Snowshoers take to the Cordillera course Saturday |

Snowshoers take to the Cordillera course Saturday

Melissa Kellogg/Special to the Daily
Special to the Daily/Melissa KelloggDoug Alrick of Vail finished second in his age group during the 10K race of the Cordillera Snowshoe Race Series Saturday.

The Cordillera Snowshoe Race Series kicked off Saturday under clear blue skies and atop the fresh snow for which the Vail Valley is famous. Participants came out from as far away as Minnesota and Hawaii, but the High Country locals dominated the results.

Nestled away in Edwards, the Cordillera Nordic Center is one of the area’s best kept secrets. Its trails wind around terrain that in the summer becomes the Mountain Course at Cordillera. But, Saturday the rolling hills and majestic views of the Gore Range played host to a 5K Run/Walk along groomed trails and a more adventurous 10K which boasted challenging hills and deep powder single track.

Prior to the start of the 5K and 10K races, there was a Kid’s 1K where every racer was a winner, with each child receiving a ribbon and congratulations at the finish.

Shortly following, the 5K and 10K racers lined up for the start. Both races began at the same time with the 5K racers starting out on groomed trails and the 10K race going straight for the powder and single track.

The 5K course, a figure eight shape, led participants over rolling hills, onto single track and through aspen groves. Lisa Isom, valley local and one of the course designers described the race course as a mix of uphill and downhill.

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“For every tough uphill, there’s an equally rewarding downhill,” Isom said.

Vicky Keleske, Vail resident and the first woman over the finish line in the 5K race said, “Just when you thought your lungs were going to burst there was a downhill section just ahead.”

The 10K race course was more challenging, not only due to distance but also the majority of the race took participants through deep powder and single track. Glenwood Springs resident Charlie Werthem made it look easy finishing in the top spot overall with a time of 44 minutes, 41 seconds.

For the 10K race, Paula Bowman took the top overall women’s spot with a time of 58:07, while Heidi Vosbeck was just 40 seconds behind her finishing at 58:47. Third place for the women’s 10K belonged to Maureen Colihan of Eagle.

For the men, Werthem finished first, handily beating the rest of the pack with Grant Houniet of Avon in second with a time of 50:05, and Jeff Jewell of Superior in third at 51:41.

In the 5K race, Keleske took the top spot for the women with a time of 31:56 while Kim Montague of Glenwood Springs took second at 36:32 and Karen Wolf of Avon took third with a time of 40:33.

The next race in the series is a moonlight race to be held on Feb. 28th at 7 p.m.

Melissa Kellogg is a freelance writer based in Edwards.

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