This last weekend (Jan 18-19) marked the first World Cup skimo race of the 2014 season. The race was held in Verbier, Switzerland, the site of next year’s World Championships. On Saturday, in the individual race, Killian Jornet (ESP) took to the front early on and by the end of the first climb, already had the lead that he would hold to the finish. Laetitia Roux (FRA) dominated the women’s field and Canada’s Melanie Bernier finished 7th overall. Mel gave us some insight on the race courses to keep in mind for next season. The only other North American in attendance, Meredith Edwards (USA) finished 17th.
1700 m, 4 climbs and 2 bootpacks. We all did agree that the skin tracks were way too steep and the steps for the bootpacks were way to high one from the other. Besides from that the terrain and course is pretty nice. We go twice at the top of 6 Blancs so it’s super spectator friendly.
Really long for a vert (848m) but the race goes through verbier which is awesome! There’s a lot of flat sections that allows for good glide but the end is pretty steep so you need to keep some gas in the tank to finish things off..!
The French Championships were great. I really wanted to get at least a couple of races under my belt before the World Cup. The second day (sprint) was great and it went super well. I had built the confidence I needed for the 1st World Cup. I was quite tired going into the Individual race in Verbier this weekend but still managed to do well. The following day, I knew the vertical race was going to be a little hard. It’s not my specialty but it was still an amazing and excruciating experience!
I am excited to race in Courchevel next weekend. It’s going to be fun to race near a really nice resort. I raced on the vertical course last Wednesday night at the Courchevel Dynafit Climb. It’s going to be a great race but fast compared to last weekend. I am getting a bit more rest this week, recovering from the weekend and getting ready for the next so I hope to feel recharged on my skis for both events!
A quiet weekend on the North American Circuit with only one race, the Divine Incline at Powderhorn in Colorado. Primarily a battle between Coloradoans, the Incline featured 4346 ft vertical ascent with two climbs and two descents. On the men’s side, Brian Smith finished with 19 seconds over Marshall Thompson. Scott Simons rounded out the podium. For the women, Stevie Kremer put in a solid effort, besting Sari Anderson by almost four minutes!
UPCOMING RACES – Jan 25-26 weekend
World Cup action continues this weekend with races in Courchevel France. January 25th will feature a vertical race with an individual race on the 26th. In North America on Saturday, the pressure will be on the locals at the Whitefish Whiteout in Montana, with visiting Canadians hoping put the heat on. Hopefully some of the Colorado/Utah crowd will be making there way up to stir the pot as well. With a $50 prize on the line for the first racer to the top of the first climb, nothing less than a drag race should be expected. Last year featured a battle between local Ben Parsons and Stano Faban (CAN) with Parsons out-sprinting Faban in the final 2 min as the race finishes with an ascent rather than a downhill.
On the East Coast, the Berkshire East Race will be held Jan 26th. A major effort by Jonathan Shefftz was put in to polish up the course. Pending details, the latest announcement was the course would be a “Vert 120” event with athletes trying to complete as many laps as possible in two hours. Up the Exhibition under the quad chair, and down Hemlock. Laps will be approx ~600′ vertical ascent. Latest note from Shefftz’s Facebook is below. Sounds like as much as we are complaining about a lack of snow on the West Coast, these guys really know how to work with not much white stuff.
The race is definitely on! After the work session this afternoon, the backcountry skintrack is already in race condition, with more snowfall on the way, and temperatures won’t even get out of the teens until Saturday.