At Midnight, racers set out from Crested Butte for Aspen, climbing through the Crested Butte Mountain Resort before racing to Taylor Pass and finishing with an exciting run down Aspen Mountain. Racers climb more than 7,800’ and travel more than 40 miles to complete the course. Finishers cross the finish line at the base of Aspen Mountain where they are welcomed by family, friends, live music and a sponsor expo.
Due to weather and snow safety considerations, the exact course cannot be finalized until race day. Race organizers may change the course based on snow conditions, weather or other safety concerns. In extreme circumstances, the course may be modified to finish in Crested Butte rather than in Aspen. The final course will be determined and described to racers at the Mandatory Race Meeting on Friday March 29 at 1:00 PM at the Grand Ballroom at Mountaineer Square in Mt. Crested Butte.
Start: Crested Butte, CO
Finish: Aspen, CO
Distance: 40 miles
Elevation Gain: 7, 800 feet
Typical Finishing Time: 8-16 hours
For 2013, racers will start at Midnight at the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort in front of Butte 66. They will climb the front side, Warming House Hill, to Houston and left to Painter Boy Lift. They will crest the hill and ski down to the Gold Link Lift. Racers leave the ski area near the Gold Link lift, descend to the valley floor, cross the East River and head south to Brush Creek Road. The course then follows Brush Creek Road until it turns onto Forest Service Trail 400. The course climbs FS Trail 400 past the Friends Hut, then on to Star Pass. From Star Pass the course continues to Taylor Pass on FS Trail 761A, then along the Richmond Hill Road (FS 123) to the Barnard Hut. At Barnard Hut there will be a mandatory medical check and 10 minute stop over. From the Barnard Hut the course proceeds north on Richmond Ridge until reaching the Aspen Mountain Ski Area. Racers ski down Aspen Mountain on the Spar Gulch Run to the finish line at the bottom of the Aspen Mountain Gondola.
The course is generally unmarked. Racers must find their own route to the aid stations and mandatory checkpoints. This is a backcountry race and participants will have only limited support once they are on the course.
Motorized vehicles are not allowed from Brush Creek to Star Pass, so a medical evacuation is by sled only. Racers must be prepared to self-rescue and be self-supported in the event of an emergency
There are four cut-off points on the course:
Friends Hut – Racers must reach the Friends Hut by 7:00 AM. Teams that do not meet this cut-off will be turned around and must return to Crested Butte.
Star Pass – racers must reach Star Pass by 8:00 AM. Teams that do not meet this cut-off will be turned around and must return to Crested Butte.
Barnard Hut – There is a mandatory 10-minute stop and medical check at the Barnard Hut. Racers must reach the Barnard Hut by 2:00 PM. Racers that do not meet this cut-off must ski to a pre-determined pick up point, where they will be escorted to the Sundeck and downloaded on the Aspen Gondola.
Aspen Mountain Gate – racers must reach the top of Aspen Mountain by 4:00 PM. Racers that do not make this cut-off will be escorted to the Sundeck and downloaded on the Aspen Gondola.
There are two aid stations on the course near the Friends Hut and Barnard Hut.
Each team is required to carry one SPOT GPS tracker. Trackers will be activated the day of the race. Tracking can be done on the Live Tracking page under the results tab on this website.
For a downloadable map click on document below.
The race has seen a range of weather. To stay on top of current weather in the area, please visit the following sites:
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.
The Grand Traverse is operating under a Special Use Permit on the Gunnison National Forest.