Monday, January 22, 2018

Fernie Lizard Skinner

The 3rd edition of the Fernie Lizard Skinner went off last weekend with promise of a more interesting course and the addition of a sprint race on the Sunday.

Avalanche conditions in the week leading up to the race were interesting, forcing the organizer to juggle around different course options. In the end, we would be racing to the top of the White Pass chair after a similar "first lap" to the top of the Timber chair as in previous years, before skiing on Stag Leap, which had been closed to the public during the cycle.

The classic groomer drag race remained, but a group of 4 (Me, the Joels, and Tyson Smith) remained at the top of the first climb. I was able to string things out further on the longer 2nd climb and managed to get a gap on the group of Joels. The 2nd descent was interesting with the Megasaurus trail mixed in there, which required some sidestepping in soft snow before a short bootpack partway up Stag Leap.

The conditions on the descents were much more enjoyable than in previous years where we had to battle rain crusts. Although Big Bang was a no-go due to avalanche conditions, we got to enjoy excellent powder skiing on Stag Leap down to the finish. I held on for the win!

Final Start
On Sunday, we sprinted on the short race training pitch by the Haul Back T-bar, although it was tough to watch people skiing powder across the bowl on Snake Ridge. Again, the racers worked the course, making it wider with more opportunities for passing. It is nice being able to provide some input. I had a series of excellent races with dialled transitions and good pacing to take my first sprint finals win! Tyson's sprinting was impressive as he was always able to build up a huge gap before the bootpack but some bobbles in transitions and descents cost him a spot in the finals.

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