The 2015 Canadian skimo race calendar has been announced and here is a quick overview of each race, the course, and how last year unfolded and what to expect from this year.
(Perhaps, expect some of these links to change as information is updated for the 2015 season.)
Vert180, Canada Olympic Park, Calgary – December 6, 2014
Traditionally, Canada’s first skimo race of the season will be held on the 6th of December at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. Due to the nature of the terrain available at COP, the race requires competitors to complete as many laps up and down the ski hill as possible in a 3 hour period. Solo skiers have their own category but recreational athletes can also form groups of 2 or 4 to complete the race as a relay event. Each lap is ~120 meters vertical ascent and descent so expect three hours of repeated anaerobic efforts punctuated by lightning fast transitions.
The 2013 edition was cancelled due to bitter cold conditions. Expect a big contingent of Calgary racers to come out and hopefully an influx of newcomers interested in trying out the sport in a relatively controlled environment. Click the link above to see more info and follow on twitter: @MECvert180. Registration opens Nov 1.
Castle Mountain Ski Mountaineering Race – January 11, 2015
Castle Mountain’s race is a relative newcomer to the circuit. It started in 2013, utilizing both in-bounds terrain and cat-ski accessed terrain at the resort and generated rave reviews from those who were in attendance.
In 2014, the race was shortened due to the paradoxical issue of too much new snow. The race was held in-bounds with two short laps up and down the cat road and was dominated by Canadian start Reiner Thoni. The women’s side was a closer affair with the top women trading off and all finishing tightly together.
For 2015, cross your fingers for a full race course. Expect good attendance from the Coastal and Rockies racers as this will be the first of two qualifying races for the 2015 Canadian World Championship Team. This means racers will be contesting hotly for spots at World Championships held in Verbier, Switzerland in February.
The elite race features 14km of distance and 4617 ft of vertical ascent. The recreational course covers 11km and 3617 ft of ascent. Expect registration information to appear on the Skimo Canada website before too long.
Dogtooth Dash – the 2015 BUFF Canadian Skimo Championships, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden – January 24, 2015
The second Canadian World Championship Team qualifying race is the annual Dogtooth Dash at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Last year’s event included both a Vertical and an Individual race with strong overall performances by Reiner Thoni and Michelle Roberts. The race features the most exciting terrain that the Canadian Cup has to offer.
For 2015, the organizers (mainly Eric and Stano) will be focusing on a top quality Individual race. The DTD will be an ISMF Series event to establish the possibility of holding a World Cup event sometime in the near future. Centrally located in Golden BC, expect good turnout from competitive and recreational racers. The late January date should allow organizers enough snow to utilize the most interesting terrain available at the resort.
Follow the event here on SkinTrack.com or on Twitter: @Dogtoothdash. Expect to see registration opening up mid-November.
Cold Smoke Randonnée Rally, Whitewater, Nelson – February 21, 2015
The Cold Smoke skimo race held at Whitewater Resort was one of the only events (along with Dogtooth Dash) in 2014 to feature its full course. The race offers an open (elite) and classic (recreational) course for those who want to tackle more or less terrain.
In 2015, expect to see lower turnout by the elite racers, many of whom will be away representing Canada at the World Championships in Switzerland. This should allow some up-and-coming athletes to shine and race for podium positions. As always at Whitewater, expect a fun and relaxed atmosphere. The course features great terrain and powder, both in and out of bounds.
Ken Jones Classic, Lake Louise – March 21, 2015
Another casualty to cold temperatures in 2014, the Ken Jones Classic is returning to its mid-March date. This change allows a lower likelihood of cancellation due to extreme temps. The Lake Louise resort features some technical descents and several long ascents skinning and boot-packing. Cold is a key part of this race regardless of the time of year. The resort enforces an early morning start to the race so expect to be dealing with frigid temps until cresting the summit of the resort and greeting the sun.
Most of the race contingent travelling to Europe should have returned by the time of the KJC so expect a strong field of fit racers.