Bringing Home Bronze from Nationals

By: Crested Butte Mountain Athlete Ciera Glenn

I’m hooked. Ski cross was something I picked up this winter to nourish my competitive nature on the weekends I didn’t have a big mountain competition.  I wouldn’t say my big mountain season was the best, considering both competitions ended when I crashed. So this new “ski cross thing” took my mind off of that.

Going into nationals I was ranked 3rd in the country but I had no idea what to expect. The girls I would be racing where coming from all across the country; Washington to Vermont, and many states in between. I hadn’t raced any of these girls the entire season.

I chuckled a little when I looked at the start list on Saturday night; at an “elderly” 25 years of age I was the oldest female competitor on the start list. The youngest was 13 years old. Understand there are age groups from 9 and under to 19 and older. I was racing the “Open Class”, which is the only group not classified by the competitors age and is thought to be the most competitive group. It is very rare such a young athlete would race in the Open Class.

Driving into the Copper parking lot on race day, I knew it was going to be a good day. A man wearing a rabbit head and a cow body flagged me into my parking spot.

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The day was made up of one inspection, two training runs, one time trial, and two heats to declare the winner. Of course the final run was the most gripping; the fastest four ladies all in one course at one time. Below is a photo of the first turn of the course and gives you a great idea how close we all are right out of the start. I’m wearing the pink pants.

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After six jumps, seven turns and 44 seconds, Mazie Hayden, the 13 year old, was the first to cross the finish line, followed by Sarah Koehler then me. P.S. Keep an eye out for Mazie, she is an outstanding skier and has a huge future ahead of her.

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It was a fabulous weekend. Watch out 2015 USASA Nationals, I’ll be back…hoping to beat a 14 year old!

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We went around the mountain and got to know some skiers and riders by asking all kinds of questions about the upcoming Slush Huck and much more. 2013-14 was a great season, so we added some highlights as well!

Flashback Friday- The Old North Face Lift

For Flashback Friday one of your athlete’s Rob Vandervoort talks about the old North Face Lift and how it was a Poma back in the day. Does anyone else remember that?

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As a small child the North Face Lift was especially daunting. It was a poma when I learned to ride it. A poma is a single person surface lift. It fits uncomfortably in the rider’s crotch. The old poma was loud, clanky, and violent. It was terrifying.

To ride the poma, one would ski through the maze up to a red light and wait for it to turn green, at which point the rider would ski through a “start gate” (like on a race course) with the whole world watching. The rider would then have to catch the poma when it released, secure it between their legs, and prepare for a violent departure.

I remember being yanked about two or three feet off the ground by the poma lift. After hopefully sticking the landing, one had the rest of the lift ride to enjoy the comfort of the poma. Once on top the hard part was out of the way. The t-bar is a total game-changer.

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Successful Skimo Season

The question is how much snow is snow enough.  The answer is thiiiisss much.  The ski season is finally over and not a moment to soon.  It’s been a long, very cold and hard winter.  As I sit here writing this, it is snowing outside and freezing.  All I can think is when is it going to get warm?  Warm enough to wear a tee shirt and have soft sun warmed snow.  So until that time as when that happens I’m just going to take my bike and head off into the desert. 

Which brings me to thinking back on this skimo season.  Luckily it started off slow, built speed and ended off with 2 big bangs.  I had a very rough race at Sunlight.  Felt like a slug climbing Everest.  Mentally it was a tough way to start the season, even though I knew I was going to be tired, I expect greater things out of myself. 

Then a couple of races in New Mexico where I found my stride and it felt good to find it.  Two really good courses that proved as always to challenge my up and down hill ability.  Then a minor break to race my mt bike after which came the Breckenridge race with temp so cold that I frost bit my nose a little but I had a great time doing it.  With one week off before the North American National Championship I had fantastic backcountry weekend training and having fun.

And what a weekend in Brighton it was.  Three races in three days and I loved every minute if it (well all most).  There was a fair bit of pain involved but so rewarding at the end of the day.  3rd overall for the weekend was a good place to be.  Then to Crested Butte for the National Champs and it was the same results, 3rd overall, but I had more fun because we were able to race on the guide ridge, ropes and all.  Stevie Kremer and I won the team race, which earned us a National Championship.

Then, one last hurrah at the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse.  Stevie and I partnered up again, didn’t have a perfect race, pulled off another win and had a mostly fabulous time.

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It was time for a drink and celebration for a great partner and a great season.  I couldn’t have done it  with out Crested Butte Mt Resort, Griggs Orthopedics, Scarpa, SkiTrab, CAMP, Niterider, Darn Tough socks, Cristiana Guesthouse and the girls that did intervals with me on Wednesday night.  So, till next year, THANKS for everything.

