Salt Lake City’s Carl Kjeldsberg pumps his fists as he crosses the finish line. At 72 years old, he easily won his age catagory in the 45-kilometer division of the North Routt Coureur des Bois on Saturday. He said the race and the surrounding atmosphere reminded him of his native Norway.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Salt Lake City’s Carl Kjeldsberg pumps his fists as he crosses the finish line. At 72 years old, he easily won his age catagory in the 45-kilometer division of the North Routt Coureur des Bois on Saturday. He said the race and the surrounding atmosphere reminded him of his native Norway.

Cruel weather spices up grueling North Routt Coureur des Bois

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Scott Metclife of Hawaii celebrates as he nears the finish line in Saturday's North Routt Coureur des Bois.

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Tough conditions, including a fierce headwind at the finish line, brought Johnny Spillane and all the best skiers in the North Routt Coureur des Bois to their knees on Saturday. Spillane still managed to easily win the 90-kilometer division.

— There were Olympians and surprise champions, great college skiers and superb locals. There was a Norwegian from Utah, a rower from Oklahoma and a New Yorker whose training regimen was built largely around ultimate Frisbee.

They and the more than 200 other racers who finished Saturday’s marathon of a Nordic ski race, the seventh annual North Routt Coureur des Bois, were the champions.

They all beat the course. Barely.

“That,” Montana racer Chad Anderson said, heaving and bent over his poles a few yards past the finish line, “was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Daunting hills and fluctuating weather tortured racers throughout the first half of the 90- and 45-kilometer races. A fierce wind that ripped through the finish line at Steamboat Lake Outfitters made the second half of the race grueling.

Still, in the misery the racers found the challenge they’d been looking for, and in that, they found joy.

Three-time Olympic silver medalist Johnny Spillane won the 90-kilometer men’s skate race, breaking from a small pack 60 kilometers down the tremendous trail, which stretched from Steamboat Lake State Park all the way to Wyoming and back to Steamboat Lake Outfitters.

“The snow conditions were tough. The wind conditions were tough, and it’s already hard enough as it is, because it’s 90K,” Spillane said. “My knee hurts. My feet hurt. My back hurts.

“It will be fun tomorrow when I can appreciate the accomplishment. There’s no race in the world that covers terrain like this. It’s gorgeous out there.”

Laura O’Connell, of Evergreen, won the women’s 90K skate, and Steamboat Springs’ Tammy Jacques won the women’s 45K skate.

Matt Huntze, meanwhile, took the men’s 45K skate, breaking free from a pack 5 kilometers from the finish to win by nearly 40 seconds.

Like many others, he found good and bad in the day.

“The first half of the race felt horrible,” he said. “One of those hills was maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever skied.”

Huntze grew up in Oklahoma and attended the University of Colorado to participate on the crew team. He strapped on cross-country skis for the first time in his life 18 months ago and has since soaked up everything he could from friends and the team at Boulder Nordic Sport.

Saturday he was in second and third for much of the race, but caught and then beat to the finish line five-time Olympian Todd Lodwick.

“My skis were feeling good, and finally I was feeling good,” said Huntze, grinning wide while talking of cheering as Lodwick won a silver medal in last year’s Olympics.

“He’s been racing 10-kilometer races. If it’d only been 10 kilometers, he’d have destroyed me. We talked after the race, and he was super cool.”

The course was difficult, but that’s what makes the North Routt Coureur des Bois what it is.

“It was harder than last year,” Colorado Springs’ James Kahkoska diagnosed, saying despite being better prepared, he was 30 minutes slower in his 90K race than last year. “Some places it was soft. Some places it was icy. Some places there were moguls in spots.”

Organizer Dan Smilkstein “keeps me coming back. He does an amazing job,” Kahkoska said. “I do a lot of races, but Dan goes all out.”

His daughter Anna Kahkoska joined him this year, competing in the 45K while home from Syracuse University during spring break.

She hadn’t skied in three months before the race and said she stays fit with a little running and a lot of ultimate Frisbee.

“It felt really good. The course was great. It was absolutely gorgeous,” she said. “I had a great time.”

