All posts by Andy Dorais

Race #2 Recap

Whoa! We just had a huge turn out in the spitting rain at our first Tuesday night race. Thanks to all who endured the elements and raced! These things are fun because of all the positive energy and support everyone offers each other. Also thank you to all the wild family and friends that braved the cold and rain and cheered from the base with cow bells. That made the night!

Blurry pic of a bunch of cool people, psyched to race in the rain!

I’d guess that in total well over 40 people raced the rainy dark course. The format was new and I believe suggested by Courtney Phillips and was an instant hit. We climbed to the top of the Milly lift via off piste skinning and then descended back to the base by headlamp. Our second climb ascended the same skin track but stopped just short of the dam before once again descending to the base. Finally, our last climb followed the now very well worn highway for only a few hundred vertical and then finished back at the Milly base. There were no mishaps that I’m aware of and it seemed that everyone had a great time and workout. Afterward, we mistakenly thought Molly Green’s would be open for prizes, food, and drink but they had closed since there is no night skiing on Tuesdays. We improvised and handed out cookies to the winners (Jason and Gemma) on the deck of the Milly Chalet. A few newcomers earned a strawberry and an apple pie and other lucky folks walked away with a DVD courtesy of the Powderwhores or some skimo clothing schwag!

Next time, if we can’t convince Molly Green’s to stay open for a party, we’ll move the show down to the Porcupine Grill (a bunch of people did just that tonight). Also, as interest grows, we will add a page to the citizen series website that will hopefully include a gear swap listing as well as info for training, touring, carpooling, or racing for those looking for partners with similar schedules.

Thanks again to everyone for coming out, to Brandon Dodge and the rest of the Brighton patrollers for being so friendly and supportive, and to Brighton for being a real skiers resort!

See you all at the next gathering on December 18th at the same time (7:00 PM) and same place (by the church on the Milly side).

Citizen Series Finale and Season Summary

Last night we held the final race of our inaugural season of racing.  Some 50ish hearty souls came out with enthusiasm to win the Sportiva skis and to once again get some exercise and ski by headlamp while the rest of America sat at home and watched something stupid like the Bachelor.

Pre race instructions

The format was a two person team relay, with each person being required to complete two circuits on a figure of eight course (two climbs with shared descent).  Each circuit seemed to take from 10 to 20 minutes depending on the person, gear, and motivation.

Teams were decided by once again having the “fast folks” step forward and then having everyone on regular gear claim their partner.  Once that was settled, we stepped forward to the straightest starting line of the year and then the drag race was off.  The course began with a couple hundred meters of low angle cat track before tucking into the trees for steep technical skinning.  With the pack strung out along the double track, Jason tried to drop the field but Jared hung on.  My skins were starting to fail as were many others given the cold temps and the unsettled skinner.

Jake and Blake on the final booter

After the first descent, sneaky little Jared managed to jump into a second set of skis and was off before Jason and I had even skinned up one.  Everyone was fighting their own battles though.  I was chasing Jason and trying to avoid being caught by Teague.  Teague was chasing me and trying not to get caught by Chad and Courtney.  They in turn had their own pursuers.

But the evening was determined by those on the heavy gear.  My partner Jake was locked up in a contest with Teague’s partner, Blake.  Those two guys went back and forth and both put in gutsy performances.  In the end, Blake lost a skin and Jake took advantage, pulling away for the win.

Psyched to beat Jared’s team.
The victor’s pie
Raffling PW gear

After the racing, we made our way to Molly Green’s for food, beverage, and prizes.  This time there was a bit more energy as everyone was anxious to win the Sportiva GTR skis, which were being raffled off as our Series grand prize.  The customary pumpkin pies were given to Blake and Jake and then a couple more large pies were passed out to share amongst everyone for all being “winners”.  Then, for each of the nine races attended, people placed their names in the lucky boot and Jared drew the winners.  Noah Howell of the Powder Whore Nation also kindly contributed some PW gear and movies, which we raffled off first (Surprisingly, Jared’s name didn’t come up every time).  Then, a very befitting winner took home the new skis.  Tim White has come to almost all of the races and has been an ardent supporter of the new series.


