Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coldsmoke Powderfest ROAM Rally

The Coldsmoke Powderfest really lived up to its name this year! After enjoying refills the day before and worrying about morning road conditions all night, we arrived up at Whitewater, ready to race, with something like 20cm of new snow overnight. With an early start, everyone knew that the skintracks wouldn't quite be in.

Course: Due to poor visibility and heavy snow the day before, the last section of the course was different than last year, but I think the descents were every bit as good as they were last year. The skintrack was quite deep, and so it wasn't really possible to put much force on the poles. The track was still quite soft; on some ascents the leaders had to break trail or follow a downtrack. The soft track also made traction an issue. The last uptrack was a mix of steep and flat, and seemed really long. Overall, fun descents, some deep skiing!

Engine: I was feeling really good today, held back off the start, but still sitting good, got owned on the skating section, but settled in quickly on the big climb. I skied pretty steady, and was able to push the pace when people were closing in on the last climb.

Technique: I definitely need to work on my skating, or wax my skis better. My skiing was pretty good, and I was able to keep a lookout for course checkpoints. My kickturns were pretty dialed, I think I only messed up 2, and I definitely worked to minimize slipping backwards which REALLY drains energy. Transitions were a little slow, and that is the difference between being able to ski away from someone or getting stuck behind them. I crashed twice early into the race doing a somersault into deep snow.

 Lots of snow in my helmet from some earlier tumbles. Some pictures from Best Photos

Gear: Gear was solid today, and I had my secret weapon on the last climb which really saved some energy on the steep sections, but forced me to push it on the flatter sections.

TSN Turning Point: I was battling hard, but some smart heads up skiing and my secret weapon on the last climb saved me some energy and I managed to sneak onto the podium, not far behind Stano and McNab who had to do some trailbreaking.

My time was 40mins longer than last year, reflecting the deep snow and the added climb at the end. The deep snow really kept the pack together, the really fast guys were slowed down by having to break trail, while those further back benefited from a solid track. People on larger but still fairly light skis did well too as they could ski the descents faster, and had less slipping issues on the uptracks.

Congrats to Two Scoop Craig on his first race, barely making the 3hr time cut to the top of the 2nd last climb, but pumped to race more when his lighter gear comes in. Bill was smart enough to enjoy the pow day before heading home to Kelowna via Greyhound after a solid reading break (did he take the fingerbang bench?). I got the big skis out in the afternoon, lift lines were long (busiest day in history?), but found some fresh lines, though we didn't get nearly enough laps on the Glory chair :( . At the end of the day, we were trapped up at WH2O as an accident blocked the road.
Finally out at 6:30 after some SOLID people watching

Kootenay Pass was closed for avalanche control on Sunday morning, so our long drive back was made even longer, but just as beautiful, by taking the ferry across Kootenay lake.

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