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It’s not just about football
Harriers, spikers and women’s soccer set
for a challenging season
by Thom Hill
If the University of Colorado’s cross country teams’ finishes in last year’s national championship races were a disappointment, head coach Mark Wetmore has only himself to blame. Wetmore has built a model program, so when the men came in 7th and the women 23rd, it was a bit of a letdown. For some perspective, the Colorado men’s team has won the national title three times since 2001, and the women have captured the title twice since 2000.
It appears the men will field a more balanced group this fall. While a roster that includes veterans Bradley Harkrader, Kenyon Neuman and Chris Pannone doesn’t have a likely individual-title contender, the Buffs should be solid in their one through five runners, all important in the team standings.
There’s a star, however, on the women’s side. Jenny Barringer is heading into her senior year of cross country this fall. She’ll compete for the Buffs on the heels of running in the 3,000-meter steeplechase during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Barringer went into the Olympics in August as the American record-holder in the event. She was second in the Big 12 and NCAA cross country championships in 2007, and should be in the hunt for an individual title once again. And she’ll have the chance to battle her nemesis from 2007, Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego, who won both the conference and national crowns.
Go see the Buffs: CU will host its annual Rocky Mountain Shootout at the course on CU’s South Campus Oct. 4. The meet is always the best chance for race fans to see what kind of shape the Buffalo veterans are in as they prep for the Big 12 Championships (Nov. 1 in Ames, Iowa), and get a first look at the newest CU harriers.
Can Buffs excel with part-time Marshall?
You know your program is doing something right when one of your players is so talented she has to miss part of your season because she’s playing on the national squad. Nikki Marshall, from Mead, Colo., is part of the National U-20 team that will play in the FIFA World Cup games in Chile beginning in late November. The Buffs’ best player will have to miss some time during CU’s season in order to train with the national team. And if Colorado makes it to the NCAA tournament in November — they made it to the second round a year ago — they’ll have to play without Marshall.
Look for seniors Michelle Wenino, Alex Cousins, Nikki Keller and Gianna DeSaverio to try and end their careers on a bang, with or without Marshall in the lineup.
Go see the Buffs: The Colorado soccer team welcomes Florida (Aug. 22) and Denver (Aug. 24) to Prentup Field to open its season. Four more non-conference home games are on tap before CU hosts Oklahoma Sept. 26 in its conference home opener.
Sutherland’s return a plus for spikers
The Colorado volleyball team will begin its 2008 season on better footing than the 2007 for one simple reason: Their outside hitter, probably the team’s best offensive weapon, is healthy and ready to play. A year ago, the Buffs got a shock in early August when it was discovered the 5-10 banger from Glenwood Springs would miss the season with a shoulder injury. It’s a shock from which the Buffs never really recovered. A youthful squad struggled to a 6-22 mark last fall, by far the worst in Pi’i Aiu’s 11 years as head coach at CU.
Things are looking up, though, thanks to Amber Sutherland’s return for her senior season. Alex Buth was a bright spot for the Buffs on the right side, and she’s back for her senior year, too.
Go see the Buffs: The CU spikers are in Mississippi and Texas in two tournaments to open their season. They return to Boulder for a big homecoming match with instate rival Colorado State on Sept. 10.
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A round-up of Boulder’s best mountain bike trails
by James Dziezynski
Boulder has a great mix of mountain-bike trails for riders of all abilities. Here’s a rundown of some of the best local riding, most of which is no more than a 20-minute ride away.
New bikers (or those who haven’t saddled up in a while) often appreciate terrain that offers off-road excitement with the option to take on the technical aspects at their own pace. The well-groomed trails at Marshall Mesa offer incredible views of the Flatirons with non-technical riding along wide trails. The Marshall Mesa trailhead can be found by heading south out of town on Broadway (CO 93) to the intersection of CO 170 (Eldorado Springs Road). Turn left (east) at the light and take a quick right to the parking lot and trailhead. By connecting Marshall Mesa with the Greenbelt Plateau, Doudy Draw and Community Ditch Trails, it’s possible to make a roughly 8-mile loop down to Eldorado Springs and back. A similar set of trails can be found at the Sage and Eagle Trails in north Boulder, accessed by going on Highway 36 roughly one mile north of the Highway 36 and Broadway intersection and turning right onto Longhorn Road to the Sage Trail trailhead.
