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Tagged ‘vertfest‘

Skimo Racing Vertfest Alpental 2016: 1st Place

The forecast called for temperatures in the 40s. As the weekend approached, the weatherman started calling for one to two inches of rain. The freezing level was above the mountaintops. Conditions were perfect for skimo racing.

Ok. That’s a lie. As Taylor and I drove to Washington on Saturday and mountain biked in the rain, I thought strongly about bailing from the second Vertfest race at Alpental. Stupid me, I had preregistered for the race, which is for some reason the most expensive ninety minutes of skimo that I know of. I should have known better– when we raced here two years ago, it was also raining.

Still, there are only so many races in the PNW, so we decided to make a classic alpine maneuver and “go have a look”. Perhaps in terrible weather, and with much more attractive races beckoning from the rockies to those with flexible schedules, we might find ourselves the only ones there.

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Vertfest start, with yours truly center-punching it in white suit, orange helmet. (Image stolen shamelessly from Kurt Hicks Überguide).

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Skimo Racing Vertfest Mt Bachelor 2016: 2nd Place

Last weekend, Taylor and I drove to Central Oregon for the second skimo race of the short PNW season. Mt Bachelor hosts the smallest of the Vertfest races, but of the three (others: Brighton and Alpental) it has the most lighthearted vibe and fun atmosphere.

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Aaron, Me, and Tosch, getting ready to warm up under less-than-sunny skies. (Photo: Jesse Hambley)

I raced skimo here two years ago and surprised myself with a third place finish. Coming back this year, now with unflattering speed suit and real race skis, I wanted to win. The week before the race I felt well-trained and strong, but I also went backcountry skiing a bit too much. A couple of long days left my legs feeling a bit flat, and when race day rolled around, skimo psych wasn’t particularly high.

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Sprinting off the front after the start (Photo: Jeff Snyder)

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No Excuses Interview Series: Tosch Roy

The No Excuses Interview Series explores the approaches and personalities of athletes who are inspiring in both the quality and consistency of their achievements. They’re real people doing great things. What they do, you can too, if you want it.

For part three of the no excuses interview series, we’re joined by Tosch Roy, a nordic racer turned skimo mutant at the helm of a svelte technical pack company, Free Range Equipment.

Bio

Forced on to a pair of skis at the age of three, Tosch trained and raced as a nordic skier through high school, at which point, the mountains around Central Oregon proved to be too much of a distraction to a career in cross-country skiing. Tossing aside the skinny skis for something (slightly) wider, the Oregon Cascades became a training ground for his fast and light adventures.

Tosch Roy in his playground-- the Oregon Cascades.

Tosch Roy in his playground– the Oregon Cascades.

After traveling abroad for a year, he decided that “studying” (read: skiing/climbing) at Montana State University would give him the best chance of finishing a college degree. While it was a worthy attempt, Roy dropped out after two years to start his business Free Range Equipment which manufactures ski mountaineering and climbing backpacks in his hometown of Bend, OR. Read on →

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.

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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