Despite their grumblings in the moments after crossing the finish line, many agreed with her. This was a good day.

“Every time I do it I say what I said this time: ‘This is the last time I’ll do it,’” Spillane said. “But I’ll probably be back next year.”

Results

Saturday in North Routt

(Name, time, city, age)

45 Classic

Male

Santiago Ocariz, 2:34:50.5, Hayward, Wisconsin, 24

Kyrill Kretzschmar, 2:54:36.1, Steamboat, 36

Jon Freckleton, 3:21:17.1, Steamboat, 38

Wally Chambers, 3:52:51.2, Manti, Utah, 54

Luke Langhorst, 4:09:11.0, Minturn, 24

Tony Neaves, 4:09:29.3, Hamilton, Montana, 52

Ron Uhle, 4:16:10.2, Breckenridge, 53

Kyle Bochanski, 4:49:29.2, Fairfax, Vermont, 19

Joel Knutson, 4:55:13.9, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, 35

Andy Weynand, 5:03:31.1, Steamboat, 40

Steve Hokansson, 5:44:00.2, Bellvue, 48

Mark Ensner, 6:11:39.5, Clark, 59

Matthew Hall, 7:15:19.5, Littleton, 36

Female

Jennifer Harlow, 3:52:06.4, Boulder, 26

Emily Lovett, 3:58:39.6, Steamboat, 45

Paula Maresh, 4:16:37.9, Littleton, 46

Jen Lavely, 4:33:58.8, Central City, 33

Kathryn Johnson, 4:38:26.4, Boulder, 33

Sarah Dixson, 4:49:29.2, Steamboat, 20

Linnea Dixson, 4:49:29.2, Steamboat, 18

Marika Page, 4:53:43.2, Breckenridge, 35

Morgan Moss, 5:17:52.3, Clark, 30

Nora Mckay, 5:44:40.8, Clark, 48

Terri Smith, 5:58:35.1, Clark, 53

Jennifer Kerr, 6:08:50.7, Steamboat, 40

Leslie Lovejoy, 6:11:39.5, Clark, 57

Dana Morton, 6:11:39.5, Clark, 45

Ann Henderson, 6:40:43, Steamboat, 37

Jayme Weynand, 6:40:43, Steamboat, 50

Debbie Dalrymple, 7:15:08.4, Denver, 42

Mary Gilbert, 7:46:19.1, Fort Collins, 61

45 Skate

Male

Matt Huntze, 2:24:15.4, Boulder, 25

Todd Lodwick, 2:24:53.9, Steamboat, 34

Barkley Robinson, 2:24:59.2, Steamboat, 37

Shawn Scholl, 2:28:59.6, Kremmling, 46

Matthew Rossman, 2:33:42.5, Morrisville, Vermont, 27

David Knoop, 2:35:00.9, Park City, Utah, 52

Brian Tate, 2:35:58.9, Steamboat, 49

Ross Delaplane, 2:38:00.8, Golden, 40

Nicholas Brown, 2:39:01.8, Carbondale, 29

Joshua Peterson, 2:39:03.7, Laramie, Wyoming, 25

Willei Trowbridge, 2:39:36.1, Breckenridge, 47

Nathan Brown, 2:39:42.9, Boulder, 28

Greg Finoff, 2:42:19.2, Lyons, 44

Tanner Heil, 2:46:39.2, Steamboat, 15

Jacob Peterson, 2:47:31.8, Lander, Wyoming, 23

Max Nuttelman, 2:52:16.7, Boulder, 34

