The Elk Mountain’s Grand Traverse is an annual backcountry ski race from Crested Butte, CO to Aspen, CO which starts at midnight. This is a trailer for the film documentary of the 2009 race. The film will be released in Fall 2009.
Produced by: Friends of Friends Productions
Posted by: E. Conor Hagen -Director/Editor
Music: “Triumphant” by Royksopp
This year’s Al Johnson Race – the 35th – was held March 22 and the individual winners for this year were Travis Scheefer and Rebecca Dussault. The race started at the bottom of the North Face Lift and ended on the East River Lift’s Black Eagle. So, competitors climbed a grueling 600 feet and then plunged 1,200 down through Crested Butte’s famous Extreme Limits.
The race has a great story. In the late 1800’s, Al Johnson was a mail carrier who traveled between various mining communities in the Crested Butte area. He was known for his courage on skis and held himself to the principle that “the mail must go through.” At roughly 9000 feet, the seventeen miles he traversed from Crystal to Crested Butte are some of the most treacherous winter terrain in the Gunnison Valley. Johnson would strap on mail sacks, which often weighed more than twenty-five pounds, and ski with this burden through snowy, rugged canyons and passes.
Even experts think twice in Crested Butte’s high-risk race
Big-mountain freeskier Rex Wehrman remembers the exact moment he was scared away from competing ever again in the U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships at Crested Butte.
“I was taking a line through ‘Body Bag Chutes’ and wound up going off the final jump on one ski, with my other one behind me,” said the two-time U.S. Extremes champion from Summit County. “As soon as I took off, I just thought, ‘That’s it. I’m never doing this again.’ “
Wehrman, 38, managed to pull it together in midair and land the unforgiving 30-foot jump wedged between jagged rocks and thick timber, and even advance to the final round among the 2006 contest’s elite the following day. But his heart was no longer in it. And that’s no way to approach what may be the most difficult and dangerous in-bounds ski terrain in Colorado.
Wehrman now applies his extreme skiing expertise as a judge at the event, which celebrated its 18th anniversary Saturday.
Fans came out in droves for the final day of the 2009 Subaru US Extreme Freeskiing Championships at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR). The first stop on the 2009 Freeskiing World Tour (FWT), fifty athletes qualified for the final day in the Hourglass/Bermuda Triangle, an area off-limits to the everyday skier, but opened up for the final day thanks to the work of the Crested Butte Mountain Professional Ski Patrol. In the end, Michelle Manning and Clif Bennett both of Alta/Snowbird, Utah, would post the best-combined score to take the titles.
The Hourglass/Bermuda Triangle is a 1,000-vertical-foot drop with a sustained pitch of 40-degrees and reaching 60-degrees in several spots leaving skiers no room for mistakes. With no traffic in the area the entire season, competitors were treated to a mixed bag of conditions from soft powder, to bottomless, punchy holes and areas of completely bare rocks and trees.
The North Face comp completes its second stop
Kicking off on the lover’s holiday, February 14th, the second day of the Northface Masters at Crested Butte found competitors battling inclement weather, and each other, for a victory on the notorious “Staircase” slope.
Straight down from the start gate, riders had their pick of a skiers left area, “Staircase Proper,” with a series of pillows called the “Handrail,” and further left more pillows called the “Slot Cliffs.” To the riders right sat a cliff-strewn apron called “Body Bag,” with another nasty piece further right called “Dead End,” and finally a cliff launch dubbed the “Cheese Burger.” With death and food metaphors abound, and milk-bird conditions, both the men’s and women’s field laid down serious tracks in the first round of the finals, racing for a cut that left five women and fifteen men for the super-duper finals.
With the sun gracing the sky finally, the scent of BBQ-ing cow from The North Face Jimmy Hopper grill, and a crazed character named Spencer Moon wandering around with a pirate flag draped cape-style about his neck, the real action of the super-duper finals got under way.
