Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rookie ski mountaineering racing season

I'm sure some of you are wondering what I am doing skiing (and climbing up mountains) on kid's skis in a 1 piece lycra suit, and a bike helmet (or climbing helmet). It is ski mountaineering racing (or skimo for short, or rando racing), and it is all about moving fast through the mountains. It requires a full-on effort, usually for over 2hrs, so in a way it is similar to mountain bike racing.

The courses are usually 5000+ vertical feet with multiple ascents and descents, and the occassional bootpack section to spice things up. Good fitness is important, but you need to be able to suffer, and still be able to ski when your legs are fried.

Most of the race is spent climbing, so the gear is (stupid) light. The skis are short and narrow and the boots are not very stiff, but it is remarkable how versatile this gear is. The courses utilize expert terrain, and it is also fun to blow by the recreational skiers on the descents.

The races were a little longer than I was used to, so I did "run out of gas" occassionally, and I had to haul my carcass to the finish. I was always pumped when I reached the finish though! The racing is hard. For some, you have to sacrifice to race, but I found that I was more motivated to train: to ski tour, because of upcoming races!

I didn't ride my bike very much this winter season, but with all of the snow in Edmonton, I think I picked the right season to try racing! I put in more volume in than I used to though because I was motivated for racing. I found that I was super pumped to go ski touring, and went ski touring way more than I skied the lifts. I tried to keep the intensity within check as to not spoil my mountain bike season too badly. I am curious how my bike season will turn out.

I've managed to track down some even lighter gear for pretty cheap for next year. Hopefully I can find the time in my final year of school to race and train because I really had fun this winter! Thinking of some midweek e-town sprint skimo races.

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