Last Saturday marked the Seventeenth Annual Spud Chase presented by Peaked Sports. The event showcases the beautiful trails of Teton Springs which are open and free to the public. Net proceeds of the race benefit the Teton Valley Trails and Pathways grooming fund and help TVTAP groom over 40k of trails that are open and free for public use. In addition, racer awards are Non-Profit Bucks that the winners can donate to the local non-profit of their choice. Racers are also treated to a raffle in which every participant wins a prize with the grand prize being a pair of Rossignol skate skis which were won this year by Larry Thal of Wilson. Peaked Sports was able to make $800 of cash contributions from the Non-Profit Bucks and race proceeds distributed as follows: TVTAP $500, Teton Valley Ski Education Foundation $200, Teton Valley Aquatics $50 and Targhee Animal Shelter $50.
Over 50 racers, about half of them kids, were greeted by an overcast day with temperatures in the low thirties and a slight wind. About an inch of new snow fell the night before the race over a firm base. A 6 a.m. grooming by Kevin Hinkley mixed the new snow into the firm base creating excellent skating conditions.
In the 0.5k event, Carrissa Hibbert led the girls, while River Young led the boys. Guthrie Snead was the youngest racer at 5, finishing with a smile on his face and ready for next year. At the 2.5k distance, Daisha Jacoby led the girls, while Olin Hugo led the boys.
The 6k, 12k and 24k distances all started together on the same course. This required a bit of negotiation at the start since some of the racers on the shorter courses were faster than those on the 24k course. Everybody cooperated on the start with no broken poles after a group fell in the first turn. Sam Kreig from Pocatello and Pat Bragasa skied together the entire 24k with Sam taking the win by 5 seconds. Sam’s time of 1:05:54 was 1:42 faster than his winning time last year. In the women’s race, Becky Bjork of Victor was first in 1:15:07.
In the 12k race, 17-year-old Arden Jacoby won for the men in 34 :50 which was 2:25 faster than his winning time from last year. Barb Lindquist was second overall and the first woman in 36:57, 3:21 faster than her winning time from last year. Barb was closely followed by 17-year-old Sara Olerud and 16-year-old Annika Peacock. On the other end of the age spectrum, Heinz Walther, the oldest competitor at 81, finished in a very respectable 56:57 which is 6:16 faster than his time from last year.
In the 6k race,15-year-old Asher Jacoby came through in 15:53 followed by 15-year old Jacob Collins in 16:07. Rachel Bender was the first female in 24:03, following her sons, 12-year-old Caleb and 10-year-old Sam who finished in front of Mom.
Results, awards, raffle and food followed at 1 p.m. in the conference room of the Teton Springs Lodge. Thanks to Teton Springs Lodge for the use of the conference room which was really appreciated and to 460 Bread for the great bread and rolls for the post-race food. Save the date for next year’s 18th Annual Spud Chase, Jan. 30 2021.