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.
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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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.
Check out citizenseries.wasatchpowderkeg.com and subscribe to get the updates.
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.
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?
Our Thursday night series will pick back up on February 2nd at 7 pm! Races will follow on the 9th, 23rd, and March 1st. This will be a perfect tune up for the big one, the Wasatch Powderkeg, on March 10th.
Also, don’t forget about our bonus race this Friday morning. It’s a 7am start at the base of the Milly lift. We will be done by 8:30 so everyone can make it to work, the OR show, or any other responsibilities that exist besides skiing.
We are working on obtaining a title sponsor for the series so there may eventually be some decent prizes. But, for now, the pumpkin pie tradition continues!
We are having a bonus Friday morning race to accommodate the OR show folks who will be in town and restless. The start time will be 7AM at the base of the Milly lift. Park at the church and park tightly and organized to keep everyone happy. The format is yet to be determined by the amount of blessed snow we get this week. We plan to be finished by 8:30 so everyone can make it to their respective engagements…which might just be breakfast for those that don’t have to hightail it to the show.
So come on out and show these out of town folks how the Wasatch is speeding up!
Last night we held the first race of our new Wasatch Citizen Skimo Series. Brighton was gracious enough to allow us to have the event under the lights even though we are not paying customers (we tried to make up for that at Molly Green’s afterward). The turnout was FANTASTIC with over 40 people racing through the still single digit air. The format was “vert style”, meaning we would try and lap a short course as many times as possible in a predetermined amount of time. I pushed for 75 minutes but wanted 90. The masses demanded 60, so 60 minutes of suffering was the name of the game. After the fact, I wish it had been 45.
The planned meeting time was 7PM, and at 7:03 I looked around and saw only 5 others. Thinking the race was a bust or that there may have been an accident in the canyon that was holding up traffic, I decided we should wait. Then word came that everyone was waiting at the other end of the parking lot. Running over, I found another 35+ folks, milling about in the cold, wondering why we weren’t getting started.
Up the Great Western we skinned, 40+ strong, headlamps bobbing in the darkness. Insufficiently warmed up, I muttered a few words about the course, rules, and the newly forming Wasatch Skimo Team (custom speed suits being ordered for those interested) and then a sick samurai gave the commands while his studly 10 year old son toed the line for his first race. We started fast to warm up and eventually completed a varying number of laps depending on gear, experience, fitness, etc.
Some highlights include everyone yelling and cheering for eachother, the boot track through the woods, and for me seeing others get excited about the sport. Out of the newcomers, Teague had the most laps – just shy of 7, Emily edged out Emily again for the women’s win, and Ethan won the biggest pie for being the youngest participant.
The biggest boner move of the night came when I came into the uphill transition zone and went down, sliding into the patroller who came by to make sure we were being safe and staying out of the way of downhill traffic (of which there was very little). Damn. I am a total dumb ass. Period.
He was a good sport and I apologized profusely. Instead of assaulting patrol, I was hoping to genuinely thank them, Brandon Dodge in particular, for supporting our shenanigans. We will be having more races over intermittent Thursday evenings and there is one in the works for Friday morning next week.
Who cares that there is no snow? We are having a great time getting fit and playing the skimo game. Spring will come and with it stable snow and coverage for our bigger goals. But until then, come join us and find out what skinny skis and tights are all about.
Don’t forget to join us this Thursday at 7:00PM up at Brighton (meet at Great Western base) for the first event in our Citizen’s Skimo Series. Again, all levels and types of gear are invited. It’s free so there’s no reason to not come try and win a pie. Helmet and headlamps required. Hope to see you there!
Alright folks, it seems the interest is there to work on getting faster by chasing spandex clad skiers around. So in that vein, our first race will be Thursday, January 12th (with others to follow on intermittent Thursdays). Let’s shoot for a start time of around 7:00 PM. Everyone needs to bring a headlamp and follow Brighton’s new uphill policy for parking. Further details forthcoming as the date nears but be assured that winners will receive a prize (mostly likely to continue with the tradition of pies). Hopefully we can start a new tradition of sharing the pies and getting a drink at the lodge.
And BTW, all are welcome. At our recent informal holiday races the gear ranges from Dukes to Dynafits to Teles. Think of this race series as good training, a way to meet new partners, an intro to Skimo, a way to get gear savvy, or just a good time. Hopefully it will lead up to a faster Powderkeg and all around more skiing.