Antonio Marxuach, 2:55:27.9, Steamboat, 45

Scott Myller, 2:58:24.4, Steamboat, 44

Ben Clark, 2:59:30.0, Steamboat, 42

Mark Uhlfelder, 2:59:58.2, Aspen, 53

Brad Bingham, 3:00:00.1, Steamboat, 34

Jakub Stefka, 3:01:36.4, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 39

Chris Gilbertson, 3:03:32.4, Steamboat, 42

William Feiges, 3:03:43.2, Sioux City, Iowa, 29

Morgan Williams, 3:08:37.4, Carbondale, 29

Colm Sweeny, 3:10:04.3, Boulder, 46

Norm Cessna, 3:10:22.7, Lander, Wyoming, 60

Greg Naber, 3:10:31.9, Boulder, 45

Alex Perkins, 3:11:42.2, Carbondale, 37

Paul Rose, 3:12:01.4, Steamboat, 22

Scott Petersen, 3:15:56.5, Denver, 43

John Weinman, 3:17:22.5, Steamboat, 50

Steve Colby, 3:18:23.9, Oak Creek, 58

David Benson, 3:19:17.7, Lake Elmo, Minnesota, 37

John Werner, 3:19:59.7, Murray, Utah, 52

Andy Picking, 3:23:23.9, Steamboat, 38

Clay Lovett, 3:23:53.6, Steamboat, 54

Tom Keenan, 3:29:28.0, Steamboat, 55

Michael Higgins, 3:30:01.1, Salt Lake City, Utah, 38

Gunnar Conrad, 3:30:21.8, Durango, 57

Tom Scrimingeour, 3:31:20.0, Steamboat, 59

Rob Lutz, 3:31:43.2, Steamboat, 45

Jack Cheesebro, 3:31:58.8, Saint Loius Park, Minnesota, 59

Bernard Frey, 3:32:18.3, Breckenridge, 40

Bill Martorano, 3:33:24.1, Steamboat, 41

Alexi Lainis, 3:33:34.8, Boulder, 14

Claude Lavallee, 3:35:54.4, Frisco, 55

Christopher Finch, 3:40:16.4, Steamboat, 19

Andrew Lainis, 3:42:39.8, Boulder, 52

Jim Ascher, 3:42:51.2, Steamboat, 50

Alexander Vogenthaler, 3:44:57.1, Denver, 30

Aaron Finch, 3:45:40.8, Steamboat, 52

Craig Keefe, 3:46:58.1, Steamboat, 41

Jim Oakleaf, 3:48:05.8, Laramie, Wyoming, 42

Todd Williams, 3:49:04.3, Edwards, 45

Cam Boyd, 3:49:52.0, Steamboat, 48

Art Myshrall, 3:50:09.0, Park City, Utah, 51

Carl Kjeldsberg, 3:51:31.6, Salt Lake City, Utah, 72

Toby Leeson, 3:54:03.4, Steamboat, 48

Tom Plant, 3:54:55.7, Nederland, 48

Gil Barbier, 4:00:02.4, Steamboat, 67

James Dudley, 4:00:08.2, Steamboat, 64

Scott Andre, 4:00:24.2, Clark, 39

Michael Berry, 4:04:09.7, Salt Lake City, Utah, 53

Geoff Miller, 4:05:56.2, Palmer Lake, 53

Shawn Palmer, 4:06:10.9, Laramie, Wyoming, 34

Curtis Lupo, 4:07:11.7, Park City, Utah, 60

Dan Mcdonald, 4:07:47.2, Denver, 56

Barry Gustafson, 4:10:40.2, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 50

