I departed “San Francisco of the East” (Asheville, NC), and headed for Canaan Valley, West Virginia. Usually, I try and break up the long drive, and opted to go for a lovely run (with ski poles) to stretch the legs. This was my last training session before the 2021 Sunsrise Scramble Uphill Race, so I needed to be delicate with the amount AND intensity of the running. Safe to say, it felt good and I finished the run feeling more energized than when I started . . . always a good sign.
Speaking of sign . . .
I pulled into my boondock parking for the night, and got some rest.
Woke-up, and the temperature on my truck read 11F. Despite the cold, I was feeling amped and ready to go. The snow was firm and I knew that the conditions would be FAST. There were over 80 registered racers, where we had a Covid-style start, with no more than 10 people per wave. I was placed in the last wave with many of the ‘seeded’ athletes.
The race went off, with a downhill section to start. I opted to keep my skins on, because its such a short downhill, where transitioning would take just too much time. Then begins the long slog to the top, I was feeling good until the steeps. Many of the guys with lighter ski touring gear passed me, here, and their youth also conquered my older engine.
My transition at the top was rather comical! My legs felt like Bambi at the top, so I ended up just sitting down to take my skins off. Despite this blunder, I did make up some time on the other racers. Also, because I’m a bit heavier (190lbs), I was able to make up time on the downhill. This set me up well for the last part of the course, which is undulating.
There were 3 divisions (skins, skate, and scales) . . . I managed to win the skins division. The categories are mutually exclusive though . . . the top 3 guys were skaters, the next 3 guys (4th thru 6th) were on fish-scale type skis, and I finished 7th overall.
You can see the whole race here:
Looking back on it, I made a couple of tactical errors. First, I used 165cm skate ski poles (too long). Last year I opted for 150cm classic ski poles (too short). I think the happy medium would be an adjustable xc pole. Second, I ‘heard’ that waxing skins would add a little more glide to your stride, per step. My wax job just made my skins fell heavy and grabby. Waxing is both an art and a science, and I botched both elements. Oh well, I’ll definitely be back next year . . . I’m already excited!
The rest of Sunday
Was going to try and meet-up with Mike for a rip at Timberline, but I just couldn’t get there in time . . . I’ll catch ya next year Mike!!!
I was able to take some runs with my friend Naomi, who traveled from Pittsburgh for the race, and we enjoyed some fun skiing and chatting . . . See ya next year Naomi!!!
Later in the day, I went to Whitegrass which turned into a rather comical Runski’!!! The temps had certainly risen, and since Whitegrass relies on natural snow only, it was a bit thin and tricky.
I went back to Whitegrass in the morning for a sunrise ski. With a little bit of local knowledge, I was able to find a great route from the top of Bald Knob to the bottom lodge, without a bare patch in sight. Here is your moment of zen from Monday morning . . .
Afterwards, I drove back to Asheville to make it back in-time for work, in the afternoon. What a great trip, and a great winter for the Canaan Valley . . . Whitegrass and Canaan Valley Resort close this weekend . . . Timberline will remain open.
Looking ahead – “It isn’t over, until it’s over”
There are still three great weekends ahead, throughout the region. Here are some of the deets on where you can find me:
Sunday, March 14th: Ober Gatlinburg Spring Fling (9am-6pm) I’m signed up for the SkiMo race from 9-11am. How many times can you lap (advanced) Grizzly in two hours! In addition, there is a downhill race (on Grizzly) from 11am-1pm, a Pond Skim from 2-3pm, Big Air event from 3-4pm, and a High Ollie Contest from 4-5pm . . . Wow!
Sunday, March 21st: Snowshoe! Tickets are only $61 right now . . . That’s almost half the usual price. As a bonus there is snow in the forecast prior to the weekend.
Sunday, March 28th: Appalachian Ski Mountain: Meltdown Games Usually App is one of the last resorts to close for the season, and this year they are going to go out with a bang. The event is Saturday AND Sunday . . . with Sunday’s events being; a High Ollie Contest at 11am, Pond Skim and Costume Contest at 1pm, and a Chinese Downhill at 4pm.
Stay Stoked, and I’ll see ya there!