The Grand Traverse

The Elk Mountains Grand Traverse was conceived by Jan Runge in the 1990s. The race’s genesis was partially based on the historical mail routes that connected the Colorado mining towns of Crested Butte and Aspen in the 1880s.  It also drew inspiration from the Patrouille des Glaciers, a point-to-point ski race in Switzerland which Runge had become familiar with in the 80s.  In 1998, with the help of the community, Runge sent a brave field of competitors from Crested Butte, over the Elk Mountains, to Aspen. It worked, and the Extraordinary Backcountry Ski Race was born. In 2012, event ownership was transferred to Crested Butte Nordic. The race is now a major fundraiser for the organization. In 2014 the Grand Traverse summer events were launched. Now the Grand Traverse features a winter ski race, a summer mountain run, and a mountain bike race.

The Grand Traverse - Ski


Time elapse night scene looking up at Mt Crested Butte

An extraordinary Colorado backcountry route! The Grand Traverse is a point-to-point ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen.  Racers travel 40 miles across the Elk Mountain range, climbing over 6,800 vertical feet. To ensure competitor safety, racers must have a partner, carry mandatory gear, and begin the race at midnight when avalanche danger is low.

The Grand Traverse Mountain Run & Bike

Racer on course for the summer Grand Traverse Run



The Grand Traverse Mountain Run is a point-to-point ultra marathon from Crested Butte to Aspen, Colorado. The course follows the route of the Grand Traverse Backcountry Ski race. In total, runners travel 40 miles across the Elk Mountains with over 6,000′ of elevation gain.

Racer on course in the summer Grand Traverse Bike


Aspen to Crested Butte

The Grand Traverse Mountain Bike is no ordinary mountain bike race. It is a point-to-point from Aspen to Crested Butte, Colorado. In total, bikers travel 40 miles across the Elk Mountains with over 7,800′ of elevation gain. The course starts with a 3000′ ascent up Aspen Mountain before continuing deep into the Elk Mountains. This mountain bike race is not for the faint of heart.

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