After World Championships, we took two days of train and car travel to get to Slovakia. I’ll be honest and say that I was a bit skeptical about leaving the Alps, mecca of all things ski mountaineering, in the middle of the season to visit a tiny country in Eastern Europe. We came to visit Andrea’s family. Her parents immigrated to Canada before she was born and her extended family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends – are all still there.
Typically communication is an important part of the team event in skimo racing. Racing the Puchar Pilska Teams race in Poland over the weekend, the only common language between my partner and I was ‘go’ and ‘dobre’ (‘good’ in Slovak). Luckily these were really all that was necessary.
While I knew all along that the vertical race would be my best shot to place well in the Championships, the teams race was certainly what I was looking forward to the most. The teams event best embodies the spirit of ski mountaineering with two athletes racing together, never skiing far apart and sometimes connected by a rope. Continue reading
I qualified to race two of three possible races at the World Championships – the Vertical and the Teams. The vertical race is pretty far from actual ski mountaineering in it’s true sense however it is the race I was most likely to perform well in. Racers ascend moderate slopes (think blue groomed run) from start to finish without descents or transitions. The Verbier course is one of the biggest on the circuit with around 850 meters of elevation gain for the men. The race began below the main village and climbed onto the streets of Verbier, right through the centre of town. Once out of town, we turned up the ski runs until reaching the high gondola station and the finish line.