My SkiMo race season continued until early March. After the Jackson and Targhee races, I competed in the North American SkiMo Championships in Crested Butte. The was the second year of the race and was the first year being an ISMF (International Ski Mountaineering Federation) sanctioned race. This was a 2 day race with day 1 being the sprint event (2 laps of ~250’ climbing with a booter on the second lap) and the second day was the full race which included a technical rock section where we were required to have an ascender and via ferrata kit as we climbed to Mt Crested Butte. This race was a great learning lesson about the important of gear. I had a great placement getting on the fixed line, had a gear failure and had to stop for 1 minute and ended up in a bottleneck on the rope that in the end cost me 35 minutes. Here are some great photos from Kevin Krill of the race (I am in #13).
This race confirmed that I was going to commit some time to this sport and I ordered a pair of Hagan X-Race skis. These skis reduced my race setup weight from 1,442 g (ski and binding) to 862g (ski and binding). This weight was noticeable on my first day on the gear.
I was hoping to extend race season into April, but instead my last race was the Power of Four race. In this race you climb and ski each of the 4 mountains at Aspen (Buttermilk, Snowmass, Highlands, and Aspen) for a total of just over 26 miles and 13,500’ of climbing. I felt this would be much more my style of race instead of the normal ‘sprint’ races. This was a partner race and my partner, Eric Bunce, and I had a great day. We were able to finish the 8th men’s team and 10th overall in 6:43. Our goal was 7:30 so we were thrilled with this time. We learned a lot about long partner races including team work when Eric had to take care of my gear when my hands and face froze on the top of Highlands and towing each other to keep our pace strong late in the race.
Two days after returning from the Power of Four, it was time to start getting the Powder Keg setup. We were excited for this year’s race. It was the 10th anniversary race and we had a large and fast group of racers. Unfortunately, due to poor snow, we had a lot of unsafe terrain and had to spend an entire day working out a re-route to the course. The modified course turned out great, harder, longer, more climbing – everything and ultra runner turned skimo racer wanted. Check out the Powder Keg website for details on the course, results, and lots of great photos and videos.
What’s next? Well, since spring arrived far too early in the Wasatch, it is time to become a runner once again and start preparing for Leadman. There will still be more skiing including an attempt on Kings Peak on April 6 and hopefully some more powder days and of course corn season.