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Written by CBMR Athlete: Jari Kirkland  

CB Shreds: Gareth Van Dyk

CB Shreds: Gareth Van Dyk

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Crested Butte’s rich snowboard culture began as the first boards started hitting snow in the mid-eighties, and continues to thrive as one generation passes on the love of the sport to the next. Gareth Van Dyk, or “GVD” as his friends call him, has been charging around these mountains for more than 20 years. Here’s his take on the legacy of snowboarding in the West Elk Mountains.

How many years have you lived in Crested Butte?

I have been living in CB since my Western State College days back in 1991, but I left for 4-1/2 years from 2000-2004. So, around 23 years total.

What was the first snowboard you owned?

A Burton Elite 150, purchased in 1987. I actually co-owned it with my twin brother—we bought it together.

Who taught you how to ride?

My brother Nick and I taught each other how to ride through trial and error. The equipment was a little different then, so we had to kind of barge it and hope for the best. We were some of the first riders at Sante Fe Ski Basin, our home mountain growing up.

What is unique about the snowboard culture here?

The snowboard culture in Crested Butte is sweet because it’s so laid back and open-minded as far as riding style goes. Even back in the day here there were no vibes whether you were a jibber park rat or a granola-eating billy goat. You all just shredded together—skiers included. It’s way different than say Summit County, where I have always noticed such a difference between the crews. CB is non-discriminatory as far as that goes; just a bunch of good vibes all the way around.

Who are some of the most influential snowboarders in Crested Butte, past and present?

That’s a hard question to answer without leaving some people out, but to me there are a couple different generations that have come through and made their mark in one way or another.

In the early years I would have to give it up to people like Seth Weiner from the OG Colorado Boarder, Ken Perkins, Chris Cox, Paul Parsons, Dave Bryson, James Brown, Paul Elkins, Christian Robertson, Jason Troth, Brian Delaney…the list goes on from that era. As far as the next generation…which is kinda around my era…there were a couple Super Pros that started their careers here like Barrett Christy and Chris Engelsman. And even two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Seth Wescott spent a season or two here.

Then I think of another generation a little younger than me which would include shredders like: Lucas Dehmlow, Stephan Babler, Janet Antram, Susan Mol, Josh Columbo, Cliff Dimon, Jason Pogoloff, Elija Valencia, Danny Hartigan, this list could go on too. I don’t know too many from the younger generation but riders like Andrew Buergin, Kyle Anderson, Austin Gibney, Mary Boddington…so many unknown grom rippers that are out there, too.

Some people say this is not a snowboarder’s mountain. How would you respond to that statement?

Anybody that says this is a skier’s mountain is probably a skier (haha). As snowboarders, we definitely have certain disadvantages compared to skiers as far as getting around goes. But it’s not an issue once you’ve gotten up to speed with traversing on a snowboard. It’s a good idea to practice ‘one-footing’ because it can be a critical skill during those big pow days; or just strapping in quickly and manipulating the terrain to your advantage.

Is there one day that stands out from all your years riding here?

There have been so many good days with so many good friends over the years, but I do remember a day back in the mid-90s when I still lived in Gunnison and made it up to the hill really early on a big powder day. A bus jackknifed on the highway and other cars piled up (with no injuries). But it created this huge mess that didn’t get resolved until much later. I was on the mountain picking off lines with nobody around for most of the day, just laughing at how incredibly deep and quiet it was out there on the mountain. It felt like my own private resort.

Favorite run on a powder day?

Probably Third Bowl area if I get in there first—so many fun little sections to play on in there. But there are plenty of other runs I don’t want to mention J.

What’s the gnarliest line on Crested Butte Mountain?

There are lots of gnarly technical lines on this mountain, too many to count. Skier’s right on the Edge has a couple lines that are up there (when they are filled in). Every big, steep, tree zone has a line that will make you crisp your pants if you want it bad enough. Rocks and trees command respect.

What’s the key to riding the T-Bars without getting bucked off?

It’s about letting it do all the work for you on a snowboard. A little trick for the first timers is to slam your back foot against the back binding and twist your hip and back foot slightly inward into a relaxed position. Then just chill and enjoy the ride.

Describe your perfect day on the mountain.

My perfect day would be to wake up late on the biggest pow day ever and have a big, awesome breakfast that my amazing wife Sarah made. Then we would stroll up to the lifts and casually get first tracks on every run, regardless of whether hundreds of locals are in front of us at the top or not. Then I would stomp every line doing whatever trick I could think of, and every landing throw up the deepest faceshot ever as I ride away straight-lining and levitating over all the compressions. I would end it with the biggest bar tab ever with my wife and all my bros at the Brown Lab baking in the sun, and enjoying the après banter that goes along with the deepest day ever.

