Fun for all ages: Powderhorn Town Race gives adults a chance to race like kids again
Inspired by the quarterback of his favorite professional football team, 40-year-old Joe Carlson of Cedaredge came out of retirement himself to race in Saturday’s inaugural Powderhorn Racing Club Town Race.
Wearing the throwback Minnesota Vikings jersey of 1980s running back Ted Brown and sporting a plastic Vikings helmet, Carlson sped down the giant slalom course on Wonderbump in 28.41 seconds.
“The last time I did something on the clock, in gates, was 25 years ago,” Carlson said. “It was fun, exhilarating, and brings back a lot of memories.”
Carlson felt Brett Favre-esque racing down the hill as one of the 60 competitors in the race. Most competitors wore traditional ski garb, but Carlson had other plans.
“The 40-year-old Favre had trouble last week, but I’m a fan through thick and thin, so I carry pride in the jersey,” Carlson said. “The jersey is a throwback to Ted Brown, who was very influential on me when I was young.”
Carlson might have been paying homage to his favorite childhood hero, but his participation was helping his own kin. All the proceeds from the town race benefit the Powderhorn Racing Club, which runs the Buddy Werner and other youth skiing programs. Carlson’s 9-year-old son, Peter, is a Buddy Werner racer.
“When I was his age I liked to ski race, but I eventually shelved it to be a dad,” Carlson said. “I was on the fence if I was going to do it, and I asked my son and he said ‘Oh yeah, you’re doing it.’ It was a lot of fun, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Although Peter Carlson was saving his energy for today’s Buddy Werner race, many of the participants in the town race were made up of families. Buddy Werner racers and USSA racers were competing side-by-side with their family and friends.
Powderhorn Racing Club President John Morris got his whole family involved in the race. Rather, it might have been his daughters, Birgit, 10, and Marta, 12, got their parents, John and Stephanie, on the slopes. Although John and Stephanie both grew up skiing, currently it’s the younger Morrises who are the stars of the family.
Marta and Birgit are two of the top young skiers at Powderhorn, and made sure their parents got in the race.
“They wouldn’t have not let us race today,” Stephanie Morris said. “I raced in high school and I haven’t done anything since. It’s fun to get back in there, and the kids think it’s fun to beat us.”
Marta Morris took home bragging rights for the morning run, finishing in 28.31 seconds, ahead of her dad’s 30.22, younger sister Birgit’s 29.43 and mom’s 32.83.
Marta has been skiing USSA for four years, and looking to make the Junior Olympic team this winter.
“This is a really fun thing we can all do,” Marta Morris said. “My parents were really looking forward to it.”
Event organizer Darcie Perkins said a town race at Powderhorn is something that been discussed for a while. Although the desire to have a town race has always been there, Saturday’s event didn’t get put into motion until recently.
“There has been a vocalized request for it among our racing parents,” Perkins said. “It came up as an idea in November, so it’s been a quick process, and this year if it goes well, we are considering future races.”
The race was meant to raise funds for the youth racers, but it might have been the adult racers who got the biggest kick out of maneuvering through the gates.
“This is great, a lot parents get to watch their kids, but now they get out there and try it themselves,” Ron Wilson said. “I haven’t had on a race bib since high school, and gates change everything. They tell you where to go and you have to turn in a precise way.”
Wilson spends a lot of his time at Powderhorn, either on the slopes himself or watching his son, Jed, race in Buddy Werner. Wilson said the town race was not only a great time for the adults racing in it, but also a solid fundraiser for the club.
“This is a great turnout,” Wilson said. “There are always financial needs, whether it’s gates or timing equipment or bibs. It costs a lot of money to run a ski program and takes a lot of volunteers.”