I felt like I was ready to race, so I headed down to Whitefish, MT with Mr. Sellers, and actually I think my first time south of the border in about 8 years. Being lazy Pete, I never got around to getting any greenbacks, and we were only there for a day (New Belgium Fat Tire Ale was calling my name).
So anyways, now to the race.
Course: Having never skied Whitefish before, I was "flashing" the course. The descents were pretty fun, but the climbing was heinous. New snow and low cloud made for a tough climb up the Toni Matt groomer, and the rest of the ascents had ascents through steep glades. The descents were through the trees but were marked with GS gates, so not too hard to follow. The ascents were marked with flagging tape, which was a little hard to see in the fog and rime. Fun course, I will definitely be back.
Gear: Whoaahh boy, new snow combined with some weak glue on the tails of my skins made skin failure a huge issue on the day for me (I did not wax my skis recently, but maybe the bases were contaminated?). Only on the first ascent did I not have to stop midway through to change a failed skin. On the 3rd ascent, I was about 2 switchbacks below the start of the bootpack up the NBC gully and I could not get any of my skins to stick, and I really struggled to get to the start of the bootpack. I felt really foolish for leaving my wall to wall skins with tails on them in Canmore, when they should have been in my backpack. And I think for this course, wall to wall might be more effective.
Technique: My transitions were pretty dialed, but my kickturns were a little lazy, and not keeping the tails of my skis out of the snow may have contributed to my skin failure problems. I felt like I was skiing well for not knowing the descents.
Engine: I think I probably could have done with a better warmup as the first climb was really tough, but I was in 3rd at the top. I was feeling good, eating and drinking well, but just wasted too much time and energy dealing with my climbing skin problems.
TSN Turning point: You guessed it. My skins failed midway up the 2nd climb, and I got passed by a guy on some telemark gear, just cruising up with ease. Ended up finishing 5th, but the winner Ben Parsons was done before I started the last descent :(
So overall, a good lesson learned, I will definitely race with the glidelites in the pack from now on. Pretty tight community, and thanks to Whitefish for being so accommodating to the uphilling crowd!