FAQs

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 will be registration link (button) on the home page of this website.   Teams can also register for a Charity Entry slot 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 – Refuge Checkpoint #1
8:00 AM – Star Pass Checkpoint
2:00 PM – Refuge Checkpoint #2
4:00 PM – Aspen Mountain Gate Checkpoint
5:00 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. The final course route, weather forecast and safety procedures will also be discussed at the Mandatory Racer Meeting the day of the race.

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.  WARNING- this web application is not flawless, oftentimes it may appear that teams are not advancing on the course.  If a family member has concerns about a teams current position, they may call the race dispatch at (970)-349-1707 to get updated checkpoint information.

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 will be collected 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. 

  • Map

    For a downloadable PDF of the Grand Traverse Map please click here: Grand Traverse Map

  • Course Facts

    Start: Crested Butte, CO
    Finish: Aspen, CO
    Distance: 40 miles
    Elevation Gain: 7,800 feet
    Typical Finishing Time: 8-16 hours

  • Snow Safety

    Teams of avalanche forecasters assess the route in the weeks prior to the race. Current regional avalanche conditions can be found here:

    Colorado Avalanche Information Center

    Crested Butte Avalanche Center

  • Crested Butte Weather

    Current conditions for Crested Butte as of Wed, 16 Apr 2014 6:14 am MDT

    Partly Cloudy

    28°

    High: 49° Low: 26°

    Partly Cloudy

    Feels like: 28 °F

    Barometer: 29.92 in and steady

    Humidity: 63%

    Visibility: 10 mi

    Dewpoint: 26 °F

    Wind: 5 mph

    Sunrise: 6:29 am

    Sunset: 7:45 pm