Two events planned for 2013-2014 winter
Sixty-five snowmobile racers from ages five to 55 years old put themselves and their machines to the test at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR), competing in the Roost the Butte on Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7.
It was the first event of its kind to hit the ski area since CBMR hosted the X Games in 1998 and 1999. Sport organizer Joe Duncan was responsible for the snowmobile events at the X Games in Crested Butte and has stayed on with the X Games to oversee the snowmobile events since then.
Duncan and CBMR vice president of marketing and sales Scott Clarkson discussed bringing snowmobile racing back to Crested Butte two years ago at the Winter X Games in Aspen and the plan came to fruition last weekend in fine form.
“It was a huge success,” says Duncan. “Great racing, great action.”
“We went into it thinking small and we overachieved a little bit,” adds Clarkson.
The weather cooperated and, according to Duncan, course conditions were great.
“Alyosha and the cat operators, Chris Corliss and everyone else at Crested Butte Resort made it so easy on us,” says Duncan. “They built some great courses.”
Four different events—a Hillcross, Snow Oval, Snocross and Hilldrag—were held in the Gold Link area over the two days, with different classes available for a variety of riders and machines.
According to Duncan, the weekend brought in 40 racers off the XMR Central Rocky Mountain Region circuit as well as a mix of 25 local riders and rookies to the racing scene.
In addition, Duncan was impressed with the support from local businesses.
“Sun Sports was a big help to us and Kochevar’s kicked in cash and prizes for the Hole Shot Awards,” says Duncan. “It was great to have that local support.”
The weekend was such a success in the eyes of Duncan, the racers and Clarkson that there is a plan for not just one, but two, snowmobile events in Crested Butte next winter.
“We’ve penciled in a date probably in late January for Roost the Butte,” says Clarkson. “It’ll be the same events.”
The hope is to set the Snocross and Snow Oval courses in the meadow on Snodgrass where the resort has been setting Nordic track this past winter and then run the Hilldrag and Hillcross in the same area as this year.
Clarkson and Duncan then hope to shoot the moon at the second event, dubbed the Ultimate Snowmobiler, scheduled for Thursday through Sunday, April 10-13, the week after the ski area closes.
“We’ll do it then so we can use more of the ski area,” says Clarkson.
Plans are being discussed to include a true hill climb involving sections of International, a Hilldrag up Buckley with snowmobiles running four across in a drag race format, and a mountain cross course with the potential for a 20-mile loop. The top classes could run the loop several times for as much as 100 miles of mountain cross racing.
“It will be a true big mountain cross-country,” says Duncan.
They will also host a Snowmobile Video Awards similar to what is done at the Winter X Games in Aspen.
“It will be a full weekend of festivities,” says Duncan.
Duncan believes the April event could draw as many as 300 snowmobile racers, including several of the top names in racing.
“We’ll probably have a bunch of X Games athletes show up,” says Duncan.
Clarkson sees the April event as a great opportunity to bring people to the valley at a time when the winter tourism season is typically shut down.
“If we can succeed at making it an economic driver then we’ll be firing on all pistons,” says Clarkson.