All in a day’s work
Aspen – After 24 hours, 63 laps and 205,821 vertical feet, Casey Puckett of Aspen won the men’s division in the 14th Annual Audi 24 Hours of Aspen.
Puckett, who was competing in his first 24 Hours of Aspen race, took a 2-second lead on the first lap and finished 17 seconds ahead of Germany’s Michael Brunner.
Winning the women’s division was Aleisha Cline of Canada, claiming victory by 38 seconds over Aspen’s Asia Jenkins.
Puckett won with a total time on snow of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 46 seconds, completing 63 laps. Puckett also broke the course record with a single-run time of 2:08 on the fifth run.
Michael Brunner of Germany, who won the event last year with teammate Christian Deissenboeck, took second overall in 2:19.03. Placing third was William Besse of Switzerland with a time of 2:19.56.
This is the first year the racers skied solo instead of with a teammate.
Cline won the women’s division with a total time of 2:29.44. She took the lead on the second lap and maintained her margin over of Jenkins and third-place women’s finisher Wendy Lumby of Canada. Lumby’s time was 2:32.36.
Cline returns to Aspen in January 2003 to race in the skiercross event at the ESPN Winter X Games.
The race took a toll in the early morning hours. First to drop out was Slovenian Ales Brezavscek due to back pain. Deissenboeck had a bad fall on the tough Kleenex Corner and also dropped out. With only two hours left in the race Canadian Anik Demers crashed at the bottom of Spar Gulch, skied to the finish line and collapsed in pain.
Other local participants include Fletcher Yaw, who finished fifth overall with a time of 2:25:20 and his sister Lindsay Yaw who completed 62 laps in 2:33:30.
To date, the event has raised close to $4 million for a number of different charities. This year’s beneficiaries are Challenge Aspen, a nonprofit organizations for people with disabilities in the United States; Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club and Jazz Aspen Snowmass In-Valley Music Initiatives Programs.
The 14th Annual Audi 24 Hours of Aspen race will air on ESPN on January 12 at 6 p.m.
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