29 November, 2010

Vert 180 Ski Mountaineering Race Report

The first race of the Canadian Ski Mountaineering Cup, just took place in Calgary Olympic Park in Alberta this past Saturday, The Vert 180.  Heading out to Golden, Friday evening, was epic.  A snowstorm had crippled BC highways, encounters with rockfall on the Coquihalla highway, fishtailing 18 wheel trucks inside tunnels on Rogers Pass, and getting stopped by the Police made the first day of driving a bit too long.  But it was all worth it to get out racing again.
(Photo Above:  Start line, ready to drop the hammer, photo: Ian Gale)

Kylee Ohler, of the Canadian Skimo Team, was the driving force behind this race.  She did a fantastic job, organizing great prizes, DJ's, the course, and everything to make it a great race.  Showing up, we had an idea it was going to be a big turn out, but were suprised when the lines became too big to handle the pre-race registration desk!  The Canadian Ski Mountaineering Team was out, taking on the three different categories, Solo, 2 person team, and 3/4 person teams.  
I had decided to race in the Men's Solo category, and only having had an hour and a half on my skis a week before, was interested to see where I was starting off the season.  Painfully, I learned this lesson, spending the entire 180 minutes living inside my "pain cave."  Watching Steve Sellers and Ian Gale, the winning 2 person team, fire out of the gate after each relay and having the chance to rest I pondered my choice of visiting my pain cave.  (Photo Left:  Racers getting ready for the start, photo:  Ian Gale)

Getting into the pacing, and focusing on transitions in the cold weather, was key to keep going.  Skins were failing, backups failing, and water froze.  Competitors were aching, but still having a great time racing over the lights of Calgary below.  In the end, Reiner Thoni took the first place in the Men's Solo, followed by Andrew McNab, then myself.  Melanie Bernier, was out giving it everything, and took the Women's Solo title, and even 3rd overall!  Everyone was out really pumping out the vert, and we were all pretty pumped to see a good number of juniors getting into the sport, as well as new dedicated racers to the sport.  
(Photo Above:  The starting group, Photo:  Ian Gale)
Now with lots of race data from my Suunto T6d and GPS pod, I am looking forward to adjusting my training to the next race on the schedule.  You can check out all that data, here on Movescount.  Some racers are going to be racing the Selkirk Classic at Golden Alpine Holidays, but the next National Circuit points race will be the double feature at Kicking Horse Resort in Golden, the Tiki Torch Dash.  A big thanks to everyone who's been helping out this year, Plum, Whistler Blackcomb, The Escape Route, and Suunto, stoked for more racing!  Full Results Here.


  1. More pictures from the race are posted at mtaylorvfga.blogspot.com

  2. Ah, the pain cave - many an hour have I spent in my own little pain grotto! lol Keep up the training.