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—Interview & Photos by Mike Horn/StokeLab

Big Air On Elk From an Athlete’s Persepective

After getting to watch Big Air on Elk from the sidelines for the past two years, I was able to compete this year. I was working at Izzy’s when Gabe Martin, from Colorado Freeskier, asked me if I was interested in hitting the jump. I told him I hadn’t skied much park this season, but I would be down to give it a try. I didn’t really think about it until Saturday morning. As I got to work, I saw the landing of the jump, and it was bigger than I had seen it before. I worked and scoped it out midday, when we had stopped service. The jump was the best I had ever seen it. I went home, grabbed my gear, and headed back to Elk. We had our meeting, and looked at the jump while we waited for the sun to go down.

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We were asked to put our names down on a list as we registered.  I ended up putting mine down first, so I took the jump first. The sun went down, and we waited with anticipation. We watched someone test the jump twice to get a perspective of how it looked and to gauge the speed— it changes every year. Getting towed in was crazy, and hard to get used to, but after one practice run it was game on. I threw a 5 to start off, then a 7. After making it into the finals, I threw a 9 to the flats and finished it off with a 5. (I was tired and wanted to walk away having stomped all my airs.) I couldn’t get any grabs on my spins, it was hard between dropping the handle of the snowmobile, grabbing my pole and trying to set the spin. That was probably the only thing I was disappointed about.

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The younger kids were throwing down, trying superman front flips, flat 3’s and big 3’s. A couple of people threw cork 9’s and the solo woman threw a big 3 and 5. It was a ton of fun being in front of the whole community doing something I love, something we all love. I ended up placing second, and was proud to represent CBMR in this community event.

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Athlete: Scot Chrisman

Photos taken by Trent Bona

trentbonaphoto:

2014 #BigAironElk #CrestedButte #WestElkProject @coloradofreeskier @twoplankpro

trentbonaphoto:

2014 #BigAironElk #CrestedButte #WestElkProject @coloradofreeskier @twoplankpro

Filling Your Cup with Music

I love it when my days are full – full of exuberant life. In Crested Butte, it is pretty easy to fill your cup to the brim with peak experiences that make you stand in the middle of it all thinking, “Wow! This is my life! How incredibly lucky am I?”

The mountains start it all off, of course. Hitting the “hill” with gloriously bluebird skies, or facing the storm and skiing the “pow” is my favorite way to begin a day. Skiing ‘til my legs are burning and I can’t possibly ski one more run gives me a big two thumbs up that I really earned that happy hour cocktail.

But then, I know when I’m really living large when even after happy hour there is one more drop of experience to squeeze out of the day. For me, this is live music. I love it. Truly it is one of the things I live for. I love music that makes me dance, that so completely occupies me there is no room to think about anything else. I love music where I can sit back and let the talent and passion of the musicians just pour over me, leaving me inspired and fulfilled.

Recently at the Center for the Arts, this awesome little venue in the heart of town, I got to experience that “full cup phenomenon” to the absolute hilt. It was two nights of Leftover Salmon. The Center is so intimate – only 215 seats – so there is no bad place to be in the whole building. Everywhere you can see the music, with plenty of space to dance, or just sit back if that’s more your style (but it’s not mine!). This really cool vibe develops between the musicians and the crowd because you can actually speak to each other and interact. The musicians feel that, so the shows at the Center are always so vibrant and alive with energy.

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Leftover Salmon rockin’ the house at the Center for the Arts this past February. Photo by Alex Fenlon.

The Salmon show was amazing – everyone off their feet and moving to the music like their lives depended on it. Just like I like it. I can’t say I knew everyone there but the whole room felt like a private musical concert full of a bunch of friends. It just makes you happy to be able to experience music like that.

Which is why I am so excited, I mean literally can’t wait, for the Robert Randolph & the Family Band show this upcoming Sunday, March 9. Sometimes you have to ask someone to pinch you. Because here you are, after a fantastic day of skiing, and then on top of that you get to see what Rolling Stone considers one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists” of all time? With only 200 people? Unbelievable. He’s my kind of music – funk, rock, and rhythm and blues. Truly a master of this crazy complex instrument called a “pedal steel” guitar. I’ve seen him before – his concerts explode with energy, giving rise what many call his “rapturous and fervent audience.”

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Robert Randolph & the Family Band at the Center for the Arts Sunday, March 9 at 8 p.m.

Crazy thing is Robert Randolph & the Family Band isn’t even the end of it. As a music lover I’ve always got my eyes and ears open for the next best show. Patty Larkin is cued up next on March 19. This will be a completely different kind of show I think, which just makes the Center that much cooler. The diversity of shows is extraordinary. One moment you’re dancing to funk, the next you’re being serenaded by a slide guitar virtuoso. Patty’s got this super sultry alto voice, kind of “bluesy” at times that many liken to Bonnie Raitt. Her lyrics are the kind that really make you think, like a good folk artists’ lyrics should – very conscious. She’s earned eleven Boston Music Awards and here she is in our little arts center. 

