Ski Mountaineering

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It was a beautiful clear, warm, early Sunday morning as we pulled into the Monarch parking lot. The only people scurrying around were dressed in spandex, pulling short skinny skis out of their cars. This has been the routine for the past couple of years with ski mountaineering competitions. Get up early, put on some tight clothes, grab a 160 length 65 underfoot ski, do a couple quick sprints and line up at the starting line.

This season’s first race started in Irwin right outside of my hometown of Crested Butte, CO. Driving those skinny skis threw the 22-inches of fresh powder that day made going down hurt more than going

 up. With such skinny skis we were all getting face shots. The terrain and camaraderie of the first race was awesome. But what I really liked was having the forced opportunity to push myself to my limits, I think that what I really love about skimo races

January 8th snuck up all too quickly with the Ski Mountaineering National Championship Race, a qualifier for the World Championship Race in Italy. I showed up that day with my sights on finishing in the top 3, so it was somewhat of a surprise when I was the first woman to cross the finish line that day! The opportunity to race, to challenge myself, and to be rewarded with such a good finish left me with a sense of overwhelming gratitude.

The race in Monarch was a surprisingly different race than any race prior because I had whole new setup. I raced with the new Stratos Carbon boots and the day before the race I received the RT binding to mount on the RSR ski. The maiden voyage for this new setup was going to be race day. I didn’t have another choice; with four transitions I was going to get familiar with the gear quickly. I was amazed! Dropping a pound off of each foot makes a huge difference! I felt ridiculously fast. I was racing with men I have never even seen before in races. I felt like I was cheating with gear that performed so well but was so light. I can’t wait to get a couple more training days with it before I race in Italy.

It’s been a great season so far from Irwin to Monarch. I have become more efficient in my transitions, faster on the ups and the downs, and a smarter racer, but that process is what excites me about the small, but growing, world of ski mountaineering. I am on my way to race with the best in the world. I am thrilled to represent La Sportiva and the USA at the World Championships starting Saturday the 19th in Claut Italy.

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