Series in Review:

So what started as a casual get together of friends on Thanksgiving morning has turned into a wonderful tradition of more friends, skiing, suffering, pies, and prizes.  In all, we had 9 races this year, all of which where held in the Brighton Ski area and the surrounding backcountry.  I estimate that over 80 people came out and participated in at least one race and many many folks raced multiple times.  The format varied and we tried out a few different styles of races ranging from vert style (as many laps as one can do in an hour or two), team relay, hill climb, standard Skimo course, and a four lap short course.  We had current and former US Skimo National Champions (both mens and womens), local hardmen such as Tom Diegle, weekend warriors, newcomers to the sport, people on carbon boots, tele boots, race skis, mega watts, and everything in between.  Many companies rose up to show support including Kirkham’s, Minus 33, the Powderwhores, and main sponsor, La Sportiva.  Brighton was a gracious host all series long and allowed us to use their terrain free of charge to pursue our shenanigans.  Jared Winkler, Brandon Dodge, and Greg the cat driver all deserve special mention for giving the OK from an administration, patrol, and driver perspective.

 My goals at the beginning were many fold:

1. Get faster

2. Get others involved in this great sport

3. Preach the “light is right” philosophy

    a. Help point others in the right direction gear wise as others have done for me

4. Have fun

I think all four were accomplished and hope to grow the series next year and continue our relationship with the above mentioned great companies.  Special thanks to La Sportiva for contributing the grand prize. And, special thanks to all of you who competed and made the series a success.

Comments and suggestions on how to make things better are welcome.

Series Finale This Thursday – Grand Prize

Come out for the last race of our evening race series. If you’ve come before, that only increases your chances of winning a new pair of La Sportiva skis at the after race party at Molly Green’s. If this will be your first race, you still have a chance to win the skis and just might walk away with a pumpkin pie for being faster than your friends.

Meet at 7:00 PM, ready to go at the base of the Millicent lift. The race will be a sprint style relay with your partner being determined on scene. Hopefully, we’ll match dorks in spandex on skinny skis with those on regular gear. Plan on staying after to participate in the awards as you must be present to win the skis. Also, you must fill out the form below by Thursday at 4:00 PM to be entered to win.

Get psyched! See you all Thursday.


From Jared,

“The 9th and final Wasatch Citizens Skimo Race will be held on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm at Brighton, Utah.

We will conclude the inaugural series by giving away a pair of Sportiva GTS skis.

Here are the rules:

1. To be eligible for the drawing, you must have participated in at least one WCS Race.

2. To enter the drawing, you must fill out the form below.

3. Procedure for drawing: (a) based on form submissions (paragraph 2), a list of all entries will be compiled; (b) each entrant will get 1 entry for each race in which he or she has been a participant; (C) a randomly numbered list of all entries will be compiled; (D) each entry will be assigned a number between 1 and the total number of entries; (E) a randomly selected person at Molly Greens will select a number between 1 and the total number of entries; (F) the selected number wins the GTS skis!

4. You must be present to win.

Thanks and Good Luck!”

Wasatch Citizen’s Skimo Race #8: Vert 60

Pre race briefing

Last night we held our penultimate race for the year and I think it was another great success.  Around 35 people showed up to suffer and have fun with friends for 60 minutes.  We warmed up together to the base of the Snake Creek lift where the usual crooked start line was drawn in the snow.  After a couple announcements, I gave the starting commands and 3 dozen athletes of varying backgrounds were off.  They were all chasing their own goals.  For some, it was a desire to beat a friend.  For others, a certain number of laps equated to success.  Some were just happy to be hiking in the sharp night air amongst friends.

Group Warmup

After putting away the camera, I gave chase and caught the leaders who seemed to have arranged some sort of “gentleman’s agreement” to take it semi easy on the first lap, allowing everyone to warm up properly.  I hung around for a few more laps and then reverted to “race director” and took pics/video of the whole crew.

The usual fast start

It looked initially like it might be a competitive race between Jason, Jared, Tom, Tom, Teague, Courtney, Layne, Chad, Chad, and others (sorry if I didn’t see you up front).   But, one by one skin failures, binding malfunctions, or natural attrition resulted in a two man race.  Jason claims he was toying with Jared but then he lost his skin and he looked like a fool, unable to catch up over the final minutes.

A few random pictures of people getting after it above.

