Wasatch Citizens Series Race #7 – SkiMo psych is building!

I normally don’t get too excited about writing race reports but today is different.  We had our 7th race of the Citizen’s Series last night and it was stellar.  Layne Caldwell, Jared Inouye, and Teague Holmes set up a great course with two short 250 foot climbs.  The format was a relay and teams were required to have one guy on race gear and one on fat skis.  To start, the 60 or so participants formed two lines (race gear in one and fat skis in the other) and then paired off.  From there it was a tag team effort to see who could finish 7 laps the quickest.

People went fast, it hurt, some people crashed, blah blah blah.  The race was an amazing workout on a well thought out course but I couldn’t care less about that right now.  I’m most excited about the enthusiasm of everyone. There were a lot of fast guys and gals out there and everyone seemed to be psyched to be out skiing and competing.  Living in a relatively large city so close to such a skier friendly resort (Brighton) offers all of us a unique opportunity to help spread the SkiMo psych to the masses.  I think it’s catching on.  I heard a few people say, “these races are my favorite thing about Salt Lake City!”

The race enthusiasm carried over to Molly Greens where pies (thanks Layne for buying) were given to the winners.  Vollie stepped it up again and gave out two tourlight probes and a XLM shovel to a few lucky new comers.  Christian and Jim Knight in coordination with Powerbar gave out over a hundred Powergels.  It seems like the swag will keep coming so come race, eat at Molly Greens, win something and be part of the light and fast movement!

The next race is Feb 19th, 7:00PM. As always, the Ski Trab demo skis will be there so show up a touch early if you’re interested in using them.

The line up to pick teams
A blur of racers as their partners watch
Winners of the woman’s division
Men’s winners

Wasatch Citizen Series Race #7

The World Championships are only a few days away.  Come give 2 of US National Team from the Wasatch (Tom Goth and Andy Dorais) your best wishes and get out of the inversion for a little fresh air and exercise.

Race #7 is tomorrow night (February 5) at 7PM at Brighton Ski Resort.  Please be early so that we can start the race right at 7PM.  As usual, park by the church, meet at Milly Chalet, and  a helmet and headlamp are mandatory.  If you are on race gear, bring a pack so you can get transition practice getting your skis on and off your pack on the booters.  As always, the race will be followed by awards and libations at Molly Green’s.

Please bring friends and introduce them to this great community sport.  As you spread the word, let people know that all abilities and gear are welcome and that only a small percentage of the participants are serious racers.  We want the Citizen Series to  be a fun, low stress introduction to the sport.


Wasatch Skimo Race #6: The OR Show

Thursday morning we had a special daytime race (although we started in the snowy dark) to accommodate any folks from the OR show who wanted to get some exercise during their 3 day marathon of yapping their jaws and fondling gear.  As expected, attendance was a little down on a work day but 30 people still came out and raced our best course yet!

We started next to the Milly Chalet and ran across the parking lot to the Great Western base.  From there, technical skinning ensued and at least a couple people probably wished for full coverage skins.  Rather than stop at the top of the lift, the course took the racers to the top of Clayton Peak for a full 2000 vertical.  This fragmented the field but from my position as racer/course marshall/race director, I got to see a bunch of close battles within the overall race.

The descent from Clayton was variable up top and icy bumps below the cat track.  I had counseled everyone to ski gingerly through a few rocky sections but instead I saw a little aggression as some of the better skiers tried to make up ground.  Luckily, our safety record is intact!

The second climb ascended on low angle skin track through mature pines before gaining the upper groomed section of the Snake Creek lift.  We exited the gates and then climbed to the summit of Preston Peak, our second of the day.  From there, a short descent back into the resort and down a wind drifted section of trees took us to the base of the final climb.

Again exiting the backcountry gates, we made another short climb to the summit of Pioneer Peak, making it three for the race.  By now the storm was building in character and so were most of the racers left on the course.  It was windy and the visibility poor, but the best part of the course was still ahead.

On the final descent, we enjoyed steep powder through some tight trees.  Quickly though, we were spit out onto a long left traversing groomed section that was somehow punctuated with sporadic moguls and one steep drop that caught more than one person by surprise.  Not quite done, there was a 200 meter flat skate to the finish before everyone could relax, put on some warm clothes, and enjoy some food at the Chalet.  Not quite everyone made it to the finish as I suspected since many people had to get to the show for early appointments or to work like normal civilized human beings.