Betasso Preserve Connector Trail
Betasso’s three-mile loop trail is mostly fast, true singletrack with some modest climbing in the mix. Experienced riders will dig opening it up and making a few loops on the scenic ride, while newer riders can enjoy the twisty trail without worrying about burly technical sections. For added value, a more challenging 1.25-mile connector trail drops from Betasso’s loop to a small parking area just before the tunnel on Highway 119 (Boulder Canyon). Many people opt to bike the multi-use path up Canyon to this lower trailhead, roughly 2.5 miles from the start of the climb up Boulder Canyon. The standard Betasso Trailhead can be reached by driving up Hwy 119 (Boulder Canyon) to Sugarloaf Road on your right. Drive three-quarters of a mile up the steep, paved road then take a right onto Betasso Road. The lower trailhead is three-quarters of a mile on the left (north) side of the road. Note that Betasso is closed to bikers Wednesdays and Saturdays and the loop changes direction every month.
Heil Valley Ranch
Heil is a rocky but fun trail with intermediate difficulty and a thrilling descent. The out-and-back Wapiti Trail climbs 2.5 miles to an intersection where riders can take on the rocky 2.6-mile lollipop loop of the Ponderosa Trail or take a 2.9-mile tour on the freshly minted (as of October 2007) Wild Turkey Trail. The Wild Turkey Trail is less rocky with sections of tight singletrack and a few banked turns along the way; it also connects in with the northern top of the Ponderosa Trail, making it a nice detour that starts and ends along the main trail. The new Picture Rock Trail will also start from roughly the middle of the Wild Turkey Trail. A fun route that goes up the Wapiti, down the Wild Turkey and returning on the east side of the Ponderosa Loop is roughly a 10-mile ride that takes about an hour and a half at a good pace. To reach Heil Valley Ranch, go north on Highway 36 and turn left onto Left Hand Canyon. Turn right at the Heil Valley Ranch sign about a mile up Left Hand Canyon and follow the dirt road to the trailhead.
Walker’s 7.6-mile loop has a great mix of technical terrain and fast, rolling sections that is more geared towards intermediate and advanced riders. A handful of tricky rock sections are great practice for your technical skills, and the climbs are steep but rideable in most cases. One exception is a staircase that you’re going to have to carry your bike up or down, depending on the way you’re riding the loop. The hike-a-bike is short, and the rest of the ride is more than worth the effort: beautiful mountain views, great singletrack and a particularly charming section that parallels South Boulder Creek. To reach Walker, take the steep, paved Flagstaff Road (that starts at the western terminus of Baseline Road near Chautauqua) roughly eight miles. The marked Walker Ranch Trailhead is on the left (east) side of the road up a short dirt hill road just past the Meyer’s Gulch Trailhead.
Just Outside of Town
Hall Ranch is 1.2 miles west of Lyons on Highway 7 (headed towards Allenspark). This classic ride features a series of challenging technical terrain followed by a fast and fun lollipop loop. White Ranch and Apex are part of the great trail systems in Golden. Finally, Centennial Cone is an extended 10-mile-plus loop of fast, clean, smooth singletrack that starts in either Clear Creek Canyon near Mayhem Gulch or from Golden Gate Canyon Road. Nearby Golden Gate State Park offers a good mix of riding with some truly challenging technical aspects.
For more information, including maps and regulations, go to www.bouldercounty.org/openspace/.
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2008-2009 Student Ski Guide
If you want a PhD in powder,
your education starts right here
by Isaac Woods Stokes
Several Warren Millers ago, a wanna-be extreme skier with a dubious attitude and an even more dubious one-piece ski outfit stood atop a monster cliff talking smack and surveying the drop.
“I’m not the best skier on the hill,” he announced, “but I’m not the smartest either.”
He grinned and appeared to launch himself over an almost certainly un-survivable drop. As his personage appeared to tumble lunchmeat-like into the void, you ultimately realized as the camera pulled away that a real dummy, not this gentleman, had been sacrificed for the cameras.
