Summit ski mountaineering athletes rise to the top of the competition at the Vail Winter Mountain Games

Competitors climb a steep hill during the sprint race at the 2022 Vail Winter Mountain Games Feb. 25-27.
Hugh Carey/For the US Ski Mountaineering Association

From February 25-27, several summit-based ski mountaineering athletes competed in three events as part of the 2022 Vail Winter Mountain Games.

The competition served as the United States National Skimo Championships for the Senior, U23, and 45+ age categories.

The evening of Friday February 25 was the individual race, often referred to as the crown jewel of racing in the skimo world. The individual race took participants from Mountain Plaza to Vail Mountain, to the resort’s Back Bowls and back for a 10-mile course.

Breckenridge’s Delilah Staberg navigated the tough course for a fourth-place finish in the U16 Women’s Division. Staberg finished in 1 hour, 47 minutes and 5.2 seconds.

In the men’s U20 division, Summit’s Jeremiah Vaille and Sam Burke battled to finish within 30 seconds of each other, both landing on the podium. Vaille was second in 1:55:20 while Burke was third in 1:55:47. Paul Hans, also of Summit, was fifth in 2:24.14.

In senior women, Nikki LaRochelle of Breckenridge placed second with a time of 2:01:30 while Kate Zander, also of Breckenridge, placed fifth in 2:10:26.

Frisco resident Arthur Whitehead placed fifth in the senior men’s division with a time of 1:44.38. Breckenridge’s Tim Faia competed in the men’s masters division and placed fourth in 2:00:22.

Summit’s Jeremiah Vaille, second from left, Sam Burke and Paul Hans start the sprint race Saturday February 26 at the Vail 2022 Winter Mountain Games.
Hugh Carey/For the United States Ski Mountaineering Association

On Saturday, February 26, a few Summit athletes doubled up to participate in the skimo sprint race.

Staberg matched his result from the day before finishing fourth in the sprint in 6:18, while Vaille and Burke improved their results.

In the short race, Vaille and Burke managed to work together to edge out the rest of the competition. Vaille topped the men’s under-20 age group with a time of 4:30.8 and was closely followed by Burke, who placed second with a time of 4:35.4. Hans again placed fifth in the vertical race with a time of 5:27.9.

In the senior divisions, all Summit skimo athletes made the podium with LaRochelle finishing second in 5:08.7 and Zander third.

Whitehead placed third in the senior men’s division with a time of 4:07.7 after picking up a 20-second penalty.

Delilah Staberg of Breckenridge competes in the 2022 Vail Winter Mountain Games. Staberg placed fourth in her age class in all skimo races at the three-day event.
Hugh Carey/For the United States Ski Mountaineering Association

On the final day of competition, Sunday February 27, the athletes competed in the vertical run.

Staberg went three for three on fourth places in the U16 age division over the weekend, as the 15-year-old was again fourth in the vertical race in 33:58.

Delilah Staberg’s sister Grace Staberg also joined the fun on Sunday to ski to an undisputed U20 racing title in a time of 33:50.

In the U20 men’s vertical race, Vaille and Burke again dominated the competition, with Vaille winning his second race of the weekend and Burke placing second. Vaille completed the course in a blistering 31:53, and Burke finished in 35:00.

Whitehead and Chris Vargo were the only Summit athletes to race in the senior division on the final day. Vargo was seventh in 31:08 and Whitehead 10th in 32:38.

Faia was the only Summit athlete to win a U.S. national skimo championship, winning the Masters division vertical race title in a time of 35:50.

Josie Fisher, left to right, Rea Kolbl and Nikki LaRochelle of Breckenridge compete in the women’s sprint race at the 2022 Vail Winter Mountain Games.
Hugh Carey/For the United States Ski Mountaineering Association