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Boulder Mountain Tour Crowns Another Hometown Boy
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Sunday, February 5, 2023
 

 STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Peter Wolter eagerly snapped into a pair of cross-country skis at age 2. He began skiing with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation in second grade. He skied the 15K Half-Boulder Tour with his mother Molly! Goodyear as a sixth-grader and in his first full Boulder Mountain Tour as a seventh-grader.

And on Saturday, in his first time racing it since seventh grade, the 24-year-old kid from Hailey won the Boulder Mountain Tour to cap its 50th anniversary.

“Growing up this has always been the classic iconic ski race,” he said, as he caught his breath at the finish line. “Racing with 1,200 skiers was pretty impressive. It’s the ultimate local athletic endeavor and super fun.”

Wolter easily won the 34K race from Galena Lodge to SNRA headquarters, sailing across the finish line before his closest competitors came in sight. He stuck with a pack of eight skiers through the first 10 kilometers, then pulled away at Prairie Creek knowing he was facing a steady climb for the next 5 kilometers.

“I knew I had to climb to get away from people. Then it was a matter of skiing. It was harder than I expected. I just got back from racing at 4,000 feet at the World Cup in France and haven’t quite gotten over jet lag,” he said

Jet lag? Maybe it was jet fumes Wolter was flying on. Wearing his white SVSEF uniform, he reached Cathedral Pines a full minute ahead of Salt Lake City’s Jack Hegman, Nick Power and Matt Gelso who were skiing neck and neck.

He maintained that lead as he cruised past the pickleball players who handed him a cup of water at Frostbite Flats. Then it was on to the finish where he cruised across the finish line in 1 hour 17 minutes and 55 seconds—nearly 49 seconds ahead of Hegman.

Power crossed the line .8 of a second behind Hegman. And Gelso, who set a course record of 1 hour and 10 minutes in 2018 but has played runner-up since, came in fourth, less than a half second behind Power.

Wolter’s mother Molly! Goodyear waited anxiously at the finish line, nervous even after she heard that her son was leading the 1,200 other skiers quite handily.

“He’s got a great motor. Long distance is his thing,” she said of Peter, a Sun Valley Community School alum who graduated last year from Middlebury College with a major in economics and a minor in psychology.

Hannah Rudd of Bozeman, Mont., beat out her teammate Erika Flowers and Hailey native Annika Landis by 1 second. Her time: 1:26:27.

Rudd, originally from Minnesota, said she had long heard about the Boulder Mountain Tour from her teammates and coaches at Montana State University.

“They told me it was mostly uphill for the first 5K, then a lot of down—that I’d have to ski a tactical race and not lead the whole time. The first part was hard, the it zipped by,” she said.

Landis, who now races for the Green Racing Project in Craftsbury, Vt., skied the Boulder Mountain Tour with her father Rob, a coach who helped build many of the area’s Nordic trails, when she was in fifth-grade. They did it together two times afterwards.

“It was a lot harder when I was in fifth-grade, more intimidating,” she said. “It’s a real cool race. It brings the community together, and it’s always been a family affair for me. Win or lose, it’s a great event.”

Not all went smoothy. Paralympian “One-Armed Willie” Stewart, who took part in his first Boulder Mountain Tour about 20 years ago, did a head stand at the starting line after his got his pole caught between his legs and took a nose dive.  He still was one of the first of the Challenged Athletes to finish,  his grin as wide as the finish line he crossed.

“This is fun as hell. And today was one of the best ever—it’s almost perfect,” he said, noting the blue skies, windless day with temperatures climbing to 35. “And my 12-year-old is behind me—a lot behind.”

Paralympian Josh Sweeney of Boise came in close behind, having double poled the race course on his sit ski.

“I did the Half Boulder last year, and when I got to that part this year it felt so short. I think I will do the full Boulder from now on,” he said.

Wolter collected a bouquet of pine boughs as he pushed his aching legs to the top of the podium for a winner’s circle picture. He couldn’t have been faulted if he had come down and gone home to take a nap to rest up from jet lag ahead of the Super Tour that’s coming up in Minnesota.

“It was worth all the training I’ve done to be able to compete on the World Stage,” he said. “Skiing with  Europeans in the World Cup is whole different level. They have their favorite techniques that I hope to copy. And the crowds in France are insane. The World Cup is their winter Tour de France. People who have never heard of me look up my name and cheered me on as I passed.”

Peter’s father Mike Wolter nodded proudly as his son spoke. A ski racer himself, he came to Sun Valley in 1989 at the invitation of former Sun Valley Nordic Coach Rick Kapala to ski. He has watched both Peter and Peter’s sister Elle take to skis like a fish to water.

“It’s taken them traveling all over our country, Canada, Europe,” he said. “So many great experiences!”

LOCALS IN EARLY BOULDER MOUNTAIN TOUR RESULTS:

  1. Peter Wolter 1:17:55; 2) Jack Hegman 1:18:43; 3) Nick Power 1:18:44; 4) Matt Gelso 1:18:46; 60 Tucker McCrerey 1:21:09; 8) Scott Schoen 1:22:24; 15) Henry Gorman 1:22:53; 21) Chris Mallory 1:26:50; 23) Sam Young 1;26:51; 31) Dan Chudleigh 1:28:58.
  1. Hannah Rudd 1:26:27; 2)Erika Flowers 1:26:28.4; 3) Annika Landis 1:26:28.4; 5) Anika Miller 1:28:14; 6) Mary Rose 1:28:24; 7) Sarah Armstrong 1:32:57; 8) Alexa Turzian 1:32:59; 10) Brooke Hovey 1:33:00; 11) Fiona Ahearne 1:33:16; 19) Emily Williams 1:38:07; 200 Kim Taylor 1:39:05; 24) Liv Jensen 1:40:00; 27: Betsy Youngman 1:41:10; 33) Erin Zell (1:44:02; 35) Muffy Ritz 1:44:40.

Charley French raced the Charley Course Half Boulder named for him at age 97.

For more race results, visit https://bouldermountaintour.com/.

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