But you’re no dummy. You know that Colorado has got the goods when it comes to the finest powder and fairest winter weather in the country. Yes, it’s no accident that the “thin envelope” from centers of higher education in lower altitudes, such as Ithaca, didn’t really impress you, did they? A sunny day in Boulder for every cloudy day at most Ivy League locations — who’s looking smart now, Mister Perfect SATs? Pursuing a PhD in powder is where your priorities are, and here is what you need to know to go summa cum laude on the slopes.
Eldora: As always the go-to hill for locals who want to make mucho laps. Because Eldora is fewer than 20 miles from town and accessible by regular bus service, you’ll find yourself running into more and more ski acquaintances every year. The secret is rapidly getting out: despite a few actual rocks, Eldora rocks! The argument is the same as ever but even more compelling, as gas prices spike to new highs. Figure out what 150 miles round trip plus paid parking at other ski areas costs you, and then look right up the hill to Eldora and compare. Free parking, zero hassles, mellow vibe extraordinaire, and plenty of soul sliding at verrry reasonable prices (last spring, the ’08-’09 student pass was pre-sold at a righteous price of $139). Last advice: get to the glades. When the wind gets whipping, where do you think all that fresh snow is deposited? Moose, Salto and Placer tree runs harbor some of the finest consistent skiing in the state. Do some research on these pitches and you will be richly rewarded. Go to www.eldora.com.
Steamboat: This has always been one of the quality hills in Colorado. Regular d-e-e-p snowfall, out of the I-70 zoo scene, and the mountain is full of truly friendly locals. The only downfall has been that the facilities were badly dated, the place needed a major facelift. Now with the recent acquisition of the resort by deep pocketed Intrawest, owners of world-class Whistler ski area, the place is guaranteed to get the love and dollars it needs this season and going forward. In the meantime, the drive up and over super snowy Rabbit Ears Pass is as hypnotic as ever, and the schussing that has kept Olympian Billy Kidd brim deep in powder for decades never disappoints. Look for local stashes such as “one thirty, two thirty,” etc, that hold fresh snow for days after dumps. If you really want to go big and heat up the Visa card, check out Steamboat Powdercats for a day of faceshots that will be seared into your synapses for life… it’s that good. Go to www.steamboat.com and steamboatpowdercats.com.
Vail: Go for it. Yes, it’s a haul. Yes, the parking garage fees may have you eating ramen regularly, and, yep, there will definitely be crowds. And yet, you’ll inevitability find yourself standing somewhere in the Back Bowls utterly alone, taking in a vista that seems to encompass more ski terrain than many entire states back east have to offer. In fact, Vail probably brought you to Colorado in some way or another. Either you were fortunate enough to take a vacation there, or maybe you were just hooked by a picture or story about the ski kingdom in a ski mag. Or maybe a buddy just let Vail roll off the tongue one too many times when describing an adventure you wish you’d participated in. Now it’s your turn to do the talking, get there and start making legends. Riva Run, Little Ollie and Game Creek are not to be missed. The place is capital “H” Humungous, and a trail map is a mark of distinction, not of ignorance. Drilling down into offbeat terrain and knowing lift flow is essential for a resort of 5,000 plus acres. Expansive doesn’t begin to describe it. Go to www.vail.com.
Durango Mountain Resort: Arguably located in the most beautiful corner of our eye-popping state, DMR gives you a taste of easy-going skiing from decades ago. Un-crowded is an understatement, and the 2,000 vertical and 1,200 acres are likely to be all yours to frolic in. Aspens stands extraordinaire, a 400-foot half pipe, and the Pitchfork terrain park are highlights. The resort is undergoing a huge multi-year development effort, and as a result always has good package deals for ski/stay. The town of Durango just down the road will meet your sushi and microbrew needs and, as a bonus, the town stays sunny and warm most of the winter much like our fair city. For maximum enjoyment, combo a visit to DMR with a visit to the almost shockingly beautiful Telluride, ski some silky backcountry off Red Mountain Pass, and hit Silverton Mountain for the steeps and the über-desirable yellow triangle sticker for your auto. Go to www.durangomountainresort.com, tellurideskiresort.com and silvertonmountain.com.
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