Stagecoach Classic glides into Hideaway Park
January 21, 2017
The fourth annual Stagecoach Classic was held on Saturday, Jan. 21. Competitors from across the state joined in the race that started in Tabernash and finished in Hideaway Park traveling in true Grand County style—Nordic skiing.
The event saw typical chilly Grand County weather in the morning with the sun eventually appearing just as the 30K finishers began crossing the finish line. There were three different race categories: 30K classic, 15K classic, and 15K touring. The race drew a supportive crowd of family, friends, children, and furry four-legged spectators.
As racers finished, exhaustion started to kick in for many as the course was challenging with several difficult climbs. After crossing the finish line racers were greeted with music, hot soup, cold beer, and support from friends and the many volunteers working the event.
Matt Pierce of Tabernash, an employee at Devil's Thumb Ranch decided he wanted to give the race a try this year. He competed in the 30K event.
Pierce said there was a lot more uphill than he expected, but the downhill finish was worth the effort it took to climb. He said the course was technical and challenging, but he enjoyed it. This was his first Stagecoach Classic though he used to race Nordic in high school. He said the race was exhausting, but worth the effort.
Jamie Mothersbaugh, of Boulder, also competed in the 30K race. Mothersbaugh is a coach for the Winter Park Competition Center's Nordic team. He said the race is unique because it is a point-to-point race.
"Instead of doing a loop several times it's nice to get out and ski through the trees," Mothersbaugh said.
"The section of course that is at Devil's Thumb really showcases everything that is unique to that ski area."
Mothersbaugh said there is a 400-foot ascent in the Stagecoach Classic. He said the lengthy climb is uncommon to cross-country racing, but he enjoyed the challenge.
This was Mothersbaugh's second year in the Stagecoach Classic. Most of the Comp Center's Nordic team was in Aspen for a qualifying race, but Mothersbaugh stuck it out in Grand County to compete.