Meet your Triple Crown champions

JACKSON, WY — After three grueling tests of athleticism, perseverance, and determination, two people came out on top in Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club’s Triple Crown Race Series.

Introducing your Triple Crown king and queen: Dan Tolson and Lexie Dreschel.

Dreschel and Tolson competed in a series of three athletic races over the past two months: The Skinny Ski Nordic Moose Chase (15k or 30k), Fish Creek Excavation’s Town Downhill, and finally, the Karen Oatey Pole Pedal Paddle. The latter is perhaps the most grueling: it’s a five-leg race that starts at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and ends at the Astoria Boat Ramp in the Snake River Canyon. Racers downhill ski, run, nordic ski, bike, and paddle. Teams can split responsibility and tackle the legs they feel strongest in. But Triple Crown competitors do it all themselves.

Triple Crown king Dan Tolson, left, ALSO scored second in the PPP. Photo: Jonathan Crosby

For some Triple Crown competitors, it was as much about setting an example as it was about winning the race. Jr. Rodriguez raced as a representative of Wright Training — Crystal Wright sponsored his entry — and his message throughout the series was consistent: Diversify the outdoors. Rodriguez didn’t win — a missed gate in the Town Downhill disqualified him from the podium — winning wasn’t necessarily his goal. His goal was to be seen.

“Who do you see at the finish line?” Rodriguez said. “Who do you see skiing? Who do you see fishing in this town?” Reflecting on his experience as a semi-professional, sponsored athlete in Jackson, Rodriquez noted he rarely sees people that look like him. People who aren’t white.

“Imagine the first time you played a sport and didn’t know how to play. Add in some painful ethnic history, socioeconomics, and limited access to resources — equipment, mentors, access to locations, etc. — and you’ve got a huge ‘adventure gap.'”

Rodriguez said he raced to help “carve out a space” for otherwise underrepresented recreationists. He might have raced solo, but he didn’t do it alone. “It takes a lot of support,” Rodriguez said.

Dreschel and Tolson crossed the finish line of the Pole Pedal Paddle Saturday, March 23 quickly enough to make them the Triple Crown champions. They stood together on the podium wearing crowns made by Farmer Payne Architects, a Triple Crown sponsor and Dreschel’s team sponsor. They each stood on the podium as Pole Paddle Paddle individual winners as well. Each came in second in their division and took home $250. Full Pole Pedal Paddle results will be posted shortly.

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