Boulder Mountain Tour PDF Print E-mail
Written by Megan Lawson   
Monday, 18 February 2013 20:26

Boulder Mountain Tour 2013 by KATHERINE JONESI was more nervous before the Boulder Mountain Tour than for any other Nordic race I’ve entered. I’m intimidated by the 30 person starts at Spam Cups, and my wave would have over a hundred racers, with another hundred starting right before us and another hundred right after. The race is “mostly downhill”, 32 kilometers from Galena Lodge nearly to Ketchum, and descending on Nordic skis is, in my opinion, best done cautiously and without an audience. This would be different.



After killing some time in the Galena Lodge, eventually it came time for me to start warming up for my race and I skied the five minutes up to the start. I came around the corner, and the sight took my breath away: the start is in a stunning bowl, ringed with steep, snowy mountains. There were tall colorful flags, loud music, a start zone that was at least twelve lanes across, and hundreds of Nordic skiers zooming everywhere. This was seriously festive. I was still intimidated, but now I was happy to be part of the excitement. After cheering for my teammates taking off in the Elite men’s and women’s fields, I went to find a starting position in my wave.

Boulder Mountain Tour 2013 by KATHERINE JONES

Thanks to my teammates, I knew to line up as close to the front as I could in order to avoid bottlenecks in the tight turns, climbs, and descents in the first few kilometers. “Burn a few matches early,” was BMT veteran Tom Owen’s advice. The gun went off, and I focused on avoiding stepping on, or being stepped on by other racers. I found some small gaps and was able to dart into them, moving ahead through the horde.

Boulder Mountain Tour 2013 by KATHERINE JONES

At the top of the first small climb, I was in fifth, pleased that I had avoided any pileups, was in a good position for the next section, and definitely had fast skis. On the first couple of downhills, I managed to hold my own and get more comfortable with the speeds from the fast snow and fast wax. The first 10 kilometers were an anaerobic blur, as I worked to hold my position near the front of my wave and we began to catch people in the previous wave by the dozens.

Around 15 kilometers in, we hit a small climb and the wheels fell off my wagon. Suddenly I was aware that I had burned more than the recommended “few” matches, and had maybe burned them all. I slipped into a slow, steady V1, and was quickly passed by the women I had been doing battle with over the previous kilometers. Disappointed, I tried to look on the positive side and appreciated the stunning scenery and perfect, fast course. After a few slow kilometers at this tourist pace, I must have slowed again as suddenly eight people who had been following me zoomed by. I had no idea that I’d been pulling them along!

Boulder Mountain Tour 2013 by KATHERINE JONES

A lightbulb went off, and I realized that life would be much easier if I could draft off these folks. Luckily I was able to get behind someone with a strong, relaxed skating style, and drafted off him for several kilometers. Soon I recovered enough from my earlier efforts to regain “race brain”, found a gap, and zipped past him.

I focused on getting a nice long glide and staying relaxed, and soon found myself passing people again. With each person I passed, my spirits rose and I tried to push a little harder and glide a little longer. My skis and wax were perfectly suited to the hard, fast conditions, and I was accelerating with every kilometer. At one point, I was so confident in my skis’ speed that I darted between two women skating side by side, knowing it was the only way to get past them. So much for being timid!

Boulder Mountain Tour 2013 by KATHERINE JONES

I crossed the finish line exhilarated and exhausted. In the last 5 kilometers, I must have passed 50 people, including a few of the women I had watched ski away from me halfway through the race. Soon I found my teammates swapping stories, enjoying soup and cookies in the sun at the finish line. When I asked how their races went, every single one, including Ben Alexander who endured a broken pole early on, said, “Great!” It’s that kind of race.

Boulder Mountain Tour 2013 by KATHERINE JONES

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Boulder. But first, we have the final Spam Cup of the season in West Yellowstone this weekend. The relay format will be an exciting new experience!


All photos by KATHERINE JONES - Boulder Mountain Tour Photo Stream