Monday, November 29, 2010

Vertical Race in Calgary

This past Saturday was the first event of the Canadian Calendar for Ski Mountaineering. We traveled to Canada Olympic Park (COP) in Calgary for a 3 hours vertical race. We all knew that the race would be as hard as we wanted it to be and we knew it would be a great way to kick off the season and also work on transitions… since in fact we had to do quite a few of them!

The race had different format, Solo, Team of 2 and Team of Four. Close to 100 racers took part in the event which was amazing and unexpected considering it was the first edition of the Vert 180.

The course was pretty simple, with a start/ finish line just outside the Cafeteria. Then of course we had to climb to the top the hill, take our skis off for a short bootpack and then straight line the “Alpine Pitch” to do it again and again and again….

I was a really fun event because it felt like we were all skiing together. People were shearing each other, kids, parents, friends teamed up for the event. It was really different then our typical Ski Mo Race. It was also kind of nice to be doing a ski race under the spotlight and looking at the city! Event if COP is not the highest mountain out there, trust me, it was still a challenge getting to the top of it, specially close to the 3 hours mark!

The whole Canadian team did very well!

Here are some of the results:

Reiner Thoni, Solo Category: 1st with 18 laps

Andrew McNab, Solo Category: 2nd with 18 laps as well

Alex Wigley, Solo Category: 3rd with 15 laps

Julie, Billie, Lindsey and Dusan, Team of 4 Category: 1st with 18 laps

Ian Gale & Steve Sellers, Team of 2 Category: 1st with the record amount of lap of the evening!!! 20 Laps! Great job guys!

On my side, I burned 17 laps in the Solo Category and finished 1st woman.

Congratulations to all the racers, it was a really challenging race at many levels!

After a nice meal and some time to come down from such energy output, we crawled into bed to get some rest before driving back to BC for a nice ski off Video Peak @ Rogers Pass on our way home! Next stop will be Golden Alpine Holiday next weekend with the Selkirk Classic Ski Mountaineering Race!!! Something to look forward to as well!

For Full Results of the Vert 180 Check Out:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ski Mo Training Camp

This last weekend was the second training camp of the season for the Canadian Ski Mountaineering Team. We have been long waiting for the precious white gold to come down and we got blessed with precipitation just before the camp so the conditions in the Asulkan Valley @ Rogers Pass were close to excellent for the event. Some team members headed to the cabin early on Thursday just to enjoy a longer stay. As for myself, I made my way in mid-day Friday with a gigantic backpack (maybe not as big as Reiner’s but still) and got to the cabin just on time to have a nice rewarding run down the trees in knee deep powder. We then waited for the other team members to get to the cabin and shared a nice meal. Andrew, Ian and myself then decided to go do some night skiing since by then, the clouds rolled away from the valley and unveiled a beautiful almost full moon. We also wanted to give ourselves a head start by breaking trail for the following day! We had an amazing run back down to the cabin and dreamt of all the turns to come the following day!

We woke-up above the clouds to nothing less then a blue bird day and the valley to ourselves. We skied multiple laps around the cabin exploring the area, looking at the glaciated terrain, taking information on the snow pack and of course making some fantastic turns. We started by skiing conservative lines and built our way up to steeper terrain at the end of the day. It felt so very good to be back on big skis, making turns under the sun in nice deep powder! What a feeling! We all gathered back at the hut for some amazing food once again, sharing stories and reconnecting with one another.

Sunday was a bit more cloudy but still really nice. We first had a quick multiple beacon search (thx Ian for coordinating the search) as Jeff set up a short racecourse for us to practice transitions and technique (thx Jeff for doing that!). We did a few laps just to refresh the memory of our muscles and just to get our mind ready for the upcoming 3 hours race this weekend in Calgary! We then switched the light skis and spandex suits for regular gear and headed back up for a final glory run, packed everything and skied back down the valley. Thx team for a great weekend and see you all the Vertical 180 next weekend for the season opener!

As people were coming in and out of the Asulkan Cabin on Sunday, I realized that people are getting more and more aware of what Ski Mo racing is all about. A few months ago, the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) has put together a great video that showcases the sport and describes very well what it is all about. Here’s what we are training for!

Thx to the ACC for facilitating the Camp!

Monday, November 1, 2010

First Ski Mo Race Coming up!

This year, the Ski Mountaineering Race season will get an early start with the first race coming up in less then a month. We will be traveling to Calgary Olympic Park for the first event of the year for nothing less then 3 hours of vertical racing. This should be a great event but definitively not the easiest!