COSMIC – Sunlight 1/18/09

We’re going to need a miracle this year….

The first race of the year for Team Crested Butte was the opening stop on the COSMIC Tour, at Sunlight Ski Resort near Aspen.  Everyone was sporting the newest gear, with our team on the new GOODE Skis, SCARPA F1 race boots and Low Tech bindings. 

The race opened up with 1711ft of climbing to the top of the resort at 8AM under beautiful “blue bird” skies and 13F degrees. 

With a mix of groomed slopes and off piste climbing Wick lead the race to the top by about 10 seconds over the packing containing 2-6th place, but where was Brian Smith (GOODE)?  The sound of skins being ripped was all you could hear at the top and then soon it was finding the perfect tuck for 20 seconds before throwing the brakes on for the long technical descent down the double diamond run, The Heathen.  The 2nd climb retraced the route of the opening climb with Wick still hanging on to a 10 second lead, Brian Smith was still no where to be found. 

The second descent lead us down another off piste double diamond for the final skin change at the bottom.  As Wick and Max Tam were heading up for the final 1831ft climb, Brian Smith finally showed his face.  Binding issues at the start forced him to battle back through the pack and now 85 minutes into the race he found the lead group. 

This technical last climb found us negotiating 32 switch back kick turns (thank GOODE-ness for light, short skis) and then into a 5 minute boot pack.  The boot pack is where Brian Smith ultimately took the lead and never looked back as he skied away to the top.  It was now a race for 2nd.  At the top of the final climb Wick had a 10 second lead over Aspen ski patroller Max Tam, but that lead was whittled down near the end of the descent to a dead heat.  With Max taking a more aggressive line he pulled through the finish line 3 seconds in front to grab 2nd, with Wick settling for 3rd.  Coming in 4 minutes later was Jon Brown (GOODE) and 24 Hour World Record holder Sully (GOODE) coming in another 5 minutes later for 8th.  With Brian Smith coming from behind and passing the entire field, it may take a miracle to beat him!

In the woman’s race it was Jari Kirkland (GOODE) coming in 3rd for her first race of the season, only a minute plus out of 2nd. So close!!

Stats for the race totaled 5,253ft of climbing and 5,240ft of descent in under 2 hours for the top five men and under 2 ½ hours for the top 3 women.  Next stop for the COSMIC Tour is the Crested Butte Rando Rally February 7th.

- Bryan Wickenhauser

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