As for the women, Gemma Arro Ribot, fresh off a 2nd place finish in the European Skimo Championships, hung with most of the men and turned in the most laps.  It was great to see at least five other women out racing the men as well.

The little pie for our littl winner

After the hour of pain, most people skied down for the traditional after race party at Molly Green’s for drinks, food, and prizes.  Minus 33 was the sponsor for the evening and donated hats and a couple proform cards.  Pumpkin pies were handed out to Jared and Gemma and then to newcomers, the Diegle brothers, and to Layne and Toph for making every race thus far.

Gemma with the pumpkin pie and a new hat courtesy of Minus 33

Join us next week for our last race of the series.  We will be having another team sprint relay where someone on race gear and spandex is paired with someone on traditional gear.  The first team to complete 4 laps (two each) will be declared the winners.  They will get a pumpkin pie and someone will win a pair of brand new skis from our main sponsor, La Sportiva, in the season finale raffle.

Series sponsor La Sportiva will be giving away a new pair of skis next week!  The skis above a just a few in their new line.


Race Series Returns

The Citizen’s Ski Mountaineering Series returns this Thursday night at Brighton. Be there at 7, ready to go. The format is yet to be determined so suggestions are welcome. Remember there are just two more races to fine tune your game before the Powder Keg on March 10th.

I know there’s powder out there but you know you won’t be doing anything on a Thursday night. Come laugh and suffer with friends and make these last two races a success. As always, pumpkin pies to the winners and random lucky people.

Don’t forget your helmets or headlamps. See you all Thursday.


Race Tomorrow Night!

Don’t forget to wash your spandex, wax your skinny skis, and get ready to trash talk your friends because we will be racing again tomorrow (2/9) night at 7:00. Plan to meet at the base of the Great Western lift where the evening’s format will be revealed. Hint: you’ll be both the hunter and prey. As always there will be pies for the winners.

Bring your friends and spread the word. Make sure they know all are invited and that there are actually only a few people in spandies and on skinny skis. And, don’t forget helmet and headlamps are required.

See you all tomorrow night!


Wasatch Citizen Series Sprint Relay

Announcement: Before recapping the race, I want to reiterate that being able to skin uphill at Brighton is a privilege and not a right. We are guests and need to act with courtesy to ALL Brighton employees. The correct course of action is to defer without argument to any request while traveling uphill. Please don’t let any unpleasant interactions ruin it for the rest. End rant.

Last Friday we had a record turnout with 50 or so people in attendance. Tom and Jared came up early and helped me set a figure eight course with two climbs and joint descents that each person would complete twice. Teams of two were chosen by having all those on race gear step forward and then those without, stepping forward to select their horse. In the end, there was an odd number so I went partnerless and after racing the first lap, turned my attention to cheering, jeering, and cleaning up the course flags.

The first climb ascended a mellow cat track before cutting up switchbacks for around 350-400ish vertical feet. We descended the corduroy back to the base before skinning up for another mild section of groomed trail. From there the course cut up for a couple kick turns and then turned straight up a 150 foot boot pack. Topping out that section, we skinned a low angle trail to the joint transition zone with the first climb.

It was decided the faster of the partners would go first to keep things competitive throughout the whole race. So 25 of us lined up at the crooked start line until someone from the back yelled, “go!” That was sufficient and the whole group surged forward with one Tom Goth at the head pushing the pace. Jason and I and the rest of the crew were just a little unhappy about being forced to suffer early. The remainder of the lap went as planned with Jason wrecking fantastically and me winning. I can only write that every so often…

As we returned to the base, each of our partners would take off, one by one, hoping to reel in the guy/gal in front and avoid getting caught. There were numerous lead and position changes as well as glorious wrecks in the soft light that was reflecting from the low clouds.

The coup of the event occurred when Jared came absolutely tearing into the uphill transition, stepped out of his skis, and stepped into another pair already with skins, and took off seconds after arriving. Couple that with his coupling of himself and Morgan (out for the first time but is a former US ski team member and also on race gear) and the win was sealed. Since Morgan had nothing to do with masterminding the shadiness, she still won the big pie as the overall winner.

Tom Goth and Sarah (on tele gear and also out for the first time) came in second a couple minutes back. Layne Caldwell and his partner, Trent Duncan pulled off third but I don’t think anyone really cared too much about how they placed. The whole night there was someone to chase and someone to cheer.

