2016 was a pretty great year for racing and spending time in the mountains. Here’s a few of my highlights:
First, some numbers:
930 Training Hours
4300 Km Distance
381,000 M+ Vertical Ascent
150 Days of skiing
I started off 2016 with races at Castle Mountain and then joined Nick, flying to Europe to compete in the first World Cup of the season in Italy. This was one of the lowest snow ski races I’ve ever done, complete with a 200 vertical meter run up to the snowline (and back down to the finish)!
Right after Italy, we went on to Switzerland for a second round of World Cup racing and luckily more snow. I didn’t race fantastic but I had a blast. On my way home, I stopped in Crested Butte, Colorado for US National Championships. Again, not my best racing but I’ll chalk it up to the travel and altitude!
Just two races in March, the first at Whitewater Resort in Nelson, BC and the second, a low-key vertical race at Whistler. I felt a little better and always love racing in fresh pow at Whitewater! It was also a good training month to prepare for PDG. Two memorable days were skiing Fitzsimmons NF and Iago WF with Will and a solo day skiing Whistler and Blackcomb Peaks each from the valley. Fun to tag DOA under my own power!
Will traversing into the North Face of Mt. Fitzsimmons, one of the classic faces at the back of the Spearhead Range. After skiing the face, we looked back up at the West Face of Iago, another classic, and decided we couldn't go home without skiing that as well. Maybe not the best taper day for tomorrow's Canadian Championships in Lake Louise but worth it. #skintrack #justaddski #skitouring #skimo #spearhead #skiuphill #whistler @dynafit @peakperformanceca @fischersports_alpine
Spring melt-freeze cycles meant Nick and I were watching the weather carefully for big traverse potential. We’ve had out eye on the McBride Traverse for a few years now and things came together for one of the most memorable days of skiing I’ve ever had. It took a few weeks for my feet to recover but I managed to make it to Montana to race and win the Shedhorn race and then headed back to Europe for two weeks to prep for the PDG. I spent a bunch of time training in the Alps with Lars Erik and Pascal, my teammates but ultimately the race was cancelled. It was still and excellent trip.
Today was physically the hardest thing I think I've ever done. It's also probably my proudest accomplishment in the mountains so far. Nick and I made the best of the weather and set a new FKT for the McBride traverse in BC. ~85km and 6000m of gain in 15:36. Here's Nick traversing under Crosscut Ridge on one of the more spectacular sections of the day. #skimo #McBride #whistler #FKT @dynafit @peakperformanceca @hammernutrition @whistlerblackcomb
Back on the Coast, ski season was winding down and I had a few great days up on the local training hill Sky Pilot, and a beautiful climb of the Coleman Headwall Route on Kulshan (Mt. Baker) with Nick.
By June, I was into full summer mode and getting stoked for alpine scrambling, rock climbing, and running. Nick, Jim and I had an amazing day exploring the very remote feeling back side of Lake Lovely Water (Lydia, Panderus, and Ionia). I had a fun from-the-valley solo scramble on Serratus, and I rounded out the month climbing the standard route on Tahoma (Mt. Rainier) with Andrea and a few other friends! I also did my first running races of the year placing second at the Sea to Sky Scramble and second as well at Comfortably Numb.
Nick and I had a great day exploring the volcanic terrain around Ring Mountain and I had fun soloing the three peaks above Shannon Creek (Co-Pilot, Sky-Pilot, Mt. Habrich). Nick and I also tackled another one of our multi-year goals, completing the Tantalus Traverse Lite, from Sigurd Creek to Lake Lovely Water in ~9 hrs.
Conditions looked good in the Tetons so Nick and I spent a week and a half scrambling everything we could. I tried a fast run at the regular route on the Grand and then Nick absolutely smashed the FKT on the Grand Traverse. It’s a big deal…
While Nick rests up, today was my chance to have a crack at running up and down the #Grand as fast as I could. I managed just a hair under 3:30 car-to-car via the #OwenSpaulding route. I didn't have any delusions of challenging Andy's record but it was fun to see how I stack up. I'm pretty happy given the week we've had here and the altitude. With the route dialled, it will be cool to come back another time, a bit more rested and acclimatized to give it a solid go. Thanks as well to all the climbing parties that graciously let me sneak by! #Tetons #GrandTeton #GTNP #Wyoming #jackson #udhydratesme #caprarunning #mountainrunning
I raced a few races in the fall including the Grouse Grind, Rubble Creek Classic and Whistler Valley to Peak. I also tried a fast run at the Howe Sound Crest Trail (starting in Horseshoe Bay) and rounded out September with a sunset scramble of Blackcomb Buttress.
Even with a bit of high clouds, the last few days of Fall air have been exceptionally clear. I took a quick evening lap of Blackcomb Buttress and was rewarded with a spectacular sunset. – #alpinrunning #BC #speedup #garibaldipark #Spearhead #blackcombbuttress #Whistler #udhydratesme @dynafit @whistlerblackcomb
One of the earliest reliable skiing seasons of the year, we did our first ski on Oct 3rd and kept it going. One of the best early season days was couloir skiing on Ronayne with Paul and Gary.
Early season conditions were nice and stable so we explored new terrain in the Downton Creek area and with Lars Flora in town decided to go big and check out some of the classic lines, skiing the Aussie Couloir and Stonecrop Face with Paul.
The snow hose just keeps coming on the Coast and we’ve been skiing a lot of pow! The Sea to Sky Gondola is shaping up to be the best touring zone around. I also raced the US Team Qualifying races in Idaho and placed 2nd, punching my ticket to World Championships!
Really pleased to have secured a spot for the individual event at the upcoming World Championships. It's shaping up to be a pretty awesome team! – @brundagemtn, the @ussma_skimo crew, and the organizers of the Northwest Passage Race put on a fantastic event! Looking forward to next year already. – Now back home to BC for a last little bit of training before heading to Europe! – #skimo #skiuphill #speedup #petzlgram #TeamUSA #skiwithUD 📸 by my Dad!
And that’s that. 2016 was pretty great and it looks pretty promising for 2017. Snow is good here on the Coast and I’m pretty excited to head to Europe to race! Stay tuned…