Alaska is certainly known for it's skiing with plenty of ski porn featuring epic Chugach descents. But Lycra clad lungs on sticks? Not so much. I think there's been a few uphill races at ski areas up here over the years but nothing like a formal skimo race. Well, that's about to change this weekend as Alaska Mountaineering and Hiking is set to put on the first race this weekend.
Being possibly one of the few people up here who has participated in ski mountaineering racing, I was asked by the promoter to help him set up a short course up at one of our local Anchorage ski areas, Arctic Valley. Sporting two lifts (including an original two-seater from Crested Butte) and a surface lift, AV offers about 1,500 vertical of treeless terrain. There's minimal grooming and they're only open on weekends. With decent weather and visability, we've put together a short, two climb course perfect for first timers.
The first lap will feature a longer skinner to a saddle on the edge of the area and then up to the high point at the rocky summit of Rendezvous Peak. A skis-off boot down to another saddle and the top of Chair 2 will lead to the first descent to the valley below through chopped up powder. A second skin half way up the slope to the final skins off transition and ski to the finish will round out the course. We're thinking about an hour of racing for most folks.
Anchorage has a huge Nordic community so we're hoping to drum up some interest in this growing sport. CAMP will be on hand to show off some of their light weight product line. My big dilemna is whether to show up in full Lycra regalia just to get some shit from the local fat and baggy cogniscenti. Hmmm. How bad do I want to be flamed??