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Golden Ultra Vertical K, 4th, 49:05

A few weeks ago while planning a trip to Golden, BC, for my mother in law’s 70th birthday, I googled something along the lines of “Golden trail running” and discovered that the Golden Ultra at Kicking Horse ski resort was to be held the weekend that we were there.

The three-day event is made up of a vertical k, a 60k ultra, and a 20k race over the course of 3 days. While I didn’t have the time to step away and race a 60k (nor the fitness, at the moment), I impulsively registered for the vertical K.

This masochistic race format is common in Europe, but a relative rarity in North America. The ideal vertical K covers 1000 meters of climbing (3280′) in the shortest distance possible. At the Golden Ultra, this means a start at the base of the Gondola with a direct climb to the summit straight up roads, ski runs, and singletrack.

Nervously awaiting the start. The course began up the dirt road in the background and ultimately ended at the peak in the center of the distant skyline.

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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.

Stats

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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