Grand Nordic: Saturday’s sunshine, sublime grooming made for a wild Stampede; congrats to winners, participants
Grand Nordic president
The last year has been crazy with COVID-19 fears, restrictions, and losses. People have been cooped up at home, unable to go to work even if their work stayed open. Schools learned to cope with kids and teachers forced to learn and work from home and sometimes in-person classes. Creative people worked in person in small groups, with masks and social distancing, and some have created new businesses from old.
Tourism and many local businesses suffered, and people feared transmission of the virus through gatherings. But people embraced Grand County’s outdoors, and the Nordic community blossomed. We had to make adjustments to the way we operate, but it was easy to spread out people in thousands of acres.
Nordic has been able to keep our family and friend groups and traditions alive through the worst of the pandemic, just by its very nature. After the highest spikes in local COVID cases had passed and medical personnel started getting a handle on precautions and treatments as vaccines became available, the Nordic world has been able to hold Treks and races.
The longest running tradition in Grand County Nordic circles is the Snow Mountain Ranch Stampede, started in 1984 by Jim and Nancy Young. Last year was to be the 37th annual Stampede, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 closing the Nordic Center and the entire YMCA prior to the race.
Because COVID-19 is still a concern, 2021 organizers enforced masks and social distancing around the Nordic Center and small group starts for both the freestyle and classic days. The free kids skiing in the 2k freestyle race Saturday were the largest group ever with over 40 ranging from age 3-15 participating.
Grand Nordic gives a large stuffed bear to the race winner on both freestyle and classic days. On Saturday, local Kadin Starr skated to out-sprint the huge field. On Sunday, Denverite Lucas Wik outskied a much smaller classic field to claim the second huge bear and then went on moments later to take second in the 10k men’s classic.
Several years ago, the Stampede became a two-day race weekend. It was the only opportunity in the country to ski back-to-back marathons — 50k or more each day. That is over 31 miles each day!
Skiers who finished both days received a special Ranch Boss buckle to celebrate their achievement. This year the top ranking female Ranch Boss skier was Hana Hejduk and the top-ranking male Ranch Boss skier was Ryan Sederquist.
Also completing both 50k races were Jitka O’Farrell for the women, and Eric Meyer, Chris Marcione, Ryan Berry, Tom Saele, Dave Bijur, Greg Molenaar, and Odd Bersvendsen in the men’s races.
And what a difference a day makes! Saturday was moderately warm and sunny with a beautiful packed trail, perfect for freestyle skiing. The grooming was impeccable.
The top male finishers in Saturday’s freestyle 50k were Dan Weinberger, Eric Meyer, and Ryan Sederquist, while top women finishers were Jill Sorrensen, Lillian Marcione and Hana Hejduk. Then the much-heralded snowstorm moved in Saturday evening laying down overnight many inches of heavy snow that still was blown in the wind!
The classic skiers had their work cut out for them on Sunday. The classic 50k’s top male skiers were Ryan Sederquist, Chris Marcione, and Eric Meyer. The top female finisher was Hana Hejduk, followed by Jitka O’Farrell. Hats off to everyone who finished that day — that was a huge feat in itself.
Skiers also completed in the 25k race each day to earn the Ranch Hand Buckle. The top female Ranch Hand was Maria Wik, as well as Helen Carlsen, Marie-Ange Anderson, Kiki Silver, Kristin Brousseau, and Sharon Crawford.
The top male Ranch Hand was Jamie Mothersbaugh, followed by Michael West, James Urbonas, Peter Girard, and Mark Moll. The top male finishers in Saturday’s freestyle 25k were Jamie Mothersbaugh, followed by Michael West and James Urbonas, while top female finishers were Maria Wik, Kiki Silver, and Marie-Ange Anderson.
The top finisher in Sunday’s classic 25k for the men was Michael West, followed by Jamie Mothersbaugh, and Patrick Brower, while the top finishers for the women were Maria Wil, Helen Carlsen, and Traci Macnamara McCoy.
The 10k freestyle men’s race Saturday was led by Peter Valentyik, Matthew Mosca, and Lucas Wik, and the women’s race was led by Zoe Silver, Kajsa Wil, and Nora Quatrachi. Both races were finished by Lucas Wik, Colby West, Cyrille Duperret, Zoe Silver, Kajsa Wik, Nora Quatrachi, Anne Gallager West, Riley Silver and JoAnn Weaver.
Congratulations to all finishers!
Diana Lynn Rau is the president of Grand Nordic. For more, check out http://www.grandnordic.org/.
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