1.38:39. 8—Orion Berryman, Missoula, Mt. 1.38:42. 9—John Springer, Wilson, Wyo. 1.38:43. 10—Joshua Korn, Ogden, Utah 1.38:44.
1—Del Pletcher 2.01:19. 6—Robert Disbrow 2.26:15. 8—Tullio Celano 2.30:41. 10—Donald Bruemmer 2.41:14. 16—Andy Parnes 4.07:36.
1—Leigh Mallory 2.03:26. 2—Patrick Simpson 2.04:52. 6—Ralph Johnson 2.14:25. 24—Roger Demment 3.15:54.
6—Jim McClatchy 2.00:14. 8—Brian Elkins 2.01:42. 9—Jon Holmquist 2.02:13. 25—Tod Schimelpfenig 2.22:57. 28—Chris Puchner 2.25:30. 33—Jeffrey Camps 2.37:21. 34—Keith Perry 2.37:33. 35—Mark Williams 2.44:55. 36—Will Raff 2.45:09. 40—Carleton Keck 2.54:25.
3—Jon Engen 1.47:56. 5—Kris Thoreson 1.51:02. 8—Jim Santa 1.55:01. 24—Roger Mankus 2.14:49.
1—Bill Nurge 1.43:27. 15—Jeff Ford 2.07:03. 28—Alan Hogg 2.33:53. 34—John Baker 2.52:45. 40—Jeff Lamoureux 3.10:59.
5—Whit Albright 1.52:11. 7—Tom DeHart 1.56:11. 12—Scott Robinson 2.01:12. 13—Kenny Wolford 2.01:16. 20—Joel Brazil 2.07:09. 21—John Kurtz 2.07:35. 23—Eric Huus 2.11:47. 28—James Mazzoni 2.14:45. 31—David Verst 2.18:49. 32—Bill McCann 2.20:50. 35—Chris Bigelow 2.30:25. 39—Erik Boe 2.44:41. 43—Jeff Guylay 2.52:19.
5—Sam Young 1.47:58. 10—Don Shepler 1.59:06. 17—Travis Vandenburgh 2.06:02. 18—Matthew Barnes 2.07:06. 30—Sam Herrick 2.26:03. 31—Lucas Thomas 2.58:49. 32—Chris Cook 3.17:10. 33—Kevin Stilling 3.53:27.
12—Brandon Lynch 2.07:38. 14—Jan Hegewald 2.28:10. 15—Mark Dodson 2.47:24. 16—Eric Demment 3.15:55.
3—John Reuter 1.45:08. 11—Gus Gibbs 2.00:31. 13—Maz Khalighi 2.03:28. 14—Elliot Jacobs 2.07:09. 20—John Forsyth 2.20:07.
1—Rogan Brown (4th overall) 1.33:58. 9—Ryan McKinley 2.13:52. 11—Kyle Oldemeyer 2.17:14. 16—Chris Mutzel 2.30:47. 17—Richard Van Buskirk 3.12:28.
1—Cole Morgan (5th overall) 1.35:34.
2—Sebastian Radl-Jones 2.03:27. 5—Kai Nelson 2.08:32.
1—Fisher Gardner 2.09:02. 3—Mathias Radl-Jones 2.23:20.
2017 Half Boulder results
February 4, 2017 on a 15-kilometer (9.3-mile) course from Baker Creek to the SNRA headquarters. A total 176 finishers—68 male and 108 female. Top finishers and local results by overall placings. Complete results at bouldermountaintour.com.
TOP 16 FINISHERS
1—Nate Streubel, Driggs, 47:39. 2—Dan Streubel, Driggs, 47:40. 3—Marshall Simmonds, Boise 50:19. 4—Natalie Flowers, Belgrade, Mt. (1st female) 52:04. 5—Amelia Nixon, Park City, Utah 52:18. 6—Brent Nixon, Park City 52:20. 7—Elise Hegerle, Boise 53:32. 8—Crosby Boe, Ketchum 53:39. 9—Quinn Closser, Hailey 54:24.
10—Polly Wakeman, Wilson, Wyo. 54:39. 11—Joney Otteson, Ketchum 54:40. 12—Kirsten Bailey, Boise 55:23. 13—Berkeley Canfield, Ketchum 55:34. 14—Tory Canfield, Ketchum 55:37. 15—Anika Vandenburgh, Hailey 55:38. 16—Gretel Huss, Hailey 56:27.
20—West Gardner 59:04. 21—Anne Marie Gardner 59:05. 22—Phil Huss 59:06. 24—Matthew Gervase 1.00:09. 26—Karla Cale 1.00:48. 29—Peter LaFleur 1.01:41. 31—Sara Gorham 1.02:11. 38—Martha Pendl 1.03:30. 46—Nyle Prabowo 1.06:09. 48—Alex Guylay 1.06:29. 49—Sam East 1.06:37. 54—Stephanie Helm 1.08:11. 56—Margaret Keating 1.08:34. 57—Erica Thorson 1.08:39. 58—Jim Keating 1.08:53. 59—Mel Dyck 1.09:37. 61—Quinn McRoberts 1.10:12. 62—Darla McRoberts 1.10:14. 64—Mary Hogg 1.10:55. 67—Donna Finegan 1.11:21. 69—Eric Thorson 1.12:37.
71—Jane Williams 1.13:11. 72—Judy Cahill 1.13:13. 73—Mylie McRoberts 1.13:14.1. 74—Greg McRoberts 1.13:14.6. 79—Chad Riggs 1.14:11. 81—Caitlin Hart 1.15:15. 82—Bruce Rankin 1.15:16. 87—Kimberly Ellwanger 1.17:46. 88—Paul Doughty 1.18:04. 94—William Heidel 1.19:38. 97—Ted Angle 1.21:27. 99—Mark Gilbert 1.22:40. 100—Joseph Strecker 1.22:41. 103—Liz Clark 1.24:09. 107—Peter Maier 1.25:33. 108—Corey Graham 1.25:35. 115—Charley French 1.29:55. 116—John Haase 1.29:56.
121—Luke Henry 1.31:50. 122—Michael Bulls 1.32:01. 129—Dane Groll 1.37:19. 130—Jack Bulls 1.37:20. 136—Lucy Carter 1.39:44. 139—Lucy Lamoureux 1.40:16. 141—Calista Carter 1.40:36. 144—Kimberly Havens 1.44:06. 150—Lisa Bruemmer 1.51:07. 152—Linda Parker 1.54:17. 156—Linda Brower Nicholson 1.57:59. 161—Sarah Leidecker 2.05:17. 163—Tracy Groll 2.06:17. 164—Don Cox 2.06:25.5. 165—Duane Reed 2.06:25.6. 166—Sally Reed 2.06:25.7. 167—Suzanne Strom-Reed 2.06:26. 168—Torin Vanderburgh 2.07:10.3. 169—Cortney Vandenburgh 2.07:10.5. 173—Pat Buckley 2.37:49. 174—William Pryor 2.47:57. 175—Jonas Benson 2.56:50. 176—Amy Jonas 2.56:51.