Monday, February 10, 2014

Into the icebox

Of the 4 ski mountaineering races that I have wanted to do so far this year, 2 have been cancelled while the other two have gone on with some course modifications. This time the Ken Jones Classic was postponed due to cold temperatures.

Doing some urban skimo training!
 With a relatively stable but thin snowpack, we had some options. With the cold temperatures and crust on the solar aspects, a traverse involving climbing the south slopes and descending the north seemed like the best way to make use of the conditions.
The top of climb 1.

crossing tracks where the descent funneled.

Staying in the sun on climb 2.

Getting a little zesty in the scree!

Downclimbing on belay into descent number 2. Prime conditions!

Craig slaying the excellent conditions on his new skis!

Descent 3. Craig had to sit this one out with skin failure that can be traced back to the EU limiting imports on toluene.
Great day, although we were not able to complete the full traverse as intended and missed out on the last climb. I was struggling to come up with more options, so day 2 was a bit of a bust, though nice to get out and be comfortable in the cold.

I've been quiet for the past little while
3rd time in this zone this season. The snow makes the slog worth it!

Skiing off the top on Super Bowl Sunday!

Getting some deep turns in the same spot earlier in January.
And how could I forget, some real Edmonton skiing!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Whitefish Whiteout 2014

Once again, I made the long solo pilgrimage to another race. The Whitefish Whiteout is always a good time, the resort and the community really stand behind the event, the fields are always deep and full of "wild cards", and I like the layout of the course with decreasing climb lengths, which makes it easy to mentally break the race down.

Thick "low cloud" "adverse visibility" blanketed the mountain, and lack of precipitation and warm temperatures in the weeks preceding the race meant more bootpacks and dodging glide cracks.

My last report was full of plenty of excuses, most of them not holding much water. In the days before this race, I would wake up with a sore throat, and I'm not sure my legs appreciated a day of inactivity + a long drive the day before the race. But, hey, why not try to throw down!

I started hard, making sure I was at the front of what was a long line of skiers on light gear. A couple of steep sections later, the pack was whittled down to just 3 with newbie Travis Brown (not to be confused with mountain biking legend Travis Brown) lurking behind. Everything was going well for me according to plan until we hit a flatter section near the top. My legs (noteably my right hip flexor) was screaming, and I watched Ben and Eric creep away from me.

I started the first descent cautiously to make sure I dropped into the crunchy chunder at the right spot. The hip flexor cramped up in the transition. Fortunately, maybe halfway up the climb, I was back in race mode engaged in a solid battle for 3rd place. In the end, I slid into 5th place pushing through the screaming legs.

After another night in the 2nd biggest house up at the mountian, which was packed full of young adults consuming adult beverages, I woke up early to go for a short tour just past the ski area boundary. Carl showed us the goods, which delivered some surfy snow, even on the race skis.

Pete Siudara's Pictures

Myke Hermsmeyer's pictures