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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of Jan 29 - Feb 4, 2003


1,000 coming for Boulder Ski Tour
Biggest field ever for Saturday’s race

"We’re setting new records. We’ll end up with over 1,000 skiers, which is close to 200 more than we’ve ever had before."

—KEVIN SWIGERT, Race director

Express Sports Editor

In 1973, some local cross-country skiing buffs like Kevin Swigert, John Beaupre and Ruff Patterson originated what was then called the Sawtooth Mountain Marathon. There were only 49 entrants.

This coming Saturday, a record-breaking crowd of over 1,000 skiers will tackle the 28th Annual Wells Fargo Boulder Mountain Ski Tour along a similar 32-kilometer (19.8-mile) course north of Ketchum.

It’s an event that has matured from a small, local race to an event of national prominence on the American Ski Marathon Series circuit. But it’s also very close to its roots.

Race director for the first time is Swigert, 49, a Wood River High School graduate who not only won the Boulder Tour three times, he also was a three-time U.S. national champ in cross-country skiing.

"We’re setting new records," said Swigert on Sunday. "We’ll end up with over 1,000 skiers, which is close to 200 more than we’ve ever had before."

In all, the 2003 Boulder Tour events will cover three days and roam up and down the valley—from Ketchum to Hailey and the actual race starting line of Galena Lodge 23 miles north of Ketchum.

But the main event is Saturday’s race, which leaves Senate Meadows near Galena Lodge at 10 a.m. and finishes for the elite skiers about 11:15 a.m. at the SNRA headquarters seven miles north of town.

This week’s rainy weather could guarantee a lightning-quick course, according to chief-of-start Rick Kapala. But you never know. Cool temperatures and new snow could slow the course considerably.

Swigert, Boulder Tour winner in 1975, 1976 and 1980, said, "The men’s and women’s elite fields are both full with 50 skiers each. And it looks like the women’s elite field is very strong, possibly stronger than the men’s this year."

Racing for the Subaru Factory Team on her 2003 retirement tour will be 19-time national champion and four-time Olympian Nina Kemppel of Anchorage. Defending Boulder Tour women’s winner Suzanne King is on the Atomic Team.

The Rossignol Factory Team, which is sending 11 skiers, includes Ketchum’s Brooke Baughman, second to King last year in the Boulder. And the Alpina Factory Team features Irene Eder and Natalie Ward.

Hailey’s Kristina Joder is also on the nine-skier Subaru Team coming to Ketchum.

Two-time defending men’s champion Justin Wadsworth wasn’t registered as of Sunday, Swigert said. But the men’s field looks very solid.

It includes Rossignol skiers Jon Engen, two-time Boulder king John Aalberg, Peter Webb of Ketchum and Colin Mahood of Bend, Ore. Subaru racers include Eric Meyer and Nathan Schultz, both of Boulder, Colo.

"We changed the structure of all the waves," Swigert said.

Race organizers will separate the field into eight waves starting with the 50 elite men at 10 a.m. and the 50 elite women at 10:01 a.m. A five-minute break will follow, and then the third wave will leave.

Swigert said, "Having the break will free up the elite women so they won’t intermix with that aggressive third wave of men that in the past has caused tremendous traffic."

The third through six waves, each with 150 skiers, will depart two minutes apart. Then there will be another five-minute break and the final two waves of 150 skiers will leave.

One notable skier who won the Boulder Ski Tour in 1997 will mingle with some of the later skiers—giving technique advice and lending motivation.

Two-time Olympian and nine-time national champ Marcus Nash of the Subaru Team will start in the fifth wave and ski with the thongs of citizens that make the Boulder one of this country’s greatest skiing events, according to a Subaru Team press release.

Here is the schedule:

  • Friday, Jan. 31: The Wells Fargo Festival Tent will be set up in the parking lot across from Ketchum’s Giacobbi Square from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. There, racers will pick up their bibs and BMT duffel bags. Twelve manufacturer booths will operate in the tent.

  • Saturday, Feb. 1: Shuttle buses to Galena Lodge from the Ketchum Park & Ride will run from 7 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Skiers in the first four waves should take the earlier buses. Spectators can ride some of the later buses if they wish.

"We’re doing everything we can to alleviate traffic problems," Swigert said. Traffic headed north to Stanley can still get through, but no private cars will be allowed at Galena Lodge, he added.

The post-race party will start at 5 p.m. at The Cutters Barn off Buttercup Rd., Hailey. The party includes a catered dinner, live music and announcement of $3,500 in cash awards plus raffle prizes. Some 150 dinner tickets still remain.

  • Sunday, Feb. 2: As part of today’s Wells Fargo Ski Festival at Galena Lodge, free cross-country ski demos and free clinics will be available starting at 10 a.m. Bring kids 12-and-under to the children’s cross-country adventure course, too.

The festival ends at 2 p.m. with prize drawings for registered kids and adults who participated in earlier events.

The Boulder Tour organizing committee that has been meeting on a regular basis since last August includes Bob Rosso, Rick Kapala, Ted Angle, Jenny Busdon, Ed Cannady, Pepin Corso-Harris, Ned Hamlin, Roberta Heinrich, Gay Riley, Andy Munter, Jim Mayne, Nappy Neaman, Tall Paul, Gene Ramsey, Muffy Ritz, Ron Robinson, Jim Santa, Char Savage, Carlin Thompson, John Seiller, Peter Stephenson, John Wells and Mike Wolter.

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