Scott Metclife, 4:13:03.6, Kihei, Hawaii, 48

Lindsey Lambek, 4:13:28.5, Steamboat, 51

Rob Hamlin, 4:21:05.9, Laramie, Wyoming, 46

Andrew Pratt, 4:21:27.4, Steamboat, 38

Sven Svensson, 4:24:22.9, Lafayette, 50

Jon Hawes, 4:24:52.3, Clark, 52

Adam Fleener, 4:27:41.2, Loveland, 40

David Wallace, 4:30:43.5, Steamboat, 58

Brance Modin, 4:32:31.2, Cloquet, Minnesota, 59

Gregory Holm, 4:35:02.8, Denver, 57

Michael Roberts, 4:41:35.6, Steamboat, 62

Gary Bishop, 4:41:54.8, Truckee, California, 57

Joe Bundy, 4:43:33.1, Laramie, Wyoming, 48

Bill Philip, 4:57:03.4, Steamboat, 65

Bob Reilley, 5:06:33.5, Clark, 41

Thom Conville, 5:23:28.9, Minturn, 46

Emmett Stafford, 5:38:20.5, Clark, 70

Jim Linville, 6:06:03.7, Steamboat, 63

Female

Tammy Jacques, 2:35:05.4, Steamboat, 44

Amy Caldwell, 2:36:04.5, Boulder, 39

Deborah Rose, 2:59:59.2, Steamboat, 54

Tanya Kjeldsberg, 3:01:41.5, Salt Lake City, Utah, 43

Lorraine Barrows, 3:02:57.7, Laramie, Wyoming, 47

Toni Geer, 3:08:57.4, Boulder, 50

Mary Rose, 3:12:01.4, Steamboat, 19

Laura Johnson, 3:17:50.9, Boulder, 25

Megan Gregg, 3:18:48.2, Steamboat, 29

Alison Flint, 3:25:21.7, Boulder, 27

Amy Charity, 3:30:27.3, Steamboat, 34

Sarah Estill, 3:36:06.1, Boulder, 26

Essi Kenttala, 3:37:24.3, Steamboat, 41

Krisitn Hager, 3:38:41.7, Steamboat, 42

Kristy Palmer, 3:42:59.1, Laramie, Wyoming, 31

Kara Johnson, 3:43:35.1, Steamboat, 25

Alice Phinney, 3:44:40.1, Boulder, 54

Nikki Durkan, 3:44:46.6, Steamboat, 27

Colleen Finnoff, 3:46:57.5, Lyons, 44

Christine Peterson, 3:48:48.2, Laramie, Wyoming, 27

Kristin Wadle, 3:53:37.0, Livingston, Montana, 39

Anna Kahkoska, 3:55:45.3, Colorado Springs, 19

Erin Hesse, 3:58:48.6, Steamboat, 30

Kathleen Fitzsimmons, 4:00:14.5, Clark, 44

Kristyn Benson, 4:08:48.1, Lake Elmo, Minnesota, 36

Jessica Flannery, 4:11:45.3, Denver, 37

Eva Lambek, 4:13:29.0, Steamboat, 18

Hannah Williams, 4:20:39.2, Steamboat, 27

Kirsten Alder, 4:20:45.6, Oak Creek, 37

Roberta Flanigan, 4:25:08.8, Clark, 44

Joy Rasmussen, 4:25:39.6, Steamboat, 54

Kathleen Mckinley, 4:28:25.3, Clark, 57

Cynthia Nigro, 4:28:27.3, Jackson, Wyoming, 54

Melissa Uchitelle-rogers, 4:31:52.0, Oak Creek, 54

Elizabeth Diamond, 5:00:29.8, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 28

