On Sunday, Feb. 6, six Summit County athletes took part in the Heathen Challenge ski mountaineering race at Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs.
The Heathen Challenge is the longest continuously run Colorado ski mountaineering race and features elite and recreation divisions. This year, the race field was one of the biggest ever, with 138 competitors.
The Summit racers took part in the elite race, covering more than 11 miles and 5,500 feet of terrain while skinning, skiing and boot packing.
Nikki LaRochelle, of Breckenridge, spearheaded the elite women’s division as she finished the course in 2 hours, 34 minutes and 34 seconds to be the first female across the line. The 37-year-old finished 20th overall among the elite field, regardless of gender.
Brooke Haynes, 28, of Breckenridge, came in fifth in the elite women’s field, finishing the course in 3:05:27. Haynes finished 59th overall.
In the men’s elite field, Summit had four participants. Frisco resident Arthur Whitehead finished in sixth overall and fifth in the 19-44 age group in a time of 2:15:39.
Whitehead was followed by Sam Burke, who attends Western State University. Burke finished 13th overall and first in the U18 age category in a time of 2:29:01.
Jake Sivinski, of Dillon, landed in 15th in the 19-44 age group, finishing the course in 2:33:14.
Rounding out the Summit talent was 49-year-old Thomas Zoehrer, from Dillon, who completed the 11-mile, quad-crushing course in just under three hours in 2:59:00. Zoehrer placed 53rd overall and seventh in his age division.