That was their loss as this race received generous support from Voile and a few nice avy shovels were given away during the awards.  New US Ski Mountaineering member, Tom Goth ran away with the race but bailed early as he is sometimes responsible and had a meeting.  That meant that Chad Brackelsburg won a pumpkin pie for being the top finisher at the awards ceremony.  Christian also took home a pie for being the last finisher (wait until he gets on some light gear and he will tear through the pack!) and Tamara snagged one for coming out for the first time.

Thank you to all who came and participated.  It’s great fun to see the Wasatch speeding up and to see the friendships that have developed throughout the races.  We will resume regular Tuesday night action on February 5th and only have three more before the big event: The Wasatch Powderkeg!

Thank you also to our race sponsors (more great prizes to come!):

SCARPA, Ski Trab, La Sportiva, Voile, Outdoor Research, The Sport Loft, the Powderwhores, and especially Brighton Ski Resort!

Gathering around for the pre race briefing


Mike Kloser finishing up


A few happy people (L-R Mark, Tamara, Andy, Chad, Jared, Janelle, and Everett)

Also, thank you to Noah, Jonah, Tom, and Jared for helping set the course and to Chad, Mark, and Brent for helping tear down!

OR Show Skimo Race / Wasatch Citizen Series Skimo Race #6

After last year’s successful Wasatch vs. The World Skimo Race during the OR Show we are back at it this year.  OR kicks off today with the on mountain demo and tomorrow commences the activities at the Salt Palace.

We have a morning race planned for Thursday, January 24 at 7AM at Brighton Ski Resort .  Please be at Brighton no later than 6:45 AM as we will be starting at 7AM sharp start to ensure everyone involved in OR is done by 8AM and can get back to town and to the show by 9AM.  The race will last about 1 hour or less and the format will be determined Thursday morning based on any snow we might get.

The race will be followed by awards at Milly Chalet.  Milly Chalet wil also be serving their great breakfast.

Helmets, beacons, shovels, and probes are mandatory.  It will be dark for the first part of the race so you may want a headlamp as well.  All ski gear is welcome – split-boards, tele, AT, and race gear – as well anything from baggies to spandex.

Come up and see some of this year’s US National Team who will be competing in Pelvoux, France February 9-15, get in a good workout before your workday, and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine to start your day off.

Citizen’s Series Race #5 Recap

My life is almost impossibly busy right now and with too many balls in the air, Chad, Jared, and Jason, Teague, and Tom jumped in and put on the race last night.  It was cold but still 8 degrees over at the base of the Great Western lift.  Around 40 people, some new and many regulars, toed the line and then worked hard to complete the three (heavy metal) or four (racers) lap course.  They skinned over groomer, bumps, and single track through trees with a harrowing choice to balance over the “death log” or to drop into a small pit of despair.  Oh, and the skiing wasn’t too bad either with the soft snow and mellow lighting from the nearby night skiing operation.

In the end, Jason won the race division with Teague and Jared rounding out the non existent podium.  The women’s group was led as usual by our adopted Catalonian, Gemma Arro Ribot with Sarah and Emily taking 2nd and 3rd.  Out of those not on true race gear, new comers Rusty, Chris and Chris did an admirable job at their first Citizen’s Skimo race leading all others.

Another oddity of the night was our departure from pies as prizes and the distribution of doughnuts.  Jared was gracious enough to pick them up but struggled to find pies in the middle of January.  It didn’t matter though as the winners were happy to pass around some chocolately doughnuts to share.  Also, thanks to La Sportiva for the ski straps that were given as prizes to the new people!

Next up is our 2nd annual Wasatch vs the World skimo race on Thursday the 24th.  This one will take place in the morning with the race starting at 7AM.  For you locals, come out and show all the OR Show folks how we are stepping it up around here and speeding up the Wasatch!

Trying to stay warm before the start
Early one in the race


A lone racer approaches the transition




Chad trying to stow his skins prior to leaving the transition


A tight race with more than three guys in the transition together
Gemma and Teague accepting their doughnut prizes!

Wasatch Citizen Series Skimo Race #5

Happy New Year.  With the National Championship race and US National Team qualifying races behind us (congratulations to Tom Goth and Jason Dorais for making the US National Team to travel to Worlds February 9-15), it is time to resume the Citizen Series Races.  Race #5 is tomorrow night (January 15) at 7PM at Brighton Ski Resort.  As usual, park by the church and meet at Milly Chalet.  Come prepared for a fun night of racing followed by libations at Molly Green’s.  Don’t forget to bring your friends and introduce them to this great community sport.

Christmas Eve Race Recap

This snowy Christmas Eve morning we had another delightful race with around 40 in attendance, earning their holiday feasts.  The course was to summit three prominent peaks along the Brighton ridge line but visibility and conditions didn’t cooperate so plan B was to put in three climbs of decreasing vertical gain along the Great Western boundary line.

