After 24 miles and more than 10,000 vertical feet of terrain, the team of John Gaston and Max Taam won the 2019 Audi Power of Four ski mountaineering championships on March 2. The event started at 6 a.m. that day in Snowmass Base Village and attracted an elite field of local and international athletes who hiked and ski across the four area mountains.
Because of a foot of snow overnight at Highlands, the race route was shifted for the two-person teams to Deep Temerity. This year, the Power of Four race was named the USSMA Ski Mountaineering National Championship, it was noted in a press release.
Gaston and Taam’s winning time was 4 hours 45 minutes 26 seconds. Jessie Young and Nikki Larochelle captured the win in the women’s division with a time of 5:42:38. Saturday was Gaston’s seventh Audi Power of Four victory and Taam’s sixth.
Racer categories were broken into open (male and female, age 21 and up), master’s (both sexes, age 45 and up), espoir (male and female, age 21, 22, 23), junior (male and female, age 18, 19, 20) and cadet (17 and under). For the Power of Two event that spanned across Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain, divisions were broken into Rec Men’s, Rec Women’s, Rec Coed and Rec Vet.
Winners in both the male and female Audi Power of Four open division earned $1,500 in cash prizes, with second place winning $700 and third place taking home $300.
For every vertical meter skied by finishers of the Power of Four, Dynafit, the ski touring brand, donated one euro to their global Snow Leopard Day that provides funds to the protection of the snow leopard, according to a press release.
Full race results here.