Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cosmic Ski Event

Moving right along.. we seem to be in the thick of Brian racing. Me? along for the ride! This past weekend was at the Sunlight ski area in Glenwood springs. I hadn't been there before, its out of the way from Gunnison, as you have to go around the mountains to get there.
It was a super fun weekend, staying downtown ( cheers Ross ), good coffee shops and food and across from the hot springs!
Sunlight ski area was great, our Monarch passes extend there too, so while Brian and Sully pre skied the downhills on Saturday, I made my way around the mountain on the ezy peasy terrain. And it was warm!
Sunday dawned bright and early, and cool 13 degrees, the race started at 8am, so we got up early. Brian was using both his sets of skins in the race so I put on yak traks and grabbed poles to hike up the mtn and watch the first skin up.
Randonee racing is basically like a MTB cross country race on skis with fast gnarly ski downhills, the skiers transition at the bottom, put skins on to climb back up, take skins off at the top to ski down. Super hard and fun and waayyy out of my skiing league! Which is a bummer, maybe in 5 -10 years ??
Anyway, on the first skin up, I cheer everyone on. Where is Brian? off the back I see him and learn later he had ice in a binding and it wouldn't engage. He started maybe 5 mins back after getting it sorted out.
I run down to watch the first transition, Brian Wickenhauser and Max Tamm come flying in in a dead heat basically, Brian comes in maybe 3 mins back in about 10th place, and heads back up the hill for lap two.
I run up to watch the 2nd descent, fully realise how out of my league it is and am now in massive awe of everyone doing it, and envious.. ( guess thats what I get for growing up w/ the ocean out my bedroom window across the street!!)
By the 3rd and final climb and bootpack Brian had caught the front and was hopefully headed for a win. Brian crossed first, then Max and Wick duked it out for 2nd finishing in a basic sprint. Wick is an amazing descender, Max earned the 2nd place.
After the event Brian and I skinned up the last climb. It was amazing. Pete Swenson put a track in through aspens overlooking Sopris MTN, stunning and ridiculously steep and scary! from my pint of view, but so cool, we skinned to the top and took the green run down.

Wick, Max and Brian - top 3
Skin up.

Skins on.

Sully's gear.

Classic ski with Gale at Hartmans.

These icicles looked so pretty we tried eating them, they are too fragile.



The Durango Kid said...

Nice work kids...looks like fun and torture all in the same day...

Ken Bloomer said...

Hey guys,
it's fun to read up on what your up to and I love seeing pics of our old neck of the woods. Say hi to the gunni folks for us.

Anonymous said...

great quote from last weekend!

Gunnison/CB has to be the heart of US ski mountaineering racing. They have great terrain, great access, and most importantly, some really fast people there, like from another planet fast. On the second pitch of the first climb, there was a group of about 8-10 with a couple other groups of 4-6 behind. I was killing myself to stay in the first group (I'd say between 55-70 fpm) when all of the sudden Brian Smith launched a full on attack, sprinting out of the group up a hill. B. Smith ended up winning with a time of just under 2 hrs.