Jill Cooper, 5:36:11.5, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 53

Louise Stafford, 5:39:37.3, Clark, 69

Daria Gal, 6:32:36.2, Park City, Utah, 52

90 Classic

Male

Evgeniy Panzhinskiy, 6:43:13.1, Laramie, Wyoming, 24

Benjamin Barbier, 7:02:40.8, Steamboat, 39

Adam St.pierre, 7:06:48.2, Boulder, 29

Zach Beresford, 8:07:47.9, Salt Lake City, Utah, 31

Zach Bochanski, 8:11:19.5, Fairfax, Vermont, 19

Paul Sachs, 8:51:24.7, Steamboat, 49

Tom Hayes-McGoff, 8:54:00.5, Bozeman, Montana, 60

Female

Miroslava Gores, 8:23:35.9, Denver, 34

Elizabeth Esponnette, 8:32:27.8, Boulder, 23

90 Skate

Male

Johnny Spillane, 4:38:13.2, Steamboat, 30

Nathan Schultz, 4:43:38.9, Boulder, 39

Greg Ruckman, 4:47:35.7, Breckenridge, 37

Josh Smullin, 4:49:56.1, Steamboat, 28

James Howe, 5:13:42.9, Granby, 47

Adam Loomis, 5:14:32.9, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 19

Nick Sterling, 5:16:22.7, Boulder, 26

Steve Elmer, 5:20:32.2, Salt Lake City, Utah, 27

Nikolai Anikin, 5:27:57.6, Duluth, Minnesota, 30

James Kahkoska, 5:28:46.5, Colorado Springs, 51

Chad Anderson, 5:31:52.2, Bozeman, Montana, 36

Christian Mccarthy, 5:46:33.3, Boulder, 41

Theodore Fleming, 5:55:52.2, Frisco, 47

T.J. Thrasher, 6:01:28.4, Steamboat, 33

Kent Eriksen, 6:03:09.6, Steamboat, 55

Ryan Mihm, 6:03:56.2, Dillon, 32

Rob Lang, 6:05:02.5, Salt Lake City, Utah, 51

Bill Allen, 6:05:03.9, Dillon, 53

Matt Robinson, 6:08:32.3, Loveland, 37

Adam Spector, 6:10:09.7, Steamboat, 40

John David Jarrett, 6:16:06.2, Heber City, Utah, 40

Matthew Rowe, 6:17:41.1, Tabnernash, 24

Steve Cann, 6:22:51.9, Boulder, 44

Mark Dyson, 6:23:53.8, Boulder, 25

Doug Wadle, 6:25:29.5, Livingston, Montana, 38

Terray Sylvester, 6:32:46.2, Carbondale, 28

Ondrej Hejduk, 6:33:09.5, Littleton, 37

Justin Silcox, 6:34:01.3, Louisville, 40

Ryan Atwell, 6:37:12.1, Medicine Lake, Minnesota, 32

Dave Wickum, 6:37:25.5, Lyons, 53

Curtis Stevens, 6:39:23.1, Boulder, 31

Craig Thrasher, 6:40:09.7, Steamboat, 40

Jp Pougiales, 6:40:51.2, Steamboat, 51

Ian Abernethy, 6:41:06.3, Laramie, Wyoming, 28

Michael Seaman, 6:44:48.6, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, 46

Allen Belshaw, 6:57:23.7, Steamboat, 43

Peter Morelli, 7:04:19.4, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 30

Frank Lloyd Wright, 7:04:46.0, Lafayette, 40

Neil Humphrey, 7:09:29.3, Laramie, Wyoming, 61

Jonathan Drout, 7:12:49.9, Denver, 39

Joseph Stromsness, 7:25:37.9, Duluth, Minnesota, 26

Daniel Hickstein, 7:38:12.9, Boulder, 26

Jeff Woodward, 7:41:14.8, Boulder, 27

Alan Keeffe, 7:52:44.6, Steamboat, 52

Jeremy Silcox, 7:54:55.5, Jackson, Wyoming, 42

Bill Perkins, 7:59:22.7, Leadville, 50

Steven Cole, 8:05:24.2, Clark, 40

John Colton, 8:10:18.2, Nederland, 50

Richard Sutphin, 8:11:03.5, Monte Vista, 50

Galen Woelk, 8:11:24.6, Laramie, Wyoming, 41

Stan Wagon, 8:14:19.7, Silverthorne, 59

Jim Heidelberg, 8:31:21.0, Colorado Springs, 52

Don Platt, 9:01:07.0, Steamboat, 56

Paul Gross, 9:27:34.8, Boulder, 46

Female

Laura O’connell, 5:00:23.7, Evergreen, 42

Sarah Konrad, 5:23:45.3, Laramie, Wyoming, 43

Lenka Palanova, 5:38:27.7, Boulder, 27

Katie Lindquist, 5:57:17.6, Steamboat, 45

Tamsen Pruzan, 6:30:59.7, Wilson, Wyoming, 32

Kathy Wickum, 6:37:25.5, Lyons, 42

Annie Creighton, 6:41:43.8, Hamilton, Montana, 47

Liz Mcgoff-hayes, 6:42:09.8, Bozeman, Montana, 50

Heidi Ward Watanabe, 6:50:58.5, Ketchum, Idaho, 47

Audrey Mangan, 6:52:17.6, Boulder, 22

Joan Donham, 7:05:41.5, Steamboat, 53

Marianne Osteen, 7:15:16.9, Steamboat, 51

Carin Cutler, 7:28:09.3, Boulder, 40

Hurricane Carter, 8:40:46.1, Crested Butte, 60

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