A few years ago I was very involved with ski mountaineering racing, both as a participant and later as a race organizer. It is an incredibly fun sport and aside from the events themselves, there is a a huge amount of carry-over as far as general ski touring goes. After only a single race or two, you can pick up enough tricks to add thousands of feet to your daily touring regime. In an effort to help people get into the sport, learn some of the tricks and organize races, I’ve compiled some of my previous web-based tutorials under the “Gear & Food” tab.
Ski Mountaineering racing is huge in Europe where it is almost a blood sport with national rivalries, fan clubs, drug testing and some inconceivably fast skiers. I didn’t believe it until I saw it myself, but some of the top racer can routinely climb at over 5,000′ per hour. The U.S. racers have the horsepower, but we are lacking the country-wide infrastructure where people can race every weekend if they want and attend races which all have the same basic lengths and vertical (homologation).
The video below shows World Champion Stephen Brosse ripping his skins in 16 seconds at the Black Diamond PowderKeg when it was a World Cup event. Note that he barely stops!
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