Q: How do I register for the race?
A: There are two ways to register for the race: General Entry and Charity Entry. Registration for General Entry opens on December 1st at 7:00 AM (Mountain Time) and fills quickly. There is a registration link (button) on the home and registration pages of this website. Teams can also register for a limited number of Charity Entry slots and race for their chosen charity. More information can be found under the Registration tab of this website.
Q: What is the registration fee?
A: The registration fee is $400 for each team of two. A SPOT device is required. Teams may rent one for $40. If a team has a SPOT, the fee is $15 for information transfer.
Q: Can I race solo?
A: No. This is a backcountry ski race and solo travel in the backcountry is unsafe. Entries are for teams of two racers only.
Q: Are there time cut-offs on the course?
A: Yes. Racers must pass the following checkpoints by the times indicated below. Teams that do not make these cut-offs will not be permitted to continue. More information can be found on the Course & Map page under the Course tab of this website.
7:00 AM – Friends Hut
8:00 AM – Star Pass
2:00 PM – Barnard Hut
3:30 PM – Aspen Sun Deck
4:00 PM Finish area breaks down. A volunteer will remain to collect finishers times and SPOT devices.
Q: What’s the weather for the race like?
A: The Grand Traverse is a backcountry ski race that takes place at altitudes above 9,000′. Racers should expect highly variable temperatures ranging from daytime highs of 40°F to nighttime lows of -20°F. Past races have taken place during both heavy snowfall and clear skies. Be prepared for these weather extremes! Note: the race can be canceled or the course changed due to weather conditions or snow safety concerns. Racers must attend the mandatory racers meeting on Friday March 30 at 1:00 PM to get the final course route. The weather forecast and safety procedures will also be discussed at this mandatory meeting.
Q: Can my family track my progress on line?
A: Yes, tracking is available on the Live Tracking page under the Results tab on the day of the race.
Q: How should I train?
A: The Grand Traverse tests both athlete and equipment. It is recommended that training begin early enough in the season so that teams are familiar with and comfortable in their equipment. More information can be found on the Training, Nutrition & Race Tips page under the Athletes tab of this website.
Q: What pre-race events are mandatory?
A: Racers must attend the following: Racer check-in and gear check on either Thursday or Friday (first come, first served), the mandatory racer meeting on Friday March 29 at 1:00 PM and the final check-in/beacon and spot check at Mountaineer Square Friday night at 9:30 PM. Parking for Mountaineer Square is at the Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski area pay parking lot. Or take the free shuttle from the town of Crested Butte. Do not park in the area reserved for the Lodge at Mountaineer Square or risk being towed.
Q: Where do I park for Gear Check?
A: Bring ALL required equipment including skis, boots and poles to the Grand Ballroom at Mountaineer Square at Mt. Crested Butte. To get there, take the free bus from the town of Crested Butte or plan to pay to park at the Crested Butte Mountain Resort ski area parking. Do not park in the Lodge at Mountaineer Square parking area or risk getting towed.
Q: Why was the race registration fee increased in 2012?
A: The costs of the Grand Traverse race have increased over the years – and the standards of safe, responsible, large-scale backcountry travel have grown. The Grand Traverse is owned by the Crested Butte Nordic Center, a nonprofit organization. In its inaugural year of race ownership, the CBNC has worked to improve the safety of the race and to provide a more enjoyable experience for participants. The fee for the race has increased as its costs have, but still remains below the cost of other important endurance races in Colorado and across the U.S. The new Charity Entry registration alternative offers racers the opportunity to raise charitable contributions to help defray the cost of registration. Note the race registration fee has not increased for 2013.
Q: Who benefits from the Grand Traverse?
A: The Grand Traverse is a fundraiser benefiting the Crested Butte Nordic Council, non-profit organization formed in 1987. The Crested Butte Nordic Council (CBNC) serves residents of and visitors to Gunnison County throughout the winter months, offering cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, and guided tours. CBNC’s mission is to provide individuals of all ages and abilities the opportunity to learn, enjoy and improve in the sports of cross-country (Nordic) skiing and snowshoeing. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with IRS designation, CBNC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors elected by the membership at the annual meeting each November.
Q: Why is a 2 person shelter now on the required gear list? Can’t I use my bivy sack?
A: Race participants have always been required to carry the gear necessary for a 24-hour bivouac on the course. Race safety managers have determined that the traditional bivy sack is insufficient for this purpose. “Bothy” or “envelope” style shelters (such as the Brooks Range Ultralite Alpini Shelter 200 or the Terra Nova Superlite Bothy 2) allow teammates to share warmth and a space to take care of each other in a time of need, with virtually no set-up time and less weight than a traditional bivy sac.
Q: Is a sleeping bag required?
A: No a sleeping bag is not required. For a full list of the mandatory gear, click here.
Q: Why is a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger required?
A: SPOT devices have proven to be life saving, vital communication tools in the backcountry. With the device working properly our professional snow safety team will have greater confidence in their ability to quickly locate teams. Additionally, the SPOT device will allow friends/family and the race organization to track teams live on the Live Tracking page under the Results tab on this website.
Q: Can I rent a SPOT?
A: Yes, you can rent a SPOT for $40. If you own a SPOT, there is a $15 set up fee to link your SPOT to the tracking page. These fees can be paid when you register.
Q: How do I re-mount a torn out binding on the course?
A: Nordic bindings ripping out of skis is not un-common on the race. One effective solution is to use steel wool, super glue (unlike epoxy, it sets quickly in cold temps) and a slurry of metal/wood shavings. Another possibility is to carry a large nail and use a rock to hammer in a new set of holes to re-mount the binding in another location (essentially ruining the ski, but getting a racer out of the woods). Another option is to carry longer screws, use the same hole and screw further into the ski being careful not to screw through to the underside. Racers need to know how to fix this issue and may be asked to explain their plan to the judges at gear check.
IMPORTANT: All information is subject to change. For the safety of racers and volunteers, weather and snow conditions may require a change in the race start time or location, the official course, or race rules – or may lead to cancellation. The registration fee is non-refundable.