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Patty Larkin at the Center for the Arts Wednesday, March 19 at 8 p.m.

After Patty, Eilen Jewel takes the stage. I’m really looking forward to this one. They call her the “Queen of the Minor Key.” I’m attracted to music that has a bit of an edge, and minor keys definitely give it that. Eilen is a cross between country-gospel, box-car soul, jazz and swing. She’s got a dark sense about her lyrics, mixed with a strong hand of grit - things like cupid carrying a shotgun instead of a bow and arrow. You get the idea she’s felt some pain and takes those emotions and twists them into these raw, wild stories full of characters and longing, all sung with a smoky voice that just lingers over you. She’s playing Tuesday, March 25.

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Eilen Jewel at the Center for the Arts Tuesday, March 25

And that’s not even all. The Center is also featuring two hilarious stand-up comedians, Phil Palisoul and Chris Voth on Saturday, March 15. Cross over artist Christopher O’Riley is a classical pianist who has transcribed songs from the likes of Nirvana, Radiohead and Pink Floyd. That’s going to be amazing. It’s on Saturday, March 22. The season rounds out with aerial dance from the Frequent Flyers on March 29, and the Telluride Theatre Burlesque on April 4. 

What I would encourage anyone coming to Crested Butte to do is to fill your cup. Put so many of those peak experiences into it that it is just brimming over with life. Don’t miss a single moment. And for me, this means topping off my ski day with some live music at the intimate venue of the Center for the Arts. Be it broadening my horizons with music I’ve never heard before, or dancing ‘til I just can’t stand up anymore, every bit of it is just one more drop of deliciousness in my cup. It just doesn’t get better than this. It really doesn’t.

-          Molly Murfee

For tickets and more information on Center for the Arts shows visit www.crestedbuttearts.org.

On Mountain Dining - Memories That Last A Lifetime

Everyone loves an awesome ski vacation but have you ever wanted to do something that makes that vacation stand out? At Crested Butte not only is there awesome terrain and great snow but we have very unique activities off the slopes too!

One of the most unique and memorable activities on this mountain is the Sleigh-ride dinner at Uley’s Cabin at mid mountain. Every Wednesday- Saturday people ride a sleigh drawn by a snowcat to Uley’s Cabin to enjoy an exquisite 5-course meal.

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Here is my take on the night.

We started the evening gathering at the Waffle Cabin to check in and load up the snowcat. We were met with an Uley’s hostess and the cat driver. They prepared the sleigh, which usually entails setting out the blankets for everyone. However, due to the snowy storm they handed us the blankets and we wrapped ourselves in the blankets to stay dry (It was dumping snow). It is truly an awe-inspiring experience to head up the mountain after hours with the sun-setting and the stars starting to appear. However, due to the snow storm we didn’t have too many views, but the higher we got on the mountain the lighter the snow fell to eventually pause for us to arrive at Uley’s Cabin to see the majestic peak and the Elk Mountains off in the distance.

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We were welcomed by the staff and walked into the cozy, warm cabin.

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We were then seated at our tables to find this loving appetizer dish for everyone in our group.  

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From there we were greeted by our server Ryan inquiring about drinks and which of the three entrée choices we wanted.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner that started with the appetizers and warm bread, followed with a soup, then salad, then our main course. I chose the Norwegian salmon that just melted in my mouth.

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After we ate all that food, we still had dessert to come. We ended our night at Uley’s with a flourless chocolate cake that was decadent. Post dinner, one table stood up to leave and then all the rest followed. However, if people want to leave at different times the cat driver is willing. We all got our winter attire on to go back outside and ride down in the sleigh. Of course, our lovely hostesses set out the blankets because it wasn’t snowing and just a few minutes before we came outside it started dumping snow. So the ride down was the same as the ride up a little snowy, but lots of fun.

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The Sleigh-ride dinner is great for everyone and truly a memorable experience and I am looking forward to taking some guests when they come to visit! If you would like to make reservations please go to www.skicb.com/uleys or call 970.349.2275

Want to have some fun off the slopes at Crested Butte? Check out the Adventure Park open daily all year long! Play some mini golf, go rock climbing, enjoy the bungee tramps and don’t forget the plummet into the BagJump. Buy your tickets at the Adventure Center in Mountaineer Square.

Want to have some fun off the slopes at Crested Butte? Check out the Adventure Park open daily all year long! Play some mini golf, go rock climbing, enjoy the bungee tramps and don’t forget the plummet into the BagJump. Buy your tickets at the Adventure Center in Mountaineer Square.