Friday, July 19, 2019
Boulder Mountain Tour Held in Honor of Jon Engen
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The Boulder Mountain Tour is one of America’s premier cross-country ski races.
 
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Four-time Olympian Andrew Newell will head up an elite Zions Bank Boulder Mountain Tour men’s field when the 46th annual race takes place on Saturday.

He will be challenging 2018 champion Matt Gelso of Sun Valley, as well as the 2018 Bronze medalist Bryan Cook, the 2012 Boulder Mountain Tour and American Birkebeiner champion Matt Liebsch and the 2008 Boulder Mountain Tour champion Michael Sinnott.

But the women’s field is a free for all, with three-time defending champion Caitlin Gregg set to give birth this month.

 
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Jon Engen, who taught at Sun Valley Nordic Center, possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of Nordic skiing and an eagle sharp eye for technique.
 

That doesn’t mean it won’t be competitive, though. Annie Pokorny, a former Gold Team racer with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, is gunning for first after finishing fourth in 2018. And Sloan Storey, a SVSEF coach, will try to improve on her third-place finish in 2016, even as she races to raise money for The Hunger Coalition.

 They will be challenged by Emily Williams another SVSEF coach and alum, as well as the 2017 women’s silver medalist Erika Flowers.

Between 800 and a thousand participants are expected to take part—more than 150 in the 15k Half Boulder.

And this year there will be a non-timed Ninth Wave for participants who want to embrace the touring, rather than the racing aspect of the event.

 
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Many of Jon Engen’s friends, including those from Bozeman, Mont., where he attended Montana State University, are expected to ski the Boulder Mountain Tour in his memory.
 

This year’s race is being held in memory of Jon Engen who, though Norwegian by birth, helped pave the way for America’s recent successes in cross country skiing at the world level.

In his honor, the inaugural Jon Engen Award will be given to the man and woman who improves their time the most from the year before.

Engen competed in the 1988 Olympics at Calgary, the 1992 Olympics at Albertville and the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer. And he posted top 20 World Cup finishes in both biathlon and Nordic racing.

He used his engineering background and laser-like focus on biomechanics and state-of-the-art training techniques to help other Nordic skiers and bicyclists become more efficient.

And in 2002 he became chairman of the U.S. Cross-Country Ski Team, a position he held for more than a decade.

During his tenure the U.S. team climbed from 58th in the world to fourth. U.S. skiers, who had been shut off the medal stand since Bill Koch’s surprise silver medal in the 30-kilometer race at the 1976 Olympics, began collecting World Cup medals.

One of Engen’s greatest satisfactions was seeing Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall win the United States’ first Olympic gold medal in Nordic skiing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

He died of pancreatic cancer a couple months later in April 2018 at his home in Sun Valley.

Boulder Mountain Tour events get underway today with a free pre-race clinic at the Sun Valley Resort today—Wednesday, Jan. 30.

And a week-long slate of events will include the NordicTown USA Sprints on Thursday, Demo Days on Sunday and the always popular Ski the Rails next weekend on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Here’s the lineup:

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30—FREE PRE-RACE CLINIC

Sun Valley Ski Education Gold Team racers will offer race tips for Boulder Mountain Tour racers from 10 a.m. to noon, and Sun Valley Nordic Center is providing free trail passes for those who check in with the ski desk prior to the clinic.

THURSDAY, Jan. 31—NORDICTOWN USA SPRINTS and KICK-OFF PARTY

The short, fast and furious races will be held at Simplot field across the street from the Ketchum Post Office. This year’s event will include a “Regs and Dregs” class for citizen racers.

Youth mass starts start at 4:30 p.m.; regs and dregs at 5 p.m. and the elite class at 5:15 p.m.

 Awards will be handed out at the Limelight Hotel afterwards, coinciding with a kickoff celebration from 5:30 to 8 p.m. featuring live music by Ketchum’s Pisten Bullys, who play a mix of alternative country, original rock and classics and food and drink specials.

FRIDAY, Feb. 1—BOULDER MOUNTAIN TOUR EXPO

Vendors will offer Nordic skiing related items from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Limelight Hotel where racers will pick up their bibs and swag. Vendors include artist John Caccia, Pit Viper of Utah, Brynje, SWIX, Madshus and Boulder Nordic Sport. Also on hand: the Blaine County Recreation District, Sun Valley Ski Academy and The Hunger Coalition.

SATURDAY, Feb. 2—BOUDER MOUNTAIN TOUR RACE and AWARDS PARTY

The race starts at 10 a.m. at Galena Lodge and follows a race course 34 kilometers south to the finish line at the SNRA. The winners should arrive just over an hour into the race.

Half-Boulder racers jump into the fray at Baker Creek Road.

The awards ceremony and party will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Sun Valley Resort’s Limelight Room.

SPECTATORS are welcome to watch both start and finish. Free shuttle busses will ferry spectators from Hemingway STEEAM School in Ketchum to Galena Lodge. And they will ferry spectators to the finish.

Shuttle buses bound for the lodge leave between 7 and 9:15 a.m. They will leave from the lodge for the finish line at 10:15 a.m., 10:45 and 11:15 a.m.

Shuttles for those want to head from Ketchum to the finish line and back again will run continuously between 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Spectators who want to drive their own vehicles should park on Barlow Road, a quarter mile south of the finish area at SNRA headquarters.

SUNDAY, Feb. 3—DEMO DAYS

Local shops and industry representatives will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sun Valley Nordic Center with the latest cross-country ski gear and tips. Racers can show their race bibs for a trail pass; the general public can buy a trail pass for a discounted price of $10. Sun Valley Resort will have burgers, brats and veggie burgers for sale between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

SATURDAY, Feb. 9—SKI THE RAILS

A free cross country ski tour for skiers of all abilities and their dogs will begin in Ketchum and wind south to Hailey along the Wood River bike path beginning at 10 a.m. with refreshments stationed along the way. The Sun Valley Brewery will have a bonfire and live music. Shuttle busses will ferry skiers from Hailey to the start of the race; they will take Ketchum skiers back up.

For more information, visit www.bouldermountaintour.com.

 

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