Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cosmic Race

Nick Malik has paved some new ground as being the first CRMS Telemark Team athlete to marry the worlds of backcountry racing with downhill Telemark Events. In addition to competing in the Big Mountain arena, he will also compete in at least two backcountry events, including the Sunlight Cosmic Race and the 24 Hours of Sunlight. The following is an excerpt from his experience in the Cosmic Race last Sunday:

"COSMIC is a ski mountaineering race series that kicked off the tour at Sunlight on the 18th of January.

The race started at the base of Sunlight at the lodge. We skinned up Sun King under the lift to the top of the mountain and skied down the 52 degree "Heathen", which is the steepest ski run in Colorado.

The next lap would lap would follow this same ascent route. As I began my second ascent, my skins were iced up and they were only attached at the tips and tails. About 2/3 of the way up my tail clips fell off and i could not re-attach them. I boot packed the rest of the way to the summit.

The second descent was down Defiance to Lower Defiance. Lower Defiance goes below the base and is not serviced by a lift. From the bottom of the second descent there were 30 switch backs up to the bottom of Defiance where the course went out of bounds traversing 2 miles around the mountain to the summit.

In this backcountry traverse there was a steep bootpack section followed by more skinning to the top for the third and final descent on The Heathen. At the bottom of Lower Defiance my skins still failed to stick to my skis and I had to boot pack up the 30 switchbacks.

I did not continue the race after that point. I was one of four CRMS students competing in the race division and the only one to finish was Rob Devney in the mens race division at just over 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Off-Piste coach Sarah Selling also finished the race course in the womens heavy metal division. Most CRMS students competed in the junior recreational division which is an ascension from the bottom to the top and then another half lap, about half the length of the race course.

I competed in the Mens Heavy Metal division. The Heavy Metal division is new this year, it replaced the telemark division and includes telemark, splitboards, and heavy AT set ups. The race division is for the ultralight dynafit racing set ups."

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