2012 Wasatch Powder Keg Skimo Race

One of the longer running skimo races in the U.S. is coming up in a couple of weeks. These guys know how to put on a great event. Great course and ample volunteer support make for a fun day out. Here's what the promoters have to say:

On March 10, Brighton Ski Resort will host the 10th Annual Wasatch Powder Keg backcountry race.  The Powder Keg is a test of speed, strength, and endurance for any backcountry skier.  The race will have captivating views of Heber Valley, Mt Nebo, Mt Timpanogos, and the Cottonwood Canyons.  The race division will cover 11 miles and have 6 climbs for a little over 6,000’ of climbing.  The Recreational division will cover 6.5 miles and have 4 climbs for 3,500’ of climbing.  Within each division there will be categories for male and female.  Within the Race division there will be categories for male/female and Race/Heavy Metal.  This year we will also be having a short, spectator friendly sprint event prior to the awards ceremony.  There will be a BBQ, awards ceremony, and raffle following the race at the Milly Chalet.  For registration or more details see

See you there. - Brian


Observations On Threshold

Ben Parsons givin' er at Jackson - photo: Mark GockeIntervals. The very thought of the word makes my pulse rise. From my first exposure to them as a 14 year old swimmer to my weekly date with them now, intervals inspire varying degrees of pain and satisfaction while preparing me to perform at my best. If you want to go fast in an endurance event, there is no substitute for regular exposure to high intensity training.

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Grand Teton Speed Project - Middle Teton

Middle Teton ascent/descent profileWhen my various ski partners contact me about skiing together the upcoming weekend, it almost always involves some challenge with ample amounts of physical discomfort. My text from Nate Brown on Wednesday was typical. "Race style push on the Middle Teton for time." This meant light packs, silly light skimo race boots and skis and lots of heavy breathing. I always get a little tickle in my stomach contemplating these adventures immediately after my phone chimes with the invite. But I love this sort of thing and conditions were looking prime.

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Skimo Programming and Non-Training Stress 

photo: Mark GockeAs I have asserted many times in these pages, it takes about 15 hours a week to bring out the best performances in a recreational endurance athlete. Professionals typically train 20-30 hours but lack the other stressors in their lives like real jobs that add to the total physiologic and psychologic stress load. This "non training stress" (NTS) is something the majority of recreational athletes fail to recognize and consider when developing training programs. Any advising coach who fails in this regard is doing a huge disservice to their clients.

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2012 Skimo Championships Analysis

2012 Skimo National Champion Luke NelsonLast weekend's Ski Mountaineering National Championship race at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort turned out to be great opportunity to look at different training regimens and their possible impact on performance. Using a few performance monitoring gadgets (heart rate monitor, chronometer, altimeter), all part of the Suunto T6 computer, I was able to analyze data from two successive races one year apart on nearly identical courses.

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