Welcome to our first week of 2017/18 seasonal coverage for ski mountaineering racing in North America and abroad!
We’ll be doing our best to recap all the events and preview upcoming races. We’re always looking for more contributions so if you’d like to give us the inside scoop on any particular events, just send us a message. We could especially use insight on women’s races in North America.
North Americans racing in Europe
The next World Championships event will not take place until 2019 which means we will likely see a much smaller representation of North American athletes in European races but potentially more competition on the domestic scene.
At the moment, we’re not aware of any athletes planning to complete the full world cup series (but let us know if you are!). It’s likely though that a handful of athletes will head over for select races and Grand Tours.
USA Race News
The snow situation in North America is not quite to the same levels we had last year. As we write, West Coast of Canada has seen quite a bit of ski action but the Canadian Rockies could definitely use more snow.
Colorado has had cold weather (and man-made snow) but little natural snow. California and the Sierra’s appear to be getting their first few snowfalls of the season. Utah seems quite warm and dry although appears to have kicked off the first North American race of the season with their Thanksgiving event at Brighton!
The Wolf Creek race (and first in the COSMIC series) was unfortunately cancelled due to challenging snow conditions. That means the premier Colorado event was this weekend’s Indian Peaks Revenge at Eldora Resort.
Eldora Indian Peaks Revenge – Eldora, CO – Dec 1-2
With a very lean snowpack in Colorado, the COSMIC crew and the staff at Eldora Resort did an incredible job putting on a three race weekend in the Front Range.
Things kicked off on Friday night with a 300 meter vertical race, topping out just under 3000 meters (9800 ft), that men’s winner John Gaston took only 13 minutes to complete. Cam Smith, only an espoir, took 2nd in front of Rory Kelly.
Visiting from Italy, Martina Valmassoi ran away with the women’s victory with Boulder native Sarah Kadlec finishing just 12 seconds back! Jaime Brede finished 3rd.
Vertical Results: https://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=121859
Saturday featured an individual and sprint event. With a very civilized start time of 10AM, the individual course was a four lap affair with two ascent routes in the trees and a descent down a groomed run. The descent run was reserved entirely for racers – amazing commitment to our sport from a resort with only three open runs total!
Again, in men’s race, John Gaston ran away with the victory while a trailing pack traded places right up to the final lap. Eric Carter came in 2nd and just ahead of Rory Kelly.
In women’s race, Martina Valmassoi had a wider margin, finishing over 8 min ahead of Nikki Larochelle. Third went to Sarah Kadlec.
Individual Results: https://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=121951
The sprint race was held on another closed piste with a course built by the local downhill race team that featured fast descent gates. 25 racers started, including women and a handful of junior racers. The men competed in two semi-final heats with Mark Koob taking both his semi and the overall in the final, though not after being challenged by Rory Kelly and Chris Carr. There were only enough women for a final heat where national team member Sarah Cookler finished first!
» Visit our 2017/18 skimo events calendar
Next up is the Irwin Guides individual event near the town of Crested Butte. This unique event in the controlled cat skiing backcountry area usually delivers reliable early season snow. If snow conditions in Colorado improve, expect good turnout from the Colorado crew and despite the distance, some out of state competition at an exciting event.
The Canadian season kicks off with the Vert180 in Calgary, Alberta. The race is one of very few within a major city, held at the Canada Olympic Park. Athletes have three hours to complete as many laps of the on-piste course as possible. Athletes can complete the event solo or as part of a relay team (2, 3, 4 persons).
European teams have been busy training at the ski resort of Tignes, France and selecting their world cup roster.
The first event on the docket is in China, potentially a test event for future championships? It remains to be seen how many athletes will actually attend. Past world cups held outside of Europe have been historically poorly attended. The upside is that athletes looking to score world cup points have much better chances if they are willing to travel to China!