Leadville Loppet Celebrates 10 Years Saturday
By definition, a Loppet is “a large, long distance (approximately 35+ kilometer) cross country skiing event.” Of course, you can also come across the more humorous definition that it is a Swedish word meaning “bloody long ski race.”
But in Lake County, the word Loppet means winter fun! And this year marks 10 years of winter fun for The Leadville Loppet. This celebration of winter will take place tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 23 and is hosted by the Mineral Belt Trail Committee.
The race course meanders through rolling forested terrain in Colorado Mountain College’s Timberline Trail network and leads racers to the Mineral Belt. From there they climb and descend abandoned rail grades left from Leadville’s historic mining era, and return to CMC for the finish. The race is followed by soup and an awards banquet in the Climax Molybdenum Leadership building at CMC.
The Leadville Loppet is open to Freestyle (skate) and Classic Skiing in the 10k, 22k, and 44k. And the whole event is topped off with a fun 5k complete with colorful costumes and lots of laughter! The Leadville Loppet is a fundraiser for the Mineral Belt Trail, but additionally, the event serves to celebrate winter recreation in Lake County. What better a way than to host a Nordic event?Family fun (with costumes) for everyone at the 5k event.
Online registration is now open, but will close at noon today. On-site registration and packet pickup Friday, Feb. 22 at Colorado Mountain College. Packets can be picked up on Race Day Saturday, but no registrations will be taken on Saturday.
Nordic Team Represents at State Meet
The Lake County High School Nordic ski team headed to Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby for the state meet this past Thursday and Friday. Thirteen teams from around the state brought skiers to participate in the two-day event.
Thursday was an individual start skate race. The course wound through the woods, but had a significant headwind for the first kilometer and a half. After that, the trail climbed up the main climb before descending into rolling terrain and an uphill finish.
Lara Lufkin had an early start and skied away from most of the girls
she started with to place 21st. Jayde Daigle had raced in the alpine
giant slalom race earlier in the day but still had a solid race to
place 33rd. Kimberly Vierczhalek had her best skate race of the season to place 38th. The girls were 9th as a team, which was better than their rank of 10th coming into the race.
Ryan Morrison led the boys team with his 29th place finish. Andrew
Coffin was 47th and Charlie Koch was 51st. The boys team placed 7th, their highest skate finish of the year.
Charlie noted, “That was a challenging course, but it went by quickly. Definitely my best skate race of the season. [Assistant Coach] Jessie Coffin did a great job waxing our skis so that we could fly through the downhills.”
On the second day, the skiers raced in a mass start classic race. The
winds did not abate, and the skiers face brutal headwinds on the climb through the stadium and other parts of the mostly open course. The conditions made the race feel more like survival than a race.
Lara Lufkin once again led the girls team, this time with a 27th place finish. Kimberly Vierczhalek moved up one spot from her skate finish by placing 37th. Hannah Lufkin placed 40th to round out the scoring for the team. As a team, the girls once again placed 9th.
Ryan Morrison worked up through the pack during the race and had a strong finish to place 24th. Ethan Greiner paced himself brilliantly and ended up 28th. Charlie Koch was 33rd, and Andrew Coffin was right behind in 34th. The boys team was 6th, improving from their 7th in skate.
Coach Karl Remsen noted, “We had an excellent few days. Our skate day was better than expected, and almost every skiers then placed higher during the classic day.”
With every single Lake County state qualifier returning next year, the team looks to build on the solid finishes this year and move into the top five as a team next year. Many of the skiers will participate in the upcoming Leadville Loppet and continue to enjoy the ski trails around town for the rest of the winter.