I’ve never raced before and I don’t really know what ‘Skimo’ is.
“Skimo” is short for “ski mountaineering” but most skimo racing isn’t as extreme as that term suggests. It can also be called “randonee.” Skimo races includes skinning uphill and skiing downhill as fast as possible, and can include bootpacking and technical rope work. There are multiple race formats. The Individual race is the most common format in North America. Other race formats include Teams, Sprint, Vertical, and Relay.
What equipment do I need?
You will need some sort of touring set-up that uses climbing skins – alpine touring, telemark, or splitboards all work. Unfortunately, nordic gear is not allowed even if you have kicker skins and neither are snow shoes. You’ll also need a helmet and a headlamp.
What avalanche gear is required?
Not for the Tuesday night races! The courses are set in-bounds at the resort. You are more than welcome to bring your avalanche safety gear if you want, but we do not require it. You will, however, need avi gear for bigger races like the Wasatch Powder Keg or Crowbar that go into the backcountry!
How about a backpack?
Not required, but you can bring one if you like. The Tuesday night races are designed to take an hour, so bring whatever you think you might need for an hour of exercise. If it’s your first race, a pack isn’t a bad idea so you have a place to stash layers you shed or bring extra in case you need them.
Sometimes the course setter will be sneaky and set a boot pack and will suggest you bring a back pack. In this case, wearing a pack will A) ensure you don’t drop you skis and B) be good practice if you think you want to do other races like the Powder Keg (which you should) where you will be required to wear and use a back pack.
Wait, did you say boot pack? What’s that?
The boot pack is the trail the course setters and other racers have put in that often has steps packed down to make climbing on foot much easier.
Oh yeah , what should I wear?
Skimo racing is highly aerobic and you will see people wearing literally nothing but a full body spandex suit. In the middle of winter. While it’s snowing. And the wind is howling. Yup. But before you jump into the spandex, a good rule of thumb is start with what you could wear for a day of ski touring and then go a little lighter.
On your first race or two, bring a few different layers so you can adjust as needed. Many racers will wear a warmer layer to warm up before the race and an area will be available to stash layers and backpacks before the race so you don’t need to be freezing from the moment you get out of your car. Everyone’s body is a little different, so it may take some adjustments, and what might work for your friend might not work for you.
Are there prizes? At the night races, baked good are awarded to the ‘winners’. Generally the categories are first male and female, but other categories may be added at the race directors’ discretion. You can only be awarded the winner’s prize once per season. Races are not timed. There are no numbers.
How much does it cost? Please see our Membership page for details about cost. You can either pay per race or join Utah Skimo as member – and membership has it’s benefits!
Where does the money go? The majority of the money we receive goes to insurance. Boring, but necessary. Other than insurance, we use the money to put on races, build a fleet of demo race gear, and help support the youth teams and other skimo programs across the state.
Where are the races, how do I find the start?
Read our home page! We’ll do our best to put the night race info and start locations right on the landing page before each race so its easy to find. You can also follow up on our Facebook page for all the latest details.