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Ski mountaineering nationals this weekend

Tight, light and wicked fast

by Than Acuff

For the third year in a row, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is hosting the GORE-TEX U.S. Ski Mountaineering Championships Friday through Sunday, February 12-14. The event draws the top men and women ski mountaineer (skimo) racers in the nation to pin it to win it for three days.

The weekend of heart-pumping, lung-busting racing kicks off with the vertical race on Friday night, March 13 at 4:30 p.m. The course has been tweaked to bring a better experience and an extra level of pain for racers as they must climb 2,400 vertical feet starting from the base area as fast as they can.

Following the crowning ceremony of the National Vertical Race champions, athletes have the night to rest and recover before lining up Saturday morning for the 8 a.m. start to the individual race.

With snow coverage the way it is this year, great, the race course will have all of the usual highlights including a tour through Spellbound/Phoenix, Teocalli Bowl as well as the Rambo’s boot pack, made famous last year, and finishing with the ultimate Guide’s Ridge tour to the summit of Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The final descent will be off of the summit and all the way down to the base area. The race division course will have a total of 5,000 feet of climbing over 10 miles. The rec class will not get on the Guide’s Ridge but still have a healthy 3,500 feet of climbing over 6.2 miles.

Once that is done, individual champions will be crowned and athletes will return to rest and recover mode as they will line up once more on Sunday at 8 a.m. for the team race. That course will be different from the individual course but still put the wood to racers.

For more information and registration for one or all three days of racing go to www.ussma.org/events or check out events on skicb.com.

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