CRESTED BUTTE, Colorado—The Alley Loop Nordic Marathon has been Crested Butte’s best costume party and premier nordic ski competition for more than thirty-ﬁve years, but for the ﬁrst time in 2022 it will include a team competition, dubbed the Alley Loop Club Clash, with a team prize purse totaling $11,100 that’s sure to ramp up the competition across all six races.
Nordic skiing is well-known as an individual sport, but behind the scenes of elite racing, there’s always a team of athletes, coaches, wax techs, and more who support the individual racers. At the amateur level, it’s usually a team of friends or a club that supports each other, and so this year the Alley Loop is bringing this team spirit to the race tracks.
The Alley Loop consists of eight nordic ski races that will take place on February 5, 2022. Racers weave their way through the quaint streets and historic alleys of downtown Crested Butte before hitting the immaculately groomed nordic trails outside of town. While the 42 km. skate marathon regularly draws elite racers from around the country with its $1,000 grand prize, most people come to the Alley Loop for the costumes. Whether it’s the 1 km. kids’ race or the 21 km. half-marathon, you’re likely to see competitors in everything from subtle tutus to outrageous, homemade cardboard bobsleds that link six skiers together (for better or worse).
The team competition takes advantage of the Alley Loop’s spirit of camaraderie and competition. With six competitive races (42 km. skate and classic, 21 km. skate and classic, 10 km. freestyle, and 5 km. freestyle), each team is required to have six racers, one for each event. Teams must include at least two women, but otherwise there are no requirements. Grandparents can join up with grandkids, friends can group together, and nordic ski clubs from around the country can pool their skiers to form the most competitive teams possible. Teams will be scored “cross-country style”: each individual will earn points based on their standing in the overall ﬁeld, earning fewer points the higher they place. The team with the lowest cumulative points wins. With $3,600 on the line for ﬁrst place, and cash prizes going ﬁve teams deep, there’s some real incentive to start thinking about nordic as a team sport, after all.
Crested Butte Nordic is a 501(c)(3) nonproﬁt that maintains 50 kilometers of scenic cross-country ski and snowshoe trails around the Town of Crested Butte. Its mission is to provide individuals of all ages and abilities the opportunity to learn, enjoy, and improve in the sports of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. CB Nordic fulﬁlls this mission through groomed trails, equipment rentals, lessons, tours, programs, gourmet backcountry dining, and events, like the Alley Loop Nordic Marathon.