It has been quite busy last two weeks for race organizers, athletes and us as well. However, we are reporting only on three races as we are still waiting for recaps and results to be sent to us.
The next two weeks will be busy again, especially with the Skimo Pan-American Championships taking place in the beautiful Lake Louise, Alberta over three days Mar 23-25.
USA and Canada Race News
Ski to Sky – Squamish, BC – Mar 10:
A brand new race, and the only entirely backcountry skimo race in Canada (and one of the only three in North America), was held this weekend in Squamish, British Columbia. The inaugural event held at the Sea to Sky Gondola – organized by US and Canadian National Team members Eric Carter and Nick Elson – sold out 85 entries with a week remaining to the race date. Organizers contended with difficult weather conditions in the week leading up to the race but managed to prepare a great track on a modified course to account for increased avalanche danger.
Race day arrived with a crisp, perfectly blue sky and there was an excited buzz as volunteers headed out on the course along with guides, and search and rescue personnel. The majority of the athletes were ski tourers and trail runners completing their first race while a few National Team members were excited to enjoy some racing action off-piste.
Athletes lined up for a Le Mans style start, running out from the gondola station and up a short hill where they put their skis on for a 2 km skate and out towards the course – fastest skiers covered this section in just over 8 min. Once skins were on athletes cruised up the Shannon Creek Valley before heading onto a technical skin track into the alpine. Despite warm temps and sunny skies, ski conditions were pretty good on the north facing slopes below the Stadium Glacier. Skiers had a treat as they climbed up the double skin track to the high transition with views of the Sky Pilot massif dominating and the Pacific Ocean down in the valley below.
Elite racers completed two laps of the alpine section of the course while Rec category completed one. Nick Elson took the lead from the start and skied away from Travis Brown and Joel Desgraniers, both from Alberta, opening up time on both the ascents and descents finishing in 1hr and 40min. The women’s open field was led by Oregonian Megan Erspamer in 2hrs 49min, beating out Moni Ambrozaitis of North Vancouver. The short course was won by Jiri Prochazka of Whistler for the men and Kyle Kirkegaard of Squamish for the women.
Upon the successful return of all the racers, everyone converged on the beautiful Gondola deck to take in some sun, drink a lot of Backcountry Brewing beer, and get their hands on a TON of prizes from race sponsors.
The race organizers would like to thank all our sponsors, volunteers, and athletes for an amazing day! We should also note that we’ve raised more than $500 to donate to Squamish Search and Rescue!
For more info on Squamish Skimo, check out our website (www.squamishskimo.com) or follow @Squamishskimo on Facebook and Instagram
> Full results
Power of Four – Aspen, CO – Mar 3:
A couple of days before flying over to Europe to race the magical Pierra Menta, John Gaston partner once again with Max Taam for one of the biggest skimo events in North America. In grand fashion, the duo set a new course record and comfortably won this race for a fourth time.
They were followed home by Cam Smith, a rising skimo star, and his partner Paul Hamilton. Third went to an experienced team of Rory Kelly and Jon Brown.
On the women’s side, two experienced racers and both mothers – Nikki Laroche and Lindsay Plant – won with a sizeable gap of 30min over the second placed Sarah Tory and Caroline Tory.
> Full results
Steep Dreams – Panorama, BC – Mar 3-4:
New-kid-on-the-block last year, the Steep Dreams two day skimo event enjoyed little warmer temperatures than a year ago.
The first day hosted the vertical race on a 500m course. In his first race of the season, Nick Elson and Kylee Ohler took the wins. The top 3 men were within 20 seconds.
The next day, lining up for his second race of the season, Nick Elson didn’t leave anyone in doubt about his form as he marched on to build a massive 11min lead by the finish line. Second went to Peter Knight, a steady force on the Canadian scene, who just held off Joel Shehan, one of our Montana friends and a potential candidate for the US Skimo Team next year.
The women’s individual race once again belong to Kylee Ohler who also won with a big 25min gap. Second went to Michelle Katchur Roberts and third to more of sprint specialist Lori Anne Donald.
> Full results – Vertical race, Individual race
The Pierra Menta is in a full swing right now and will finish tomorrow. American duo, John Gaston and Tom Goth, are currently sitting in 12th after 3 days of racing. If they hold on to it then that will be the best ever North American result.
Marmot’s Revenge, another new race on the Canadian calendar, is taking place on March 17 in the beautiful Jasper, Alberta.
March 17 will also host the big terrain Shedhorn Skimo Race at Big Sky Resort, MT and while on the east coast we will see a race at Bromley Mountain.
The weekend of March 23-25 will belong to the Pan-American Championships (also Canadian Championships) in Lake Louise, Alberta. And of course the Grand Traverse in Colorado will be on that weekend as well.