Thursday, March 8, 2018

Panorama Steep Dreams

With a week filled with lots of skiing (backcountry, cross country, and ski hill!) it was hard to remember to leave something in the tank for the Steep Dreams races at Panorama. A vertical race on Saturday followed by the individual race on Sunday.

The vertical (equivalent to a hill climb bike race) is probably my strongest discipline, but with some very fast biathletes crossing over I was a little nervous, as there aren't really any special skills required for the vertical. But I put the nervousness behind and set a brisk pace to the top of the first pitch of the vertical that only Nick could match. Joel from Montana closed the gap as Nick broke some trail which deposited us at the bottom of a very steep groomed section. Nick took off straight up the hill while I took a traversing line and had something left at the end to out-sprint Joel for 2nd.
Vertical Start

Individual race start!

The individual race the next day had a novel format with skiers repeating the same climb 3 times going to a different descent each time before finishing with a different climb. This worked great as from my experience helping set the climb after the vertical race, it was a lot of work to put in just one track. While the track was generally at an appropriate gradient, lots of switchbacks and some short steep sections rewarded good skinning technique and penalizing others with wasted energy and skin failure.. Further magnified as the climb was repeated 3 times!

The short, flat/rolling 1st climb followed by a descent presented an interesting scene as the first 2 transitions were more crowded than usual.

The technical skinning was no problem for me, but unfortunately, I lost sight of Nick after the first descent. Let's just say the timed downhill results from this race quantify how much work I have to do! But I held on for 2nd place.

Unfortunately I will miss the Squamish race (which has an astonishing 82 entries as I write this!), but will course set at Marmot and aiming for a good result at the NA championships at Lake Louise at the end of March.

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