All posts by Matthew Sadauckas

UTAH SKIMO IN THE TIME OF COVID

Hello Utah Skimo’rs,

This is Joel Trachtenberg.  Who knew when I accepted to be president of Utah Skimo at the beginning of last season that specializing in infectious diseases would be useful in organizing an event series?  Since we wrapped up last season all of our worlds have changed.  As of the writing of this post nearly 51 million people worldwide have been infected, and over 10 million in the United States.  Tragically we have lost over 1.2 million people worldwide to this disease, and nearly 240 thousand in the US. 

COVID numbers in Utah are currently spiking and our hospitals are experiencing near capacity.  I see the daily emotional stress and fatigue in our staff.  To all of those in our community who are essential workers (medical and non-medical), who don a mask daily, and who put themselves in harm’s way for the good of our society, we applaud and thank you.

This year we have also witnessed multiple, glaring examples of racial inequities and injustice, both in Utah and in the greater U.S.  Millions of people are currently unemployed or under-employed and are truly struggling.  And, of course, our skies have been hazy from historic western wildfires, greatly exacerbated by our climate crisis.

I have struggled why, despite so many critical issues that need to be addressed, I am spending so much time organizing a series where people ski uphill and chase each other around in the dark and cold.  On the surface, our obsession and diversion seem (and are) rather fickle.  Indeed, compared to all the aforementioned problems and challenges, Utah Skimo’s mission to promote the sport of skimo in Utah and to support its community could easily be described as tone-deaf. 

So why am I doing this?  Why are all the amazing Utah Skimo board members and volunteers still doing this?  I think the answer lies in the second half of our mission “support its community.” There are few sports which could be described as more alternative than skimo.  You know what I mean.  Even your friends and family think of this passion of yours as somewhat…odd.  But in this strange and wonderful sport we find kindred spirits and friends who recognize many of the world’s problems, who have a passion to effect change, and have a vision to create a better and alternative future.  When we come together as a community our potential and our impact is multiplied and is substantial.  

This season will be challenging, it will certainly look different.  We have plans in place to safely run socially distanced, in-person events.  We also planned for virtual challenges.  However, the COVID situation is much different today than the situation even 4 weeks ago when we were finalizing our event schedule.  We agree with the new social gathering mandates and will abide by them.

In addition, we cannot in good conscience send people on virtual challenges while our hospital resources and personnel are being stretched so thin. Our hope is that the hospital burden will be reduced enough to run our first event on Dec 8 (likely virtual), but this remains to be seen.  As the local epidemic unfolds, you will receive a slew of posts and information regarding Utah Skimo membership, event dates, and protocols, and I hope conditions will become favorable to meet soon. 

Additionally, I want to emphasize the importance of not stressing hospital resources beyond capabilities.  For everyone’s sake continue to wear masks, socially distance, mind the new state guidelines, and don’t take unnecessary risks which could lead to medical and surgical care.  Everyone is adult enough to understand risk, and I am not going to define it.  But I will add that early season conditions are synonymous with buried snow sharks and unstable avalanche conditions.  If you go into the backcountry, tone it down.

In the meantime, we are focusing on advocacy.  This is also our obligation.  This year Utah Skimo will support the Utah Food Bank.  The Utah Food Bank distributed over 44 million meals last year.  With COVID, school closures, and our struggling economy, more people than ever are experiencing food insecurity.  Our specific plan to collect food is still being solidified, but it was planned to be linked to our now world-famous, post-event give-away from our amazing partners.  That’s right!! The more cans you donate before each event, the more chances you have to win drool-worthy gear.  At least that was the plan.  Though we are now on event hold, we still want to support the Utah Food Bank, and we will post our plans soon… So stay tuned!

After the cacophony of this election season, I was looking forward to hearing only the clacking of kick-turns, the ripping of skins, edges gripping the snow, and my hyperventilating breath on a sublime Tuesday night.  Though we have to wait a bit, let’s focus on being our best selves, as well as embracing the opportunity and privilege to help everyone to the finish line.  Stay well, stay safe, we have not forgotten about you, and we hope to toe the line with you soon.

Last Citizen Series Night!

Come one, come all to the last night of racing for the season. We have another great course set up for you. We will be racing on the Milli side of the mountain in a points-based race.