Tom, Layne, and Josh, very graciously joined me just before 6 AM to set the course in the new snow.  We put in a skin track that offered a variety of terrain including steep kick turns, flats, and groomer drag racing.  The first lap ascended to the top of the GW run (1750 gain) and then mostly followed the track for off piste skiing back to the base.  The new 6 inches provided great racing conditions.  The next lap climbed just under a 1000 feet along the same course and the last was a sprint with around 400 vertical gain.

Overall the “peloton” has gotten much faster.  I noticed people with new race skis, new speed suits, and  generally moving much better.  The Trab Tour Rando demo skis allowed a couple more people to catch a glimpse of why “light is right”.  There are three pairs available…let me know before the races if you’d like to try em out.

After the racing, most of us congregated at the Milly Chalet for some breakfast and to hand out some quick prizes and pies.  Tom dominated the field but gave up his pie which went to the next rightful heir, Tim Holmberg (Chad left early and missed out).  On the woman’s side, a new threat (name?) showed up and pushed Emily throughout and was awarded a big apple pie.  The Sport Loft generously supported this race and provided custom ski straps and a pair of Fly Low gloves as the grand prize for the day.  Those guys are true pros and have been great to work with over the past couple years.  Thanks Sport Loft!

We will now take a break from racing to get our powder fix and will resume the shenanigans on January 15th at 7:00 PM.  Hope to see you all there!  Happy holidays!

The field strung out early on the first climb
Eric, Chad, and some more suits


Luther and Tim


People with more fashion sense


Except Brent? and his new speed suit


Tom with victory sealed while still only on the second of three laps


The ladies race


Pies and prizes (donated by the Sport Loft)


The Sport Loft…celebrating 40 years of business

Wasatch Skimo Race #3 Recap

Tonight was a great night.  We counted 55 people that came out to join in the festivities.  It was cold with a faint glow in the air from the night lights of Brighton skiing reflecting off the clouds and people were jolly in spite of the hour of suffering they were about to endure.

Milling about before the start

We all sprinted from the start but quickly settled into a pace we could each sustain.  The course was almost entirely off piste and meandered through pines, made tight kick turns, sported a short boot track, and then subtly climbed to our high point.  From there, a quick transition sent skiers (and a few splitboarders) down a parallel path through fantastic powder.

The challenge was for the dorky looking folks in spandex (actually really good looking and fashionable) on skinny skis to do four laps and for everyone else to do three.  The cold air and dry powder stymied those who didn’t have extra skins but I think everyone completed the course.   After crossing the always crooked start/finish line most made it to the official finish line…Molly Green’s

There, we enjoyed food and drink and handed out some great prizes.  The Powderwhores donated a copy of their new movie, “Choose Your Adventure” and SCARPA donated the grand prize for the night which was a pair of Ski Trab Race Poles.  As always, pies were awarded to the winners and then shared with other hungry racers.

The movement is growing!  There seems to be solid interest in learning to move fast.  It makes sense though.  Climb faster to ski more and have more fun.

And, special thanks to Brighton, Brandon Dodge for being our advocate, Tom and Chad for help setting the course, SCARPA for the pin flags and the demo skis (3 pairs of Ski Trab Tour Rando skis which were well received and will be available at each future race on a first come first available basis), and to all of you for coming out and making these things so fun.

See you all next time (December 24th at 7:30 AM).

Below are some pics from the evening, most courtesy of D. Maack.  I’d like to get pics of everyone but these are the ones that turned out given the poor lighting and fast movement.

Kick turn conga line (photo by MH)
Tom G smiling in the middle of a tough lap?


Watch out for this man in the future…


Is that who I think it is?


Another battle


Josh racing on Megawatts?


Newcomer Katie on the Ski Trab demo skis looking like she’s having a good time


These awesome women braved the cold (along with a few others) to cheer us on with cow bells


Powderkeg President Chad through the lower trees


Hanging out at Molly Green’s after


Wasatch Citizen Series Race #3

Come join us for the third Wasatch Citizen Series race on 18 December at Brighton Ski Resort at 7PM.  As always, the race is free.  We will be inbounds Brighton so beacon, shovel, and probe are optional.  Helmet and headlamps are REQUIRED.  Please at the Milly Base along the row by the church.  Please be sure to stay for awards and festivities at Molly Green’s after the race (we will ensure they are open this week).

As always, everyone is welcome from spandex on toothpicks to Duke’s on Pontoons to Splitboards.