Canadian ski mountaineering racing series is growing bit by bit every year. The 2009 skimo racing season promised five event calendar, which meant one more than the previous year.
The new event that was added was a Dogtooth Dash at the Kicking Horse Alpine Resort in Golden, BC. And after some key sponsors pulled out of the Whistler’s race the Dogtooth Dash was announced the new venue for the Canadian National Ski Mountaineering Championships.
At the end the calendar looked like this:
- Feb 7, 2009 – Sunshine 5000 Ski Mountaineering Race – Sunshine Village, AB
- Feb 21, 2009 – ROAM Randonnee Rally – Nelson, BC
- Mar 7, 2009 – Mountain Storm – Fernie, BC
- Mar 28, 2009 – Dogtooth Dash – Golden, BC (National Champs)
Sunshine 5000 Ski Mountaineering Race
Feb 7, 2009 – Sunshine Village, AB
Blue sky and not too cold temperatures by Rocky Mountains standards made for a great opening to the new racing season. The Sunshine 5000 event is one of the “old timers” on the Canadian calendar and this year it welcomed about 60 racers on two courses. The long one was especially tough with the length of 18km and 1400m of climbing.
In the main men’s race, over the long course, two super fit Montana racers schooled the Canucks and showed how it is supposed to be done on skinny sticks. New prodigy of the US racing field, Ben Parsons, took first just ahead of Brandon French, who is American SkiMo Champ from 2008. The top three Canadians were Reiner Thoni, Stano Faban and Steve Sellers.
The women’s long course was stormed through by Julie Matteau who improves rapidly every season. Second place belonged to Kylee Toth and third to Laura Heffler. Reigning Canadian champion, Melanie Bernier, pulled out of the race in the morning due to a sickness.
Winners on the short course were Ron Worobec and Megan Dunn.
Complete results in a PDF: Sunshine 5000 – Feb 7, 2009
ROAM Randonnee Rally
Feb 21, 2009 – Nelson, BC
The second race on the calendar is traditionally a part of the Cold Smoke Powder Fest that takes place at the Whitewater Ski Resort near Nelson, BC.
The Randonnee Rally main course was a bit shorter than a usual ski mountaineering race. However, fun was everywhere mostly due to fairly tough snow conditions.
Men’s race, on the long course, was won by a German speedster, Benedikt Bohm, who posses a great deal of experience from the European racing circuit. Second and third belong to Brandon French and Ben Parsons from the States. Then the top three Canadians followed – Andrew McNab, Jeff Colvin, Alex Wigley.
The women’s category was once again dominated by Julie Matteau followed by last season’s no. 1, Melanie Bernier, and third belong to Kylee Toth. Again, the girls posted some fast times that even many men racers wouldn’t mind.
The short course winners were Daniel Klein and Jamee Beaupre.
Complete results in a PDF: ROAM Randonnee Rally – Feb 21, 2009
Mar 7, 2009 – Fernie, BC
A broken chairlift three days before the event and almost continuous snowing made for epic conditions. In the morning, the organizers almost wondered whether they should make fat skis mandatory as sinking waist deep was inevitable. Deep, deep powder was to be skied!
Big tumbles, face shots and good laughs characterized the atmosphere on the race course. The battle for the win was all the way to the line when the first four racers came in within one minute of each other. First belonged to Reiner Thoni, second to Andrew McNab, and the podium was completed by Jeff Colvin, all Canadians.
Speedy ladies had good times as well and nothing could stop another dominant performance of Julie Matteau, as she won her third race from three starts this season. Second belonged to Kylee Toth, followed by Linda Berg of Sweden.
Race over the short course was won by Matt Nerdig and Brenda Critchley.
Complete results in a PDF: Mountain Storm – Mar 7, 2009
Dogtooth Dash – Canadian Championships
Mar 28, 2009 – Golden, BC
This was the day many racers prepared for whole winter because medals were to be awarded. Despite the fact that this was the very first time the organizer put on a ski moutaineering race the course was designed perfectly and was the most technical one Canadian skimo racing scene ever saw (the same most likely applies for the whole North America).
Once the gun went off the fierce battle was on. Mid-way through the race, the field was led by a pack of four. The race leader and eventual winner, Scott Coldiron of US, was pulling slowly but surely away from three Canadians that stayed together until the very last moments. Reiner Thoni was crowned the new Canadian Champion as silver went to the revelation of the race, James Minifie, and third to Stano Faban.
The technical course with around 300m vertical of bootpacks made it a bit tough for ladies to follow since their steps are considerably shorter than those that male racers make. However, once more a fast time was set by Julie Matteau who became the new queen of Canadian skimo racing. Last year’s champion, Melanie Bernier, came second followed by Billie Velisek.
In the short course battle the fight was won by Jonah Job and Brenda Critchley.
Complete results in a PDF: Dogtooth Dash – Mar 28, 2009
Overall results – Canadian Ski Mountaineering Cup 2009
At each race, points based on finishing times were awarded to each participant, towards the overall Canadian skimo series. Three out of the best four results were calculated to establish the final national ranking.
Men’s overall series champion for the 2009 season was Brandon French of US. The top three Canadians were Reiner Thoni followed by Jeff Colvin and Andy Traslin.
In the women’s category an impressive sweep of all the races on the calendar gave Julie Matteau the overall series title. Followed by Melanie Bernier and Kylee Toth.
The season was arguably the most competitive in the history since many racers wanted to have a shot for a National Team for the next year’s World Championships.
Although, there is a considerable gap between the top ski mountaineering athletes from the United States and the Canadian ones, all the fast Canucks are determined to break the “curse” next winter. Lets see what happens in a year.