Read the full story here: EXPN
Day one went down on the Headwall area of Crested Butte, and riders didn’t hesitate taking the rocky and scrappy slope apart.
The second stop on the North Face Masters series is popping off at Crested Butte, Colorado, and the tour couldn’t have picked a better freeride mecca. Returning champs from the Snowbird comp, Shannan Yates and Matt Annetts are up against a national field of free-shredders that includes a huge portion of local talent.
The ‘Butte has a revered place among big mountain types, capturing the interest of now pro-shred legends Chris Englesman, Dave Basterachea and Barrett Christy, among others. So, what’s the deal?
“It’s steep and it’s rocky,” answers 18-year local and fifth-place finisher in today’s preliminary round Gareth Van Dk. “Crested Butte is a big volcano of shale. It’s straight up daggers waiting to bite you.” But besides the geological punishers, says Van Dyk, CB has the pitch to match.
Read the full story here: EXPN
Parade, concert and art costume party celebrate the area’s free spirit
While traditional Mardi Gras celebratory bashes will be plentiful, Gunnison and Crested Butte, Colo., are celebrating this traditional French holiday in their own special way again this year. Skiers, snowboarders and carnival lovers alike are invited to join the Mardi Gras fun on Feb. 21 and 24 as the towns prepare to send off Fat Tuesday with a bang.
Now in its sophomore year, the North Face Masters of Snowboarding has become the largest cohesive competitive big mountain snowboarding tour in the country. The three-stop tour begins at Snowbird Jan 29 – Feb 1 and will cater to the motivation, talent, and skill of world-class big mountain snowboarders. Second stop, Feb 12-15, is at Crested Butte, Colo., and culminates at the ultimate big mountain competition venue of Kirkwood, Calif.
The Freeskiing World Tour is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The largest and longest running competitive Big Mountain Freeskiing tour in the history of the sport, the FWT features an unprecedented six stops including a Freeskiing World Tour Qualifier (FWTQ). With $20,000 cash per World Tour stop, The FWT boasts over $100,000 total tour payout.
The Subaru US Extreme Freeskiing Championships will take place in Crested Butte February 18-22, 2009.
Registration for the Telluride and Crested Butte stops of the 10th annual Freeskiing World Tour opens at noon on Nov. 12. Registration for the Snowbird and Kirkwood contests opens at noon the following day. Registration typically sells out quickly, and all interested athletes are encouraged to register early in order to participate.
All athletes who have not prequalified through last season’s point standings must enter the Telluride qualifying event Feb. 5-8 in order to join the tour. The Crested Butte contest is followed by contests at Zermatt, Switzerland; Snowbird, Utah; and Kirkwood, Calif., leading up to the Subaru Freeskiing World Championships at Alyeska, Alaska, on April 8-12.
For more information, visit www.freeskiingworldtour.com.
“Read more” for footage of the finals footage from the Subaru US Extreme Freeskiing Championships in Crested Butte, Colorado. Featuring the top 3 female and male competitors.
Sunday September 14th 2008 will see the MountainAir Marathon take place. Runners are invited to “come to the mountains and run our marathon from the historic mining town of Crested Butte, down the East River valley, along the banks of the Gunnison River to a finish in the stadium of Western State College”.
The race starts one mile south of Crested Butte at 8880 feet, runs along Hwy 135 to the finish in the stadium of Western State College in Gunnison (7700 feet). Start is at 7.30am Mountain Time.
Starting Line Outside CB – The town of Crested Butte (“CB”) is just north of the marathon starting line. A cozy, historic, mining town, CB has become one of the best kept secrets for summer and winter recreation.
Organisers said: “This won’t just be the best marathon you have ever run; it will be a weekend to cherish. You will be in the middle of a Colorado scenic and historic byway that is beginning the transformation from summer paradise to winter wonderland. With a little chill in the air, enjoy the brilliant colors of the quaking aspen trees and the warmth of the people in two great Colorado communities.”
For more information visit www.mountainairmarathon.com.