After five Town Challenge races, Gwen Ramsey finished as the fastest overall racer this year, winning the Rob Walmer Fastest Man on the Mountain award.
Ramsey is the first woman to win the Rob Walmer “fastest man” award in its 23-year history. Ramsey, who’s 16, is also the first teenager to win the honor.
“Right on, finally a chick beat all of the guys,” said Gail Binder, a friend of Walmer’s. “It must be humbling for them. If Rob was around and he got beat by a girl, he’d be like, ‘she gets it.’”
Ramsey, who also races for the Lake County Panthers, won two town challenges, finished second twice and finished sixth once to score 100 points and the overall title.
Ari Luchetta also had two first-place finishes this season, but finished behind Ramsey with 95 points.
Tiania Adams, meanwhile, won the Stacy Thomas Best Attitude at Altitude award. Adams has raced in the Town Challenge and has also coached Team Monarch since 2015.
“Tiania is committed to skiing as a life long sport and enjoys working with all ages and abilities on the race course,” said Kathryn Wadsworth, Monarch’s events manager.
Walmer and Thomas, meanwhile, both died in 1997.
Walmer drowned boating in the Pine Creek section of the Arkansas River. Thomas got struck by lightning while mountain biking near Durango.
Their friends and Monarch staff created the Town Challenge awards to honor them in 1998.
“That was a pretty rough year, for sure,” said Binder, who was also good friends with Thomas.
Binder said Thomas loved to ski, especially in sunny weather. She also said Thomas always had a big smile, had a big heart, was an amazing artist and was also a great person.
Thomas created a lot of local logos, including the SteamPlant’s, and also made T-shirts for different rafting companies and others.
Thomas first moved to Salida from Indiana when she was a senior in high school. Her parents told her the S on Tenderfoot Mountain was for Stacy. After she died, Binder said they put a “tacy” behind the S and it was Stacy mountain for a day.
Walmer, meanwhile, held lots of different positions at Monarch. He worked on the mountain’s race crew, for guest services, on the mountain crew and then Binder said they talked him into driving a snow cat for tours.
“It was shocking to get that news,” Binder said about Walmer. “He was an awesome personality and so much fun. And he was the best skier on the mountain, for sure.”
She said he skied, tele-skied, mountain biked and boated. “He was very, very active,” Binder said.
Thomas and Walmer were both in their 30s when they died, but live on through the awards named in the honor.