Over the Weekend in Crested Butte: Delivering the goods at the 36th Al Johnson Uphill/Downhill Race

Al Johnson Race 2010

Over the Weekend in Crested Butte: Delivering the goods at the 36th Al Johnson Uphill/Downhill Race

Hi Everyone,
An extremely fun time was had by all last weekend at the annual Al Johnson Race on the North Face of Mount Crested Butte.  It seems each year the costumes and attitudes get better.  For us locals the AJ means the approach of spring and for visitors who have never seen the AJ before may be a little shocked by some of the costumes.  But, hey, that’s why our guests in Crested Butte come here, for the individuality and the uniqueness of the locals as well as the overwhelming beauty of our valley.  If you didn’t make it this year, make sure you come next year.  By the way, that’s me in the green stripped jacket in the first pic below.
Cheers,
Corey
Corey Dwan – REALTOR
Benson Sotheby’s International Realty
P.O. Box 210
433 Sixth Street
Crested Butte, CO 81224
970-596-3219 Cell
970-325-3219 World Wide Cell
970-349-6653 Office
970-797-1810 Fax
www.CrestedButteForSale.com
By Candace Horgan, Tuesday, Mar. 23 2010 @ 12:05PM
Categories: Mountain-town News, Skiing
After hosting the 14th annual Telemark Freeskiing Championships on Friday and Saturday, Crested Butte held the 36th annual Al Johnson Uphill/Downhill race on Sunday. The Al Johnson commemorates a mail carrier in the late 1800s who delivered mail on skis in the mining communities around Crested Butte, skiing with bags that weighed up to 25 pounds on skis that were nine to 14 feet long.

The race was first held in 1974. While some people do sprint to the finish line to get the prizes awarded to the top five finishers, most travel at a more relaxed pace. The race is really more of an almost-closing party for the locals, who get dressed up in elaborate costumes that can make skiing difficult. Several skiers from the Telemark Extremes also participated.

The uphill portion follows a snowmobile track that starts at the base of the North Face t-bar and switchbacks up to the top of the lift. From there, participants remove climbing skins and head down towards Last Steep via Rachel’s and Hard Slab. The race finishes with a slight uphill from the bottom of Last Steep to Black Eagle, just downhill from the East River lift. Spectators congregate at the finish line to watch some of the carnage on Last Steep, as skiers try to navigate the tricky terrain in costumes.

The Al Johnson is a telemark event only; no alpine touring is allowed for the race.

Race results will be posted on the Al Johnson site. The men’s winner, Travis Scheefer, finished the race in just over 13 minutes, while the women’s winner, Rebecca Dussault, finished in about 17 minutes. Most participants finish in 30 minutes to an hour.

Costumes were very creative, including the group that went as Tetris blocks, the garden gnomes, and the putting greens. For my money, the most impressive costumes were the contingent that went as the characters from “Spaceballs,” and the group of synchronized swimmers; even if temps were in the 40s, skiing in bathing suits?

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Candace Horgan
Team Canada
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Candace Horgan
Synchro swimmers
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Candace Horgan
Spaceballs
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Candace Horgan
Apollo Ohno look alikes
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Candace Horgan
The scene at the top of the uphill
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Candace Horgan
Last Steep from the finish line
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Candace Horgan
Deadhead Ed crosses the finish line