Kremmling " Big Shooter Bonk ski marathon is Saturday | SkyHiNews.com

Kremmling " Big Shooter Bonk ski marathon is Saturday

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

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If you’re a cross-country skier looking for a challenging adventure, be sure to race in the 2008 Big Shooter Bonk ski marathon near Kremmling on Saturday.

One of the longest ski marathons in the Rockies, the Big Shooter Bonk features 60- and 30-kilometer races. Starting at 9 a.m., the races begin at the Latigo Ranch located 15 miles northwest of Kremmling.

“The Big Shooter Bonk is a real ski adventure,” said Shawn Scholl, who is the race’s organizer with his wife Stephenie. “We’ve had a fantastic snow year, and this is a great way for people to end their ski season with a bang.”

The start and finish lines for both the 60-and 30-kilometer races are at Latigo Ranch, which is a destination Nordic ski resort. It is an “out-and-back” course for both races.

Beginning on the ranch’s trail system, the marathon course will go past Red Dirt Reservoir and northward up the valley to Buffalo Park. It will travel along Forest Service Road 100 to the turnaround point, which is located near U.S. Highway 40 atop Rabbit Ears Pass. The turnaround point for the 30-kilometer race is the midway point on the marathon course.

The starting elevation is 8,700 feet with the highest point on the course at 9,700 feet.

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Five feeding stations will be located along the 60K course while three will be found on the 30K course.

“The 60K race is for the more hardcore racer while the 30K is for those skiers who are looking for a challenge but may not have the ski mileage under their belts for a longer race,” Shawn said.

“The race course takes skiers though some of the most beautiful country in Colorado,” Stephenie said. “The views of the Gore Range are just spectacular.”

Both the U.S. Forest Service and Latigo Ranch are cooperating in grooming the race course. About a third of the course is on Latigo’s trail system.

The Big Shooter Bonk is the brainchild of the Scholls. When it began in 1995, the first race was an 80-kilometer ultramarathon, the longest race then in Colorado. Due to the logistics of putting on such a long race, the organizers reduced its length to its current 60 kilometers.

“We were tired of loop races, and we wanted the Bonk to be a more Loppet-style race,” Shawn said. “We’ve shortened the course over the years, but this is still a unique event. One time a year, the course is groomed for this race so people can go out, ski a great course and see some really nice terrain.”

After the race, handmade prizes will be awarded and a post-race feast is planned.

For more information or to register for the Big Shooter Bonk, go to bigshootercoffeeshop.com or call the Scholls at 724-3735.

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