The start of the race will be at the bottom of the Milli lift where we will travel up into the evergreen area. In there, we will have a short booter then your choice of continuing up for more points or making a run to the bottom for a shorter loop.

If you know someone that has been thinking about coming up, then now is the time to bring them up and show them the fun! Race starts promptly at 7pm. Please bring a helmet and headlamp! This is not an option, its for everyone’s safety. If you are not wearing both at the start, you will be asked not to participate.

After, at 8pm, is the ever-growing and popular raffle at Alpine Rose. We have got some more great stuff to give away. See you up there!

Citizen Series #5 at Brighton Resort

This week we have a fun course brought to you by the Silver Fork Skimo Team. We will start at the Great Western lift following next to the groomer up to Snake Creek lift. Once there, we will head climbers’ left through the trees to the top. From there, we’ll take a fun, quick descent down to the junction of Golden Needle and Thor runs. We will then lap the upper loop again for as much as time allows.

Make sure you park over by Milly chalet and that you have signed the waiver for Brighton and the Utah Skimo waivers for either adults or  kids.  While you’re at it, become a member. If you want to pay for just one night ($15) you can either pay online before or at the check-in tent. Please bring exact change. The race starts promptly at 7. Don’t forget your helmet and headlamp!

After, we will have an excellent raffle (including a pair of BD skis) at the Alpine Rose, so come enjoy some apres food and beverages. You must be a member to win the skis, so if you haven’t already, go join today!

race course
February 18 Race Course

Brand New Course!

This Tuesday we have a brand new course on the Milli side of the mountain! The race will start along the parking lot going up past Brighton lodge. From there, we go from groomer to switchbacks under the lift. A short booter will then take you on a fast skin to the first descent. The short descent will take you to the next set of switchbacks going up into the bottom of Milli bowl. A bumpy run will take you back down to a groomer and back down to a transition for a repeat of the same course.

Make sure you park over by Milly chalet and that you have signed the waiver for Brighton and the Utah Skimo waivers for either adults or  kids.  While you’re at it, become a member. If you want to pay for just one night ($15) you can either pay online before or at the check-in tent. Please bring exact change. The race starts promptly at 7. Don’t forget your helmet and headlamp!

The race starts promptly at 7pm – see you there!

February 4 Race Course
Milli side race course

RAce #3 Recap

Fresh off the MLK Holiday weekend, 142 athletes gathered for yet another great evening of Tuesday night racing in the dark.  Weather was clear and fair with enough overnight snow to generate some fine skiing.

Sarah Cookler and the Silver Fork team showed up in numbers once again to design and carve us a fresh track up and across the Great Western runs of Brighton Ski Area.  When interviewed after the citizen race, Cookler said her goal was a course that could effectively spread the sizable field, while challenging all the needed skills of the SkiMo game:  kick turns, kick and glide, a long booter, and transitions.  There was something for everyone.  After a sustained climb to a mid-mountain flat, the recreation and racing divisions divided into two course sections, representing elevation gains of 1200 and 2000 feet, respectively.  I’m not the only racer who noted the quality of the pow left in the narrow gully at the  top of the descent, as several hoots and yips were sent down the ridge.

In a throw back to the pure joy of our racing roots, the swag and cookie after party honored a guy who showed up and showed off his racing suit for the first time, and our oldest racer in the field – a spry lady of 69.

Powder break!

This Tuesday night, come enjoy a break from powder skiing and take part in our next Citizen Series at Brighton. We will be climbing up from the Great Western lift starting on the groomer then following the lift line to the flats above. From there, we will be doing alternating shorter laps going up Desperado run then down Silver Spur then back up Rock’n R and back down Silver Spur. The finish will be up on the flats where the shorter loops start and end. The race will start at 7pm sharp at the bottom of the Great western lift.

Make sure you park over by Milly chalet and that you have signed the waiver for Brighton and the Utah Skimo waivers for either adults or  kids.  While you’re at it, become a member. If you want to pay for just one night ($15) you can either pay online before or at the check-in tent. Please bring exact change. The race starts promptly at 7. Don’t forget your helmet and headlamp!

