Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bridger Skin to Win Race

Excellent powder skiing and skin management were the two themes of the 2016 skin to win randonee race at bridger bowl.  Fortunately I was able to take full advantage of the former and avoid the latter and take a surprising 5th place.  Read on for details.
race start (photo: mark story)
le mans start, bulk of the course is along the ridge line in the distance (photo: mark story)
I was battling a minor cold the week leading up to the race but was feeling better by Thursday so decided to pull the trigger and register.  Boy am I glad I did.  With 6 inches overnight and 3 the previous day, the skiing off the ridge was really good!  I was surprised to be first off the line in the Le Mans start, but after a minute or two, the fast folks slowly started passing and when I arrived at the top of the first climb, found myself in 11th place. 
was not expecting to be first off the line (photo: mark story)
I hoped the steep technical skinning of climbs 2, 3 and 4 would play to my strengths and sure enough, I was able to overtake 3 folks for-real and another 3 battling skin issues (bummed for jeffrey and mike wolfe).  Note – I grew increasingly worried with each I passed that I would be next, since I had only a single pair of skins (no tail clips) but fortunately a few extra seconds of attention and care at each transition kept my glue alive and me in the race.

I was getting glimpses of janelle perhaps a minute ahead on the final climb to and along the ridge but was unable to close the gap as she departed the ridge for the final descent a few seconds before I arrived.  I figured baring a significant crash, I wouldn’t catch her so took my time on the final run, making sure to stay on course and enjoy the skiing.  At the finish, I was excited to hear of brian’s hard fought win but also bummed for mike foote getting off course and costing him the W.
sawyer, brian and foote at the finish (photo: mark story)
mellow pow skiing the following day near ross pass
Props to the bridger patrol for working hard to allow us to stick to the full course (really good course by-the-way) with the new snow.

Rose: really good skiing, both during the race and a few runs afterwards
Thorn: seeing friends have their races derailed by skin issues and course marking
Bud: skimo racing is really fun, dare I invest in race skis and a speedsuit??

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