Spring Skiing and Racing

Well, it seems like spring is just around the corner. One day I heard Saturday would be clear. Then it was Sunday. Now it’s Monday. Rest assured, the weather will clear and we will have the benefit of 700 inches of snow at higher elevations. Which leaves us a lot to work with.

Recently, the local race schedule has been a little bit empty. The Gold Rush postponement was a setback, not least for people who had traveled a long ways to be there. As a registration helper the day before, no one can say that Royal Gorge/Far West did not make an all out effort to hold the race. The racing is not nearly over yet. There is a race or two every weekend from now until April 16th. For anyone who has not yet moved on to their spring sport, now is the time to be on snow having fun and maybe doing some technique too.

I paraphrase Colby ski coach Tracey Cote: In November no one thinks twice about driving 10 hours roundtrip to Canada for 2 days on marginal snow. In March people pass up a foot of base even though it’s right outside their door. (Shameless plug: The Colby Ski Trails are actually right outside the door. Having two final exams in one day does not prevent ski training.)

In our case, March is nearly over and April looks like a full month of great skiing. For anyone inclined toward backcountry skiing, May and June are also fair game. Pack your swimsuit and the sunscreen. It’s time for spring skiing.

The American Birkebeiner

For those of you who missed it, the American Birkie was held last Saturday February 26th from Cable to Hayward Wisconsin. This is 50km skate race through the woods in the middle of nowhere with 10,00 other people and is one of the largest nordic events in North America. The thought of 10,00 people on nordic skies racing through the woods is probably pretty foreign to most people from the western US; it is a sight to behold.

Let me give you a taste of the race: The start  for the elite mens field came and went in a farm field at 8:25am under cloudy skis with the temperature hovering near -10 F. Yes, you read that correctly, -10 Fahrenheit. After two hours and 50km the race came to an end on Main Street in Hayward (literally a sprint finish down the main street of town, think Donner Pass Road in downtown Truckee) under still cloudy skis and a temperature of 0 F with a -8 F windchill and light snow beginning to fall. Quite a day as should be expected in the midwest…

Although I paint a less than desirable picture, this race is actually VERY fun. While the weather and location leave something to be desired, the course quality completely makes up for it. The relentlessly rolling, wooded terrain is great skiing. It is like skiing a roller coaster, up and down through pristine woods. There is no skiing like this in the west and it is a refreshing change.

Although there certainly are some odd rules and procedures embedded in the Birkie, I highly recommend bearing the weather and travel to take part in this race. While it might only be in the cards to race it a couple times in your ski career/ recreation, it is well worth your time to check it out.

For those interested, results can be seen here: Birkie 2011 Results

MG

I apologize for the late posting, I had a nice write-up prepared a couple days ago when technology decided it was not going to my day to post…

I love ski spectating almost as much as ski racing

A little background info on the drama unfolding in Oslo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrI8e4ltazw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbDOfxcBGsI?

There are some big egos out there, and it is arguable whether or not it is good for the sport, but I think it definitely makes for interesting spectating.

Currently listening to Alexander Ebert‘s solo album (of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros fame)

The Great Ski Race

The first thing I heard about ski racing in Truckee and Tahoe was that this event is unmissable. To be precise, I heard it when working at Paco’s Fun Race last year, which was just my second day living in Truckee. It is an epic event.

I skied the course yesterday and it was awesome. My skis had a much-too-warm wax but the course was looking really good. It’s useful to see the speed bumps soon after soup station 1 and also the more technical turns as the course enters Sierra Meadows. I am psyched up for the race. It will be my first  start since my trip to Camden, Maine, for a family gathering. (By the way, Camden has good skiing if you don’t mind a crusty adventure.) Hopefully I still have the magic, or at least some V2 technique.

The race is this Sunday and the fee goes up by $10 for day of race entry. Don’t miss it!