North Routt Coureur des Bois proves popular, challenging |

North Routt Coureur des Bois proves popular, challenging

Steamboat Springs skier Katie Lindquist skis in the 2010 North Routt Coureur des Bois cross-country ski race.

— In many ways, the North Routt Coureur des Bois is an old-fashioned kind of race.

That's a theme director Dan Smilkstein tries to hammer home even in the awards. The medals are of a unique design and imprinted with a picture of two of the area's original pioneers, setting out down a snowy trail with massive, long planks. And the trophies given to the overall male and female champions in each discipline actually are recycled trophies Smilkstein picked up on eBay. One originally had gone to a tennis champion nearly 100 years ago and another honored first place in a 19th century horticultural competition.

In that environment, classic skiing just makes sense.

The fastest racers all tore up the 90- and 45-kilometer courses using skate-ski style Sunday. But with a steady and seemingly long-lost rhythm, dozens of skiers assaulted the sixth annual race on classic skis.

"I love classic skiing. It's just so pure and simple, so fluid," said Jessica Kisiel, the 45K women's classic champion and a skate-skiing veteran of the 90K course.

For some, skate skiing is no longer an option, with the physical exertion and pain to joints and muscles too much in the massive test that is the Coureur des Bois.

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For others, it's a race made for classic skis.

"I just enjoy classic skiing," Steamboat skier Paul Sachs said. "It takes much longer, but it's an interesting challenge. It's beautiful out there. You can look around and you're out there all by yourself. It's beautiful."

Skiers of all styles again flocked to the race Sunday and a new attendance record was set with nearly 200 taking part.

They streamed down from the woods under the towering Hahn's Peak, across one last, white, open meadow and across the finish line at Steamboat Lake Outfitters.

The race has increasingly become a "must ski" in the national Nordic skiing world, but local skiers were well represented in the final results.

Katie Lindquist was third in the women's 90K freestyle race. Barkley Robinson was second in the men's 45K freestyle. Tammy Jacques-Grewal and Deborah Rose were second and third, respectively, in the women's 45K freestyle.

Benjamin Barbier was first, Kyrill Kretzschmar was second, and Jon Freckleton was third in a Steamboat sweep of the 45K classic podium. Emily Lovett, meanwhile, was second in the women's 45K classic, and Paul Sachs was second in the men's 90K classic.

Daniel Weinberger, of Boul­der, was the 90K freestyle men's champ for the second consecutive year, finishing in 4 hours, 33 minutes and 35.2 seconds.

Monument skier Michael Brothers was second at 4:38:03.7, and Nathan Schultz, also from Boulder, was third in 4:41:46.6.

"It's beautiful when you get up on the Continental Divide," Weinberger said. "It's great if you can take a moment and look. The hills are huge."

Lenka Palanova, of Boulder, last year's women's champ in the 45K, won the 90K freestyle this year in 5:26:29.8.

Anne Donley was second at 5:41:55.5, and Lindquist was third at 5:42:31.7.

"It's way harder than normal long races," said Palanova, now a four-time veteran of the race and a two-time champ, having won the 45K previously. "It's challenging for me. It was hard today, but it's a really cool race."

Benjamin Blaugrund, of Boulder, won the men's 45K freestyle, finishing nearly 10 minutes ahead of Robinson. Sarah Konrad, of Laramie, Wyo., was the top women's finisher in the 45K, finishing in 2:22:30.4.

"It was a great day," Blaugrund said. "The course is so fantastic, and the race organizers do an amazing job. This is a unique opportunity to ski 45 or 90K without backtracking. It's fantastic."

North Routt Coureur des Bois results


90K men’s freestyle

  1. Daniel Weinberger, Boulder, 4:33:35.2
  2. Michael Brothers, Monument, 4:38:03.7
  3. Nathan Schultz, Boulder, 4:41:46.6

90K women’s freestyle

  1. Lenka Palanova, Boulder, 5:26:29.8
  2. Anne Donley, Denver, 5:41:55.5
  3. Katie Lindquist, Steamboat, 5:42:31.7

45K men’s freestyle

  1. Benjamin Blaugrund, Boulder, 2:11:46.7
  2. Barkley Robinson, Steamboat, 2:21:59.0
  3. Brian Woodard, Boulder, 2:25:24.4

45K women’s freestyle

  1. Sarah Konrad, Laramie, Wyo., 2:22:30.4
  2. Tammy Jacques-Grewal Steamboat, 2:32:38.9
  3. Deborah Rose, Steamboat, 2:46:09.2

90K men’s classic

  1. Zach Beresford, Salt Lake City, 6:39
  2. Paul Sachs, Steamboat, 7:24
  3. Frank Smith, Clark, 7:25

45K women’s classic

  1. Jessica Kisiel, Los Alamos, N.M., 3:35:16.6
  2. Emily Lovett, Steamboat, 3:38:56.7
  3. Paula Maresh, Littleton, 3:40:02.0

45K men’s classic

  1. Benjamin Barbier, Steamboat, 2:37:25.3
  2. Kyrill Kretzschmar, Steamboat, 2:40:28.2
  3. Jon Freckleton, Steamboat, 3:03:29.5

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