Scarpa North America Blog

Elite Ski Mountaineering with Team Crested Butte

Feb. 25th 2015

By Jon Brown

GO-CB is an elite ski mountaineering team of athletes from the Gunnison Valley. Jon Brown, Bryan Wickenhauser, Jari Kirkland, Brian Smith and Stevie Kremer make up the accomplished line-up. The Team has enjoyed the support of Scarpa for 12 years and owes its longevity to a shared passion for adventure and competition.

Go-CB on the top of Mont Fort in Switzerland.

Go-CB on top of the world (Mont-Fort) at the Ski Mountaineering World Championships 2015. Photo credit: Teague Holmes

March is just around the corner and things are about to get crazy with most of the biggest races on the US Skimo calendar stacked up in the next 6 weeks.

It’s already been a busy and intense season with the Cosmic Series, USSMA, and ISMF World Champs. The Five Peaks race in Breckenridge kicked things off last weekend with 6,000 ft of vertical gain over 12+ miles.

Five Peaks Race

The race is held in both a team format and individual. Teams of two can run the long course or short while individuals are limited to the short. For a number of athletes the course wasn’t the only challenge – a few of the elite racers had literally just returned from world champs in Verbier. Hours of travel and jet leg burdened bodies were a concern for not only the frontrunners but those looking to capitalize on an opportunity too! My teammate and I were both coming off the trip to worlds but I’d had about a week to get back into the groove – my partner Billy Laird hadn’t been back for more than 48 hours when we lined up.

USABilly

Billy Laird waves the flag with the US Men’s Team at the Ski Mountaineering World Championships.

Conditions were just about ideal – about 6-8 inches had fallen over night and the flakes were still coming down. We had a solid race with few errors and were able to fend off a late race challenge and hold on to 2nd place. Fellow Scarpa athlete Max Taam was once again dominant in the teams race with his partner John Gaston.

This weekend is another teams race and arguably the toughest on the calendar… the Power of Four in Aspen traverses from Snowmass to Ajax hitting Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands in between. The race has nearly 12k of vertical gain over 25 miles!  Locals Max Taam and John Gaston will once again be the favorites – these guys are undefeated in the US as a team for a couple of years now!  The weather will also play into the mix as another much welcomed round of snow is predicted to hit the area over the weekend.  In addition to Billy and myself, look for GO-CB athletes Bryan and Brian (Team SmithWick) to challenge for a podium spot also – these 2 have never finished the race outside the top 3! On the women’s side GO-CB’s Stevie Kremer will be teaming up with US Skimo Team member Lyndsay Plant to form a crushing combination.

More epic skiing on Mont Fort

More epic skiing on Mont Fort. Photo credit: Andy Dorais

There’s a lot more racing to come this season including the Wasatch Powder Keg, US National Champs and the Elk Mountains Grand Traverse… Check for updates, info and results at Cosmicski.com and USSMA.org and follow the GO-CB team on Facebook!

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