Friday, January 18, 2013

3 US Ski Team Qualifiers in Eight Days

Coming in to the Tetons Thursday night
 In order to make this year's US Ski Mountaineering Team, three qualifying races were laid out over eight days to find the best team to take over to France for the World Champs (Feb 9th-16th, 2013).
US Nationals in Jackson took the top three men 1) John Gaston, 2) Jason Dorias, 3) Luke Nelson.  It was a cold start with about -15F , but with the inversion it was 12F, 2,500' above.  After 7,900' of vertical folks were destroyed, but it was time to rest, recover and reload for day two over at Grand Targhee.  The men's field was the most stacked I had ever scene in my eight years of skimo racing!
Michael Hagen, Ram, JB, Wick previewing the Jackson course on Friday

Wick trying to warm up at the start of Jackson

Jari warming up at Jackson

Ready...Go!  JB with the "nose Buff"..three minutes later we saw a MOOSE run across the ski trail in front of us! No lie

Your top Men's & Women's results from US Nationals 2013

I had to bring the family!  Me, Gianna (2.5yrs old) and Jennifer

No pics from Grand Targhee, but the racing was hot and heavy with two men being chosen at the finish line based upon results Eliminating those who already qualified at Jackson Hole the previous day)....those top two men who qualified were 1) Tom Goth and 2) Marshall Thompson...two newer guys to the scene but clearly very skilled and fast.  Marshall is a CB guy who has been cranking it up on the mountain running scene and this is carrying over well to skimo.  Tom is from the Wasatch and an Iron Man competitor in the Summer season.

Now it was an epic 11 hour drive home rest, recover and get back into life and some how try and get psyched up for one last battle at Sunlight, where they would take three more men's spots....with a deep men's field, surely some fast guys would unfortunately miss out.

Meredith June Edwards (Jackson)-3rd, Janelle Smiely (CB) - 1st, Jari (CB) -2nd!

Luke Nelson (Idaho) - 3rd, John Gaston (Aspen) - 1st, Jason Dorias (SLC) -2nd

Cheese balls ;)
  The CB crew of myself and Marshall leaving at 3am on race wasn't perfect, but we got to Sunlight with an hour to spare.  With it being -16F at the start there wasn't too much of a need for a warm up because there was no way you could "warm up"!  I nearly dropped out in the first 15 minutes because I couldn't get my hands to warm up, but luckily with some persistence they did as we got into some sun!  The battle for the last three slots (of those who had not previously qualified) came down to Smithy, Taam, Ruckman, Simmons, Andy Dorias, and myself.  Smithy missed the start by 30 seconds (kind of standard for this kid...thanks Brian!) but he passed everyone and made it to the top of the first climb in about 3rd place.

The first descent was tricky off-piste crusty, tree lined skiing with terrible terrain traps that put a premium on DH skiing in funky conditions.  I saw some ugly crashes and divot holes from other racers and played it conservative to the transition.  Smithy was already losing skins on the course but didn't look back.  The second descent saw all the competitors battling on a long tricky mixed descent with one final climb.

On the final climb, Max Taam had pulled away on the previous descent and Smithy blew a skin or two it left Ruckman, me and Simmons battling for the last two spots....with Andy Dorias "hugging a tree" on that previous descent a little too long to remain in contention.  Ruckman with his gifted uphilling abilities pulled away from Simmons and me.  Near the top Simmons and I knew we could make some good time on Ruckman, but who wanted that potential last slot?!?!  I threw in a hard dig with 10 seconds to the top and put a tiny gap on Scott and held it on the finish, passing Jason Dorias on the way down but not catching Ruckman (3 seconds at the line! ugh!!!).

I was elated as I got the very last spot on the 2013 team....probably the fastest team we have ever sent over to Euro land!

Sunlight Results for Men

Sunlight Women's Results- Jari not such a hot day for her.

Mike Preston, Jason Dorias, Wick, Marshall Thompson, Scott Simmons, Smithy....and UpSlope!
Rest, reload, recover...its CB Town Series, Outdoor Retailer and then the Crest Butte race on 1/26/13!

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