Thursday, October 3, 2013
Gore Mountain Leaf Cruncher 5K: 09/28/2013
Before actually running the race, I chalked up that “toughest” claim to enthusiastic exaggeration, but the course was tough enough that I logged what is probably my slowest-ever 5K result: 27:03, still good enough for 3rd place overall (don’t be too impressed, there were only 20 competitors).
Having skied at Gore for something like 30 years, I thought I knew every nook and cranny, but the race covered a fair amount of terrain that I’ve never seen on skis. The first part of the course cuts across the bottom of Showcase and Echo, then enters the woods at the bottom of the Sagamore Glade for a long stretch of single tack, eventually dumping runners out on Cedars. Racers run down Cedars towards the Burnt Ridge Quad, back up Cedars nearly to the base lodge, and then into the woods for a long stretch on some of the cross-country ski trails, before finishing up in front of the lodge. It’s fair to say that none of the course is flat. Rocks, routes and route-finding can be challenging, particularly in the woods.
So that was fun, right up my alley. Gore did a great job with prizes too, including lift tickets, knapsacks and a pair of skis. Anyone who’s a Gore skier and wants to see the mountain in a different light, put this event on your calendar for next year.
Our race registration included complimentary gondola tickets, and the weather was perfect for a post-race foliage tour, so up the mountain we went. The gondi seemed to have a steady stream of tourists all day – busy, but not enough for a line to form. As you can see from the photos, the leaves are at or near peak. Some trees were already bare in the uppermost elevations, but the lower mountain should remain quite colorful for the next weekend or two.
From the gondi we could see the work that has been done on Hedges. As skiers may know, Hedges is being re-configured to provide access from the top of the Burnt Ridge Quad to Tahawus and the North Quad. The trail will cross the Tahawus Glade and then connect to the Tahawus trail. I’m all for enhancing Burnt Ridge’s connectivity to the rest of the mountain, but hopefully the new connector will not disrupt the Tahawus Glade too much. Other terrain expansion for 2013-14 includes the new Boreas Glades on Burnt Ridge and two new glades at the Ski Bowl, Ridge Runner Glades and Little Gore Glades. You can read about all of Gore’s 2013-14 improvements here.
Next time we ride the gondi will probably be on opening weekend of the 2013-14 ski season, hopefully less than two months from now.
Photo credit, second photo ("Start of the Leaf Cruncher 5K"): Emily Stanton and Gore Mountain