Elk Mountain Grand Traverse

by Jari Kirkland

While many of my friends and fellow endurance athletes are already well into their cycling, running, or triathlon seasons, Skimo (ski mountaineering) season is still going strong.

Today was check-in for the Elk Mountain Grand Traverse. My partner Stevie Kremer and I had to take all our equipment (Scarpa boots; Trab skis; Camp jacket, pants, and skins; Darn Tough socks; and NiteRider lights) up to Crested Butte Mountain Resort to make sure we have all the required gear to ski from here (that's Crested Butte) to Aspen.

All the fun starts tomorrow (Friday) at midnight. It's roughly 42 miles and 8,000 vertical feet and millions of steps. It usually proves to be an adventure, as anything can and does happen. We are hoping for good weather - anything but -20 degrees and whiteout conditions. When it gets that cold it's difficult to keep our water from freezing, and once that happens it's tough to eat enough to keep moving.  

Now all I have to do is add a little more food to my already packed Enduro Bites, get my skis waxed, sleep and rest till tomorrow night, have a few good meals, and try my best to not get nervous too far ahead of time. The nerves will be gone as soon as the race starts anyway, which is when my training is hopefully going to kick in and get me to Aspen.

Wish us luck!

Will Jari and Stevie repeat as Elk Mountain Grand Traverse Champions? We wouldn't bet against them.

Will Jari and Stevie repeat as Elk Mountain Grand Traverse Champions? We wouldn't bet against them.

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