Vertfest and the Voile Wasatch Speed Project

Taylor Schefstrom, Crater Lake

Taylor Schefstrom, Crater Lake

Today’s post is from Mountain Lessons guest blogger Taylor Schefstrom.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll recognize her as my intrepid and loving sidekick. While I’m largely to blame for dragging her into a handful of races this season, Taylor’s no stranger to snow. She’s been touring and chasing snow for several years, and she’s so well-traveled it makes me ashamed to compare myself.

American women’s skimo is a Very small world, but there’s no reason for that. American already sends inspiring women to World Cups, and with the sport taking off in America, I think we’ll see a lot of growth from the women. I hope that Taylor will keep giving us the ladies perspective– the more outspoken women the better.

In today’s post, Taylor talks about her first experience on race skis. And how could that first-time experience be better than skiing next-year’s ski in a skimo race? Oh yeah… if she placed and scored some cash.

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Vertfest Mt Bachelor Podium

After skin difficulties and some hard-won lessons at Alpental last week, I was both nervous and excited to get back on snow this weekend for the Subaru Vertfest Mt Bachelor race. The weather was amazing, with blue skies and a light breeze, and around 60 people turned out to race in the recreational and elite divisions.

The course was modified at the last minute to avoid travel to the top of Mt Bachelor, which had yet to open. Rather than climb all the way to the top of the mountain, the elite division instead completed two laps of the second and longer climb before booting the cinder cone and descending to the finish.

Vertfest Bachelor Course and Altitude Profile

Vertfest Bachelor Course and Altitude Profile

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Subaru Vertfest at Alpental

Alpental Vertfest

Dumping snow at Alpental. When it’s a powder day, I prefer to Skimo race.

Yesterday was the first SkiMo race of the season for me. To anyone in Colorado that must seem late, but to those of us thus-far confined to the Pacific Northwest, we’ve only just begun to have a snowpack, let alone to race in it. This is the first race that I’ve done since the Wasatch Powderkeg in 2012, and with such break, I figured there’d be some hiccups. Boy was that right.

The Subaru Vertfest left me feeling proud, if a little battered. The tricky skinning caused silly equipment failures, but I feel reasonably good about my fitness, and even better about fighting through the equipment issues to finish the race.


Vertfest is the largest SkiMo race in the PNW, with somewhere around 130 racers competing in a variety of categories. The course involves two climbs and two descents through the Alpental Ski area. The recreational division completes only the first climb, while the Race category does both. (Distances and vert below per my GPS measurement). Winning race-category time this year was 1:19:57.

Rec — 3.2 mi, 2640′    Race — 6.0 mi, 4500′

Subaru vertfest Alpental course map

Subaru Vertfest Alpental Course Map

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