A quick recap from the Wild Corn SkiMo Invitational held April 1, 2017.
Heading into this winter I had every intention of competing more in SkiMo in both the NE Rando and SkiMo East series - I trained up for the Idaho World Qualifiers this fall but things didn't go as planned, both in training and in the race. It was a worthwhile experience nonetheless. My next race wouldn't be until Burke in early February and my last race at Jay in March. All three of those races were miserably cold which may have had a slight effect on my interest but really it was more of scheduling conflicts that kept me off my skinny skis.
Tyler Ray came up with the idea to hold an exhibition race at the Wild Corn event held by Granite Backcountry Alliance and I didn't think too much about it until a few weeks out. I took ownership since it was evident that we had an opportunity to showcase the sport and I had full control over the event. We opted for an invite-only race for a few reasons:
- It would allow me to cap the race numbers which would make for an easier race director experience. Less People = Less Work.
- We only had a small time window to work with. The event started at 6pm but had to be over at 6:45. This meant that racers needed to be capable of finishing in a certain time period. The race was started a bit late and also took longer for the racers to complete. I didn't want to hold a "how many laps" style race - I prefer a traditional finish.
- I wanted the racers to feel like they earned a spot at this race. My only criteria was that racers had raced in other regional events this winter and had race gear. Now a few slipped in as others bailed but in general I wanted the best racers in New England and give them some swag and an audience to make the race a special experience.
- I also wanted the MC to be able to give bios and info on each racer as they lapped the course.
Before the race a crew of us went up and lapped the Sherbie then went up to the base of Gulf of Slides. I had to bail early but the weather was full on winter with 5" of snow falling the night before. I was envisioning a sunny spring day at the bowl beforehand but the conditions limited us to below tree line skiing. Unfortunately, it also kept a few racers from making the drive to the valley.
At 4:15PM I went up to set the course which was very basic - skin up the comp slope with a couple direction changes - transition at the start house, then ski a course down the north slope, all in view for the spectators. I put in a gate across the hill midway down the descent and it was slightly uphill which required racers to skate across the slope. The race course made for a much more interesting descent rather than just bombing down a skied-up groomer. Another big change from any race that I had done was that the Cranmore Team (Ray Gilmore & Doug MacDonald) used a TON of dye to mark the course. This was very helpful for the racers and spectators. It also looked good from the bird's eye view.
The race itself went off without any problems. A lot of us were worked from skiing all morning but still put on a performance. It was awesome to see the crowd so engaged and vocal - we need more races like this! Next year I'll get an open division that will be a time cutoff and then we'll do another elite invite that will compete after. There's also chatter to get some more "bump and jumps" in the course which I'm all for.
A special thanks to Lincoln for flying the drone, Austin for taking the photos.