Kloser leads Team Beaver Creek to Victory at America’s Uphill
By Ian Cropp - DAILY SPORTS WRITER
ASPEN, CO — When most people get older, they slow down. 47 year old Mike Kloser has other ideas. He won the overall title at America’s Uphill in Aspen. This year, unlike in years past, competitors had the option of wearing shoes with crampons or other types of spikes. Before, competitors had to showshoe, Nordic or telemark ski. Higher temperatures and soft snow made shoes the optimal choice for many of the 284 racers. Kloser finished the course in 43 minutes, 26 seconds.
Before Kloser edged out Beaver Creek teammate Josiah Middaugh in the race, he decided to climb the mountain for a warmup. “ I skinned up on my Nordic skis at 6:30 a. m.,” Kloser said. “ As you get a little older, you have to have a little more warmup. This morning, I had a good warmup and start.” Aspen’s Jonathan Severy jumped out to an early lead, but Middaugh closed in soon enough. Kloser passed Middaugh halfway up the mountain and held his lead for the rest of the race. Beaver Creek’s Bernie Boettcher was fourth, while teammate Josh Nota placed seventh. Along with Anita Ortiz’s top women’s division finish, Beaver Creek cruised to a team win. “ We’ve been winning the team competition for 10 years,” Kloser said.
Still wanting vengeance
Although he won, Kloser thought it would have been a sweeter victory if he had beaten last year’s champion, Noah Hoffman. “ I was really hoping he’d be here so I could have some vengeance,” Kloser said. Hoffman, a senior at Aspen High School, won the 3A state cross country title and recently won the classical race at the Junior Nordic Olympics but wasn’t present Saturday. Kloser’s son, Christian, 13, was second in the 18 and under group.
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