On Saturday 24, 2012 the Lake Louise Ski Area hosted its second Ken Jones Classic Ski Mountaineering Challenge:
- Reiner Thoni wins the men’s category on the elite course
- Melanie Bernier does the same in women’s category
- 16-year old junior Martin Carnogursky completes the whole elite course
- Another junior wins overall in women’s category on the shorter Enduro course
- Joel Bartley wins men’s category over the Enduro course
» Full results: Ken Jones Classic 2012 results (in PDF)
Junior racer conquers the whole Elite course!
“Only through challenging myself can I know how much I can handle, and improve from there.”
The following report was submitted by Martin Canorgursky, a 16-year old junior racer, who went on to complete the full length elite course! I took Martin to his first race in 2011 and he liked it instantly. For the 2011/12 season he prepared with some experience under his belt – mostly by practicing karate In the coming years living somewhere else than Surrey, BC can surely help.
The Ken Jones Classic marked the end of the ski-mountaineering racing season for me this year. For those who aren’t familiar with the event, it is held in Lake Louise and this year was the second annual race.
Racers were divided into two categories: “Elite” and “Enduro”. The “Enduro” race featured three climbing segments, three descents, and one bootpacking section, adding up to approximately 1000m of climbing. The “Elite” race had all of the climbs and descents of the “Enduro”, with an additional climb bringing the total vertical gain to around 1700m.
For this race, I decided to challenge myself and undertake the “Elite” course. As a junior racer and the youngest competitor, I usually compete under the “Enduro” category, but after a successful race at Alpental Vert Fest I felt confident I could handle the longer course.
I was a little misinformed about the length of the “Elite” course, thinking it to be 1500m of climbing, only a few more than at Alpental. And with permission from the course marshal, I signed up for the “Elite” race.
On Saturday, the day of the race, we woke to a clear morning hinting of a bluebird day to come. Panoramic view of the surrounding mountains greeted us at the starting line. It was a crisp -12 degrees, but the sun lessened the cold.
At 8:30, we started off on the first ascent. Halfway up, I paused to take a drink from my hydration pack, only to find a frozen tube! I had made a classic amateur mistake, and unknowingly left my water tube to freeze over. I continued to climb, but the hydration pack was my only water and it was inaccessible.
For the first downhill, we skied one of the backside chutes, where I encountered another setback. For this race, I had a shorter and narrower pair of skis which I had not skied steep runs on before. In the chute, I skied a little too aggressively, trying to link longer turns as I would with my larger skis.
I hit a small burl and started to tumble. I slid down 40 or so metres, until I finally regained control and stopped. Fortunately, my bindings had released, but my skis were a long ways uphill from me. A helpful racer above me passed me my skis, and I was off again. I finished the descent and started on the second climb.
By this time, I was starting to feel the thirst. I had to stop for ten minutes and put my water reservoir along with the tubing inside my jacket, so it would unfreeze. Although this wasted precious time, I couldn’t simply not drink for the next two hours. After that problem was solved the rest of the race went smoothly.
Once the bootpack was over with, the course took me to another section of the Lake Louise ski area. This was the last long climb, in the Larch area. The previous three climbs had worn me out, so I had to slow down the pace. During the last stretch, I was very tired and continued at a snail’s pace, forging on uphill. Finally, I reached the top.
The last descent was a long one, starting on a nice run and finishing with a flat cat-track exit with plenty of skating. After over four hours, I finally finished the race.
I’m glad that I finished the longer course but it definitely pushed me to the limits. I know for next year that I’ll have to train a lot more to better handle a longer course like this one. Nevertheless, I feel it was necessary for me to do the “Elite” race, because only through challenging myself can I know how much I can handle, and improve from there.
Juniors, parents – don’t hold back
For any juniors or parents thinking about their teenagers participating in skimo racing – don’t hold back, try it. As you see, it doesn’t matter where you live because you never know how the experience will form your future passions and weekend activities.