National Ski Mountaineering Championships come to Brighton Resort

This weekend, the Wasatch Powder Keg ski mountaineering race will be held at Brighton Resort, which this year will double as the US National Championship race. For those interested in the sport, this will be an opportunity to see the best riders in the United States compete on the local field.

As well as attracting national team athletes like John Gaston and three-time national champion Janelle Smiley, it will also provide opportunities for local athletes like Gemma Arro, an elite runner who teaches Spanish at Midway, to show what they can do.

“His strength is definitely in the uphill,” said race director Chad Brackelsberg. “She is a very, very strong climber. She has been part of the Spanish and Catalan national team for several years, so she has her place in the sport at international level.

On the men’s side, watch for Salt Lake runners Tom Goth and Jason Dorais.

The racing series has three parts over three days. Friday will feature a sprint race – a short climb with switchbacks, a boot pack and a gate descent, starting at 4 p.m.

Saturday will be a middle-distance race, where athletes in the elite and “heavy metal” division will race five climbs totaling 6,500 feet of vertical gain over 10 miles, according to the race’s website. Recreational skiers will also participate in Saturday’s race, traversing three climbs totaling 6.5 miles and 3,700 feet of elevation gain. All races start at 8:00 a.m. in mass start near the Milly Chalet.

Brackelsberg said Saturday’s events will be easily visible from the start area near Milly Chalet. There will also be plenty of opportunities for people hoping to watch the action away from the crowds, as the race essentially runs through the entire resort, starting with a massive climb from Milly Chalet to Clayton Peak near the top of the Great Lift Western, then made it heads west to Preston Peak past the Snake Creek Express, and finally past the top of the Milly Express before descending towards the finish.

On Sunday, an endurance race will begin at 7:30 a.m. and cover six climbs totaling 8,600 feet of elevation gain over 14 miles.

Brackelsberg said other than the start and finish, Sunday’s race will be largely hidden in the backcountry. Spectators can view parts of the race from the top of the Crest Express lift and just downriver from the Great Western at the bottom of Clayton Peak.

“If people have backcountry hiking gear – skis, skins, beacon, shovel and probe – there are plenty of easily accessible options to view the race, including Preston Peak and Peak 10 420,” he said. -he adds.

Winners will earn a cash prize as well as valuable points in the National Series.

The event will also feature vendor booths, with sponsors showcasing their gear, a DJ and grilling outside Milly Chalet. The Utah Avalanche Center will also host backcountry education classes on a host of topics, including companion rescue, introduction to splitboarding, women’s introduction to ski mountaineering, and a field trip. backcountry with a naturalist, among others.

Brackelsberg recommended bringing warm clothes and a “thermos of tea to warm up.”