Randonee racing continues to gather steam in North America. Witness the success of the Colorado Ski Mountaineering Cup (COSMIC). Entering its fifth season, COSMIC will include 9 races on the 2010/2011 schedule. The COSMIC season kicks off with a new race on December 11th, with the CS Irwin rando race outside of Crested Butte, Colorado.
The CS Irwin race will be burly and is sure to attract some of the fastest backcountry ski racers in North America. As usual, there’ll be a lot of green on the scene.
The race will start at 10,400 ft and climb (yes, climb) from there, leading skiers up to the top of Scarp Ridge (12,100 ft) three separate times for a total of over 5000ft+ of gain/loss. If the elevation isn’t enough to make your quads shake, racers will travel the equivalent of over 10 miles, all of it above 10,000ft.
As Race Director Pete Swenson explains, the CS Irwin race takes ski mountaineering races back to its roots.
“There is a movement in the Rocky Mountains to establish race venues modeled after a European style of racing, which means getting these competitions off traditional ski resorts and into a backcountry setting.”
Mission accomplished: The race course is 7 miles from Crested Butte and with no maintained roads in the Winter. Athletes will either take a CS Irwin cat ride or supply their own sled for transportation to the start line. Because of the remote venue,