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Grassroots AK Skimo Racing

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. 

I wonder if Alaska is ready for this.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??

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Reader Comments (5)

Ah, Alaska..... Where in the summer its expected that you run topless and in short shorts (I swear a photo calander of Mt Marathon would sell like hotcakes in the gay community), but you are a "fag" if you where spandex in the winter. I'll never understand the logic of that place.

It's hard to argue with success. I say wear Lycra and full race gear and show them how it's done.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJCoates

OMG! LMFAO! I was not expecting that comment. Awesome. Yeah, no shit about AK. Pretty damn set in her ways. Redneck to the core. But you're right about the mountain running scene. Doesn't matter how cold it is, shirts come off at the start and everyone runs in old school short shorts. Maybe I should do a "Men of Mt. Marathon" calender and make some cash. Hilarious.

I'll probably rock the suit because that's just how we roll. But I'm not in very good racing shape so it would be a little embarrassing to get my ass kicked while looking fast. Shit, I bought a nice Crazy Idea suit at the end of last season and haven't worn it once. Might as well break it out.

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrian

Flame on and race in tights! You just may have to hightail it back to Jackson if the lynch mob goes after you.

I've been following the blog a while and asked about some Manaslus not long ago. I decided to man up, go light and get Broad Peaks with Race 165s. Fing LOVE. I'm planning on doing a race or two before the season is over and really put some energy into next season. Your blog has been a great source of info and stoke for skimo. Keep it up

February 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJesse in CO

Nice work, Jesse. I've been liking the early rise rocker of the Manaslu and now the Lo5 from Sportiva but when I pick my little Broad Peaks up I can't help but fall in love again. When spring comes I'll spend more time on them.

The new Dynafit Cho Oyu maybe the best ski to get next year. It's a bit wider with a nice shovel but tips the scales at just a tick above 1000 grams. What's not to love about that?

February 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian

BTW, there was no hate at the line at the race yesterday. Just lots of stoke and curiosity about my ridiculously light equipment. Even I forgot how crazy light my Sportiva RSR skis are with the Plum Race 145s. The other competitors loved it. Maybe I'll get some traction here.

February 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterBrian

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