What, who, when: US and Canadian athletes at 2013 Ski Mountaineering World Championships

Here we go again! Two years went by incredibly fast since the 2011 Skimo World Champs in Claut, Italy.

This year’s prestigious event will take place around the area of Pelvoux, France between February 9th and 15th.

» Pelvoux on Google maps

» Pelvoux on Wikipedia

History: World Champs only every two years

When the first ski mountaineering World Championships were conceived (back in 2002) the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) decided they would take place every even calendar year, with the European Championships falling on the odd years.

However, in the summer of 2010, ISMF decided to switch the World Championships to odd years as it became very clear that skimo was lacking media coverage due to conflicting scheduling with the Winter Olympics. Therefore, 2011 saw World Champs take place again to start the new schedule.

Teams race – Sunday, Feb 10th

Each nation can enter up to four two-person teams.

Course details – http://www.ski-ecrins.com/parcours.php?page=equipe

Men – 2260m

Canada (2 teams):

Reiner Thoni, the 2012 North American Skimo Champ, will be teaming up with Andrew McNab once again. In 2011, they were able to score 16th place in this race.

Second team will combine a World Champs novice, Peter Knight, and a seasoned racer, Steve Sellers. Peter is the stronger one, but Steve’s experience will come very handy.

Brad Schalles will sit out and focus on individual races.

(I have decided to stay back in Canada this time as other plans are calling.)

US (4 teams):

The US Team will likely line up all four teams since it’s bringing 8 men racers to Europe:

  1. John Gaston
  2. Max Taam
  3. Marshall Thomson
  4. Tom Goth
  5. Scott Simmons
  6. Greg Ruckman
  7. Andy Dorias – recent interview with Andy
  8. Luke Nelson – recent interview with Luke

My speculation is that:

  • Gaston will race with Taam
  • Nelson + Goth
  • Dorais + Ruckman
  • Thomson + Simmons

Women – 2160m

Canada (1 team):

Two Word Champs novices should be lining up together to gain experience, Martha Burley with Carla McKirdy.

Melanie Bernier is way too strong to pair up with any other Canadian skimo girl so she will likely rest for her individual races.

US (? teams):

There should be 6 women representing US throughout the week:

  1. Janelle Smiley – interview with Janelle
  2. Stevie Kremer
  3. Meredith Edwards
  4. Nina Silitch – older interview with Nina
  5. Kim Young
  6. McKenna Douglas

Smiley is likely to team up with Kremer. Nina Silitch will probably sit out to focus on Monday’s sprint. The other 3 girls will have to play old fashioned rock-paper-scissors.

Sprint race – Monday, Feb 11th

Each nation can enter up to four athletes.

Course details – http://www.ski-ecrins.com/parcours.php?page=sprint

Men – 80m

Canada (4 athletes):

  • Reiner Thoni
  • Andrew McNab
  • Brad Schalles
  • Peter Knight

US (4 athletes):

Likely these four:

  • Max Taam
  • Luke Nelson
  • Tom Goth
  • Andy Dorais

Women – 80m

Canada will likely line up all 3 athletes – Melanie Bernier will be shooting for the stars while McKirdy and Burley will be gaining more experience.

US (4 athletes):

Likely these four:

  • Nina Silitch – will try to go for a medal at least!
  • Meredith Edwards
  • ?
  • ?

Individual race – Wednesday, Feb 13th

Each nation can enter up to four athletes.

Course details – http://www.ski-ecrins.com/parcours.php?page=senior

Men – 1645m

Canada (4 athletes):

  • Reiner Thoni
  • Andrew McNab
  • Brad Schalles
  • Peter Knight

US (4 athletes):

Likely these four:

  • John Gaston
  • Max Taam
  • Tom Goth
  • Marshall Thomson

Women – 1385m

Canada will line up all 3 athletes – Melanie Bernier aiming high, other girls gaining experience.

US (4 athletes):

Maybe these four:

  • Nina Silitch
  • Janelle Smiley
  • Stevie Kremer
  • Meredith Edwards

Vertical race – Thursday, Feb 14th

Each nation can enter up to four athletes.

Course details – http://www.ski-ecrins.com/parcours.php?page=vr

Men – 610m

Canada (4 athletes):

  • Reiner Thoni
  • Andrew McNab
  • Brad Schalles
  • ?

US (4 athletes):

Likely these:

  • Greg Ruckman
  • Luke Nelson
  • Scott Simmons
  • Andy Dorais

Women – 610m

Canada will line up all 3 athletes – Melanie Bernier aiming high, other girls gaining experience.

US will likely enter 4 athletes:

  • Janelle Smiley
  • Stevie Kremer
  • Kim Young
  • Meredith Edwards

Relay race – Friday, Feb 15th

Each nation can enter one team consisting of four athletes.

Course details – http://www.ski-ecrins.com/parcours.php?page=relais

Men – 160m

Over the years, the relay race shaped up a fierce rivalry between the US and the Canadian men’s teams, with US winning the bragging contest in 2010 and Canadians in 2011.

Canada (1 team), likely:

  • Reiner Thoni
  • Andrew McNab
  • Brad Schalles
  • Peter Knight

US (1 team):

The decision will likely come at a dinner table the night before. Those “pretending” to be still fresh have the best chance ;) Or maybe these four:

  • John Gaston
  • Marshall Thomson
  • Scott Simmons
  • Greg Ruckman

Women – 160m

According to ISMF rules, women should be allowed to enter a team of only four racers.

Canada will enter Melanie Bernier, Martha Burley, and Carla McKirdy.

US should be these three:

  • Stevie Kremer
  • McKenna Douglas
  • Kim Young

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