THE 2017 ELK MOUNTAIN GRAND TRAVERSE
NEW RECORDS, NEW MILESTONES, AND 40 MILES OF THE ELK MOUNTAINS.
By Ted Mahon
In ideal conditions, the effort required to complete this race was massive. In fact for most participants it wasn’t practical to treat the GT as a race at all, and the event was commonly viewed as a “just to finish” type of goal. Under adverse conditions — challenging snow, arctic temps, wind — the whole effort morphed into something more akin to a survival adventure, a test of skills and determination just to make it to Aspen. To many, including myself, it was that challenge that was so appealing. Fully inspired after watching Pierre and Travis ski in that day for the win, I made it a goal to do the race whenever possible (this year marks 15 finishes for me and my wife Christy). But as fulfilling as those years were for me, Aspen never managed to stand atop the podium again. For most years various teams from Crested Butte took home the title or else battled Mike Kloser and his partners from Vail for it. Sure, there were some impressive finishes from Aspen locals here and there, including many by the Wille brothers, but the elusive win was always a little out of reach.