After the hour of running around in the dark, we will be going to Alpine Rose for our awards and raffle. We have some great swag and raffles from our awesome sponsors! Come on over and show your appreciation to Brighton for hosting our series! 

See you up there!

tuesday night race 11 21
Race course map

Skimo Women’s Night at Brighton

UPDATE 1/14 3:30PM – EVENT IS CANCELED! Due to sketchy traffic due to the storm, Hitomi is canceling the event tonight. There will be more ladies’ nights though!

Let’s gather to skin up Brighton Tuesday January 14th at 6 PM! This is a voluntary, low-key event and the first timers are welcome. We will stay on piste only. We plan to have a social time after a little workout!

If you are the first timer and need to rent gear, please contact Hitomi at 801-897-4070. You can get free demo skis from Skimo.co for the women’s night, you just need to have boots. If you need to rent boots as well, Skimo.co has rental boots for $30 (quantities are limited).

Let’s meet at Brighton center (main ticket counter building) 1st floor at 6:00pm. For anyone needing gear, let’s meet at the Skimo.co shop: 2477 E Fort Union Blvd Salt Lake City, UT  84121 at 4:30pm. Please call or text Hitomi by Monday 1/13 if you need gear!

Since this event is NOT an official Utah Skimo event, all participants will be attending at their own risk.

SKIMO TIME AGAIN!

Tuesday night is coming so its time to go run around in the dark again! This week is a points based circuit. There is a small loop, which is easier but worth fewer points and a big loop worth more points. The bigger loop will be longer and have off-piste skiing. This is a choose-your-own-adventure, which means pick up as many points as you can in hour by doing whatever loops you want. Start and finish will be at the bottom of the Great Western chair. Start time is promptly at 7pm.

A couple of reminders:

  1. Helmet and Headlamp are mandatory.
  2. Sign both the waiver for Brighton and the Utah Skimo waivers for either adults or  kids before you come up for faster check-in.
  3. If you have not bought a membership do it now and support the series and Utah Skimo! You can even pay for the one night online and not worry about bringing cash. 
  4. Please park at Milli chalet and walk over to GW chair for the start.

This week we will be going inside at Alpine Rose for a raffle and food. Brighton is hosting us for free so show your gratitude by coming up to the Rose and buying some food and beverages. We have some great raffle prizes from our sponsors. You do not want to miss this!

Race Series sponsors rule!

Check out all the swag Utah Skimo has to give away! The gargantuan pile of gear in the photo will be given away after the races this season. Come out to the race next Tuesday (1/7) at 7:00pm and stick around for the raffle afterward. You’ll have a chance to win some fantastic products from Dynafit, Smith, Ascend Nutrition, Voile, Ortovox, Julbo, Uphill Athlete, Baabuk, Skimo.co as well as massages by Jenna Baker.

So many thanks to our sponsors for hooking up all this good stuff!

swag pile
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1st Tuesday Night Citizen Series of the year!

Time to get your spandex dusted off, charge your batteries, and come run around in the dark on your skis! Tuesday’s race will start and end at the bottom of the Great Western chair at Brighton Resort.

The course will consist of a climb up to Elk Park ridge with a short ski down the face, then another short skin and end with a ripper of a downhill down a groomer back to the bottom. The course will be 670 feet per lap. Folks on race gear will do three laps while folks with other gear will do two laps of the course.

Race will start promptly 7pm. Remember a helmet and headlamp are mandatory because we race on unlit portions of the mountain. NO EXCEPTIONS! 

A few reminders for the season: EVERYONE needs to have signed BOTH the Utah skimo waiver and Brighton waiver. Please sign them before you come up to Brighton to make check in faster for you and our volunteers. Also, make sure to park by the Milly Chalet and walk across the parking lot to Great Western. Remember – sign BOTH waivers!

We have partnered with Black Diamond to kick off the season with a killer raffle. How it works: 1. Sign up with a membership for the 19/20 season, 2. Follow both utahskimo and blackdiamond_snow on Instagram, 3. Come race on Tuesday night. Winners will be announced on Instagram. Black Diamond will also have a van with all sorts of cool toys to demo. Make sure you leave enough time to if you want to demo gear before the start.

See you up there!

December 10 2019 Course