Andy and Jason Dorais, two of SCARPA’s ski athletes, started an informal (and free) Skimo race series at Brighton Ski Resort last winter and the event took off. SCAPRA and Ski Trab are sponsoring the 10 races in the series this year. The course will be marked this year with SCARPA pin flags and a demo fleet of Trab skis will be unveiled at the next race. We are proud to be supporting the Dorais brothers and this incredible community race event.
Ski mountaineering is the practice of applying skis to move efficiently through the mountains, often in technical terrain. More skiing equals more fun, and by training fitness and using proper gear we are able to do just that. Cue Ski Mountaineering racing, which is fun, prepares us for bigger objectives, satisfies our competitive nature, and has led to many lasting friendships.
Ski mountaineering races are an odd spectacle. Many of the participants are clad in lycra and adorned in various amounts of carbon fiber. The skis are short and skinny and milling about the starting line, everyone appears twitchy. That is because once the race begins a painful blend of aerobic fitness and technical skills will take the racers typically over 5,000 vertical feet in the span of around 2 hours.
Historically, in Salt Lake City, the PowderKeg has been the only such race. Last season, with a small group of training partners, we set out to change that.
On Thanksgiving morning, after a flurry of text messages, we gathered near 20 strong at Brighton Ski Resort. We informally chased each other through the resort and the adjacent side country until all of us had crossed the crooked start/finish line that I had scraped into the snow. Afterward, we shared pumpkin pie and went off to our respective feasts.
In mid December we met again. Word had spread through mass texts and by mouth as friends invited friends. Our party grew and for fun, we changed the format to “vert style” or as many laps as one could muster in 120 minutes. It was instantly popular as there was always the sense of racing while trying to pass or avoid letting others by on the short repeating course. The victors were awarded pumpkin pies and the cheers of their peers.
On Christmas Eve we raced again and ate more pie. Then, throughout January and February, we raced six more times with over 50 people coming out regularly. Brighton offered support by allowing us to always ski under the lights and we offered ours by frequenting the bar, Molly Green’s, after the evening races for food, drink, prizes and pie for the winners.
So, what started as a casual get together of friends on Thanksgiving morning has turned into a wonderful tradition of more friends, skiing, suffering, pies and prizes. In total, we had 9 races last year, all of which were held in the Brighton Ski area and the surrounding backcountry. I estimate that over 80 people came out and participated in at least one race and many many folks raced multiple times. The format varied and we tried out a few different styles of races ranging from vert style, team relay, hill climb, standard Skimo course, and a four lap short course. We had current and former US Skimo National Champions (both men’s and women’s), local hardmen, weekend warriors, newcomers to the sport, people on carbon boots, tele boots, race skis, fat powder skis and everything in between.
Our goals at the beginning were many fold:
1. Get faster
2. Get others involved in this great sport
3. Preach the “light is right” philosophy and help point others in the right direction gear wise as others have done for us
4. Have fun
I think all four were accomplished and we are psyched about the upcoming season. With 10 races on the schedule, the “Pie Series” is alive and well. Hope to see you all out there for some good ole fashioned type B fun followed by pie and debauchery at Molly Green’s!
View the full Schedule at: http://citizenseries.wasatchpowderkeg.com/?page_id=41