The ski mountaineering season is in full swing in the US. Several races have been held around the country, mostly at ski areas in the Rocky Mountains. Races at Grand Targhee,WY and Sunlight, CO served as qualifiers for the US National Team. Eight men and five women will represent the US at the World Championship in Andorra during the first week of March.
For those of you unfamiliar with ski mountaineering races, they combine skinning and bootpacking uphill with off and on-piste skiing. The races cover 5000 to 8000 vertical feet of climbing and descending, taking the winners 2 to 3 hours. Racers use all types of backcountry equipment but the fastest use ultralight skis, boots and bindings.
Toko generously supports the races and two of the US Team members. Proper ski tuning is essential for fast descents and wax is obviously important. We have found that using warmer (softer) wax allows the skin glue to stick better. Some people feel that wax hinders the glue but if your skis are too dry, the glue is more likely to remain on the bases. This slows the skis tremendously as well as allowing snow to stick to the bases.
Stay tuned for reports from the World Championship as well as the US National Championship to be held at Jackson Hole on March 20.