The third and final qualifier for the ski mountaineering worlds was this weekend at Sunlight. I have raced this COSMIC race three or four times and it keeps getting better. This year the course was changed up a bit to add some more kick turns and a final short ascent before the finish.
As has been the case for the last few years, the Heathen Challenge brought gorgeous weather. During the race, I once again had issues with my skins and got to ‘practice’ a few extra skin changes. Thankfully, I felt pretty strong and still managed to pull off a victory.
Unfortunately the photographer taking photos on the second ascent just missed me fumbling through a kick turn. Despite not always having perfect form, I got the job done. Most importantly, I’m really getting comfortable in my La Sportiva Stratos boots and Sportiva skis and my descending skills and speed have improved dramatically.
Monique Merrill, Jari Kirkland and Jessica Philips raced very well for the women. Unfortunately both Lyndsay Meyer and Molly Zurn were sick and couldn’t complete the course. I’m looking forward to the next race in Crested Butte as all of us learn more each race.
Pete Swenson, COSMIC founder, won the men’s race with Scott Simmons, Jan Koles, Max Taam and Travis Scheefer rounding out the top five.
With the three qualifiers complete, the US ski mountaineering worlds team is: Men: Brandon French, Travis Scheefer, Pete Swenson, Scott Simmons, Luke Nelson, Bryan Wickenhauser, Max Taam and Greg Ruckman; Women: Sari Anderson, Monique Merrill, Janelle Smiley, Nina Silitch, Jari Kirkland, Amy Fulwyler, Jessica Philips and Jaime Falcon.
Finally, if you are going to be at the OR show this week in Salt Lake City, please stop by the La Sportiva booth on Thursday to have a beer and fund-raise for USSMA. Enter to win a pair of Sportiva skis!