The Grand Traverse race is a challenging ski mountaineering contest — a 40 mile push between the Rocky Mountain towns of Crested Butte and Aspen. The race terrain varies between alpine steeps, to resort downhills, to flats the competitors skate. Multiple skill sets required. This year’s winners, John Gaston and Max Taam, broke the course record with a spectacular 6 hour 37 minute finish. Bravo!
The new course record of 6.5 hours is impressive. We were equally blown away after speaking with top ten finishers Rohan Roy and Travis Colber (5th place men’s, 6th overall). After crossing the finish line and casually stepping out of their bindings, they looked fresh and energetic, as if they could keep right on going. And indeed, they would. These hard men skied from their hometown of Leadville, to Crested Butte, completed the Grand Traverse to Aspen, and then would ski back to Leadville, via the Trooper Traverse — a magnificent tour totally about 120 miles. Pierra Menta of the U.S.?
We like how skimo racing encourages light weight travel in the mountains. Triangle Traverse is an example of one such evolution.
Rohan Roy, “I’ve done the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse 4 times before, and had taken a break for several years. One of the reasons for the break has been that its always seemed like I’ve done as much driving as skiing (Leadville to Crested Butte, ski to Aspen, get a ride back to CB, then drive home — at least 10 hours of driving for what’s typically taken about that long to ski from CB to Aspen). But this year, the timing lined up to allow me to take a few days before the EMGT to attempt to maximize the skiing and, ideally, eliminate the driving. I spent lots of time with maps, and trip reports such as Lou’s Trooper Traverse, and hatched the plan to bike from my door in Leadville to the trailhead, ski to Crested Butte, rest a few days on my Grand Traverse partner’s couch, race to Aspen, and, the most difficult part, sleep one night and ski back to Leadville via the Trooper Traverse route, and ride the bike home. With a few different, and super-solid, partners and some support from friends, I managed to pull it off…”