Afterward, we moved the party over to Molly Green’s for some food and prizes (pumpkin pies) and laughed about the night’s events. We have three more races planned, all leading up to the Powderkeg. Our next race will be this coming Thursday so come out and race your friends, get faster, and ski more!

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Thursday Night Racing Is Back!

This Thursday we will be back up at Brighton for another evening of racing friends, getting faster, and eating pumpkin pie.

Meet at the Milly base at 7 and we will get going shortly thereafter. Spread the word and bring your friends. All are welcome!

Remember, helmets and headlamps are required.

The wasatch is speeding up! See you all tomorrow.


Wasatch vs the World Citizen Race

Friday morning 33 folks of varying racing backgrounds once again toed the crooked start line for another race in our Wasatch Citizens Series.  The unusual start time was to accommodate some out of town racers who were attending the Outdoor Retailer Show.

The format for this race was simple.  The first to complete four laps up a skin track set that morning through the trees, powder groomers, and over a small sub ridge would be the winner.  To add some friendly competition, we decided to score the race like a cross country meet – each place counts (through the top five on each team) as its number of points and the lowest number of total points wins.  The confusing question was on whose team would Luke Nelson count?  He is this years USSMA National Champion and lives in Pocatello, ID.  Since that’s basically an extension of the Wasatch and he’s going to be seen at times in a Wasatch Skimo speed suit, we claim him.  The problem is so did the “out of towners”.

Anyway, the competition was fantastic with 5 out of the top ten at this years national race in attendance and  the former woman’s National Champion, Janelle Smiley giving us all a run for our money.  Just a bit back, everyone on more standard gear (extra girth and lacking carbon fiber) waged their own battles.  It was pretty awesome to look down the skin track and see 30 headlamps bobbing as people were making kick turns through the trees on the first lap.  After the first descent, Jared dropped out citing illness and a bloody cough.  I transitioned well and chased Luke through the trees with Wick and Pete following.  Once the course opened up, I could feel Wick on my heels and let him go by as he in turn encouraged me to stick with it.  After the second descent, Luke got out first with Wick chasing and Pete turning in a fast transition and getting out before me.  That’s the way things stayed with the gaps widening slightly.

Pete Swenson giving chase (photo by JI)

The final standings (according to Jared who became the default course marshall):
1. Luke Nelson. 56 min
2. Bryan Wickenhauser
3. Pete Swenson
4. Andy Dorais
5.. Tom Goth
6. Janelle Smiley
7. Courtney Phillips
8. Mark Smiley
9. Chad Brackelsberg
10. Layne Caldwell
11. Tim Holmberg
12. Luther Birdzell
13. Matt Hart
14. John Swain
15. Adam OKeefe
16. Nate Kartchner
17. David Morris
And about 15-20 others, before he had to leave.  Sorry to all those that didn’t get counted.  

So for the scoring, Team Wasatch Skimo placed 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 10th and Team “Rest of the World” placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 8th. That would make the final score 35 to 20 with the out of towners taking the win.  

Except we count Luke.  Ha!  So the real score was 1, 4, 5, 7  vs 2, 3, 6, 8 (only 4 present) or 17 vs 19 giving the Wasatch the W!

Regardless of how we score it, everyone had a great time getting faster and skiing some powder.   Our next race is Feb 2nd with more on the 9th, 23rd, and March 1st.  It all leads up to the Powderkeg and then hopefully to ticking off some of our more adventurous objectives for the year.  So come on out and join the races.  It’s free, a good way to meet others and learn how to be efficient, and great training for your own projects.  

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And lastly, a Cannon S100 was left at the lodge and it’s owner would desperately like it back.  Please comment below if you have it or know where it went.  

The top three (photo by JI)

Great Race and Lost Camera

We had another awesome race this morning with 33 people in attendance (not bad for a Friday morning). Current and former national champions were racing and we had 5 of the top 10 from this year’s race. More details and pictures to follow.

But for now, a black Cannon S100 was left in the lodge after awards. Its owner (me) would really like it back. Apparently the staff ran it out to someone in a sliver Toyota Tacoma wearing a Dynafit suit. Sound familiar?

801 628 3929 to get it back. Thanks!

Stay tuned for a full race recap…