The Grand Traverse is an extraordinary 40-mile backcountry ski race between the towns of Crested Butte and Aspen, CO. Starting at midnight from Crested Butte, often in sub-zero temperatures, racers traverse Colorado's spectacular Elk Mountains. The course is based on the mail routes of the 1880's, connecting the two towns. In this extreme endurance event, racers will climb more than 7,800 vertical feet and navigate in a self-supported backcountry race that tests them physically and mentally. To maintain safety in the backcountry, racers compete in teams of two and are required to carry mandatory gear. Held annually since 1998, it's earned a reputation as a true test of toughness for elite local, national and international athletes.