Saturday, February 4, 2012

North American Ski Mountaineering Championships - Individual

ISMF Ski Mountaineering Race 1/29/2012
Crested Butte, Colorado

The Individual ski mountaineering race was the highly anticipated showdown of the top ski mountaineering racers in North America. Our friends the Canadians came down to Colorado looking to ski well and for podium positions.
In brief, the initial skinning climbed about 1,700 feet which was followed by an approximately 700 foot Class 5 Ridge to the summit of Peak 12,128. The arĂȘte had fixed ropes the entire length and was called the Guide’s Ridge or The Peel Ridge. Next, was an awesome run down the back of the Peak; then we skied and skinned two laps on the upper mountain. The race ended with a fast ski to the bottom.
The North American Championships Final Results were:

MEN                                                           WOMEN

Manfred Reichegger   (Italy)                  
Lorenzo Holznecht     (Italy)                  
  1. Reiner Thoni   CAN                    1.  Janelle Smiley   USA
  2. Luke Nelson    USA                    2.  Sari Anderson   USA
  3. Jason Dorias    USA                    3.  Stevie Kremer   USA

Congratulations to the 2012 North American Ski Mountaineering Champions Janelle Smiley and Reiner Thoni. And great performances to all the podium winners.

A quick re-cap of my race from my view: I usually take to the front row, but it looked crowded up there and I was happy in the second row. I was ready in the morning, but could have been more dialed in. The race alarm sounded 1 minute and we stood anxiously waiting to get our race on. The initial pull up the mountain was the expected quick wave. I had a pretty good start and kept ahead of some of the eventual top ten. I got to the ridge seconds before a big wave of racers came stomping in. My transition to the via-ferrata was pathetic; I got my skis on my pack quickly but could not get my poles behind my backpack. My poles were getting jammed in my hoody each time I tried to stuff them. Luckily, Sari Anderson saw my troubles and came to my aid. With all the commotion around, I remember her saying ‘what are you doing Kroger? She graciously came over and in one move cleared my hood and stuffed my poles behind my pack. I was slow at this transition and was passed by many racers who made the top ten. The ridge was great. I like mountaineering, so this was awesome. I felt no exposure and felt very comfortable on the arĂȘte. At the top we ran off the backside of the peak until we could get back into our skis. We next skied and skinned two laps on the upper mountain before the final downhill and skate to the finish.
It was good to see all the smiles at the Finish. After the two days of racing I finished 14th after the combined times at the 2012 North American Championships.
It was great to see all the good friends from around North America in Crested Butte.
I am still looking for a little more speed and efficiency out there on course and hope to put a dandy together in a race soon.

I had to work the next day back in Jackson, so I unfortunately had to get on the road immediately after the race. I said some quick good-byes and rallied home by 11:10 P.M..

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