Nina heading to the top of Owl's Head

Daylight Savings is here! More Sunshine! Nina heading to the top of Owl’s Head in Quebec, Canada

What puts a smile on my face? Getting out in the mountains in the sunshine, pushing my body and being in good company! For the past 2 weekends I have had a chance to discover some new places while enjoying the sport I truly love, ski mountaineering!  My kids were by my side this weekend which made it even more fun!

The boys welcoming me to the finish of the Jay Peak Race

The boys welcoming me to the finish of the Jay Peak Race

Celebration! This weekend to have the chance to head up north to Jay Peak and Quebec with my boys this weekend was a great celebration! It was the end of a very busy term teaching and coaching. And a terrific way to kick off what we call here, Spring Break, …Meeting new people, discovering new places and helping the sport of skimo grow here in North America. It was daylight savings time….we pushed the clocks ahead one hour. Though the initial wake up was tough, the longer days with sunlight is bliss.

Owls Head in Quebec

Owls Head in Quebec. What a view!

Last weekend I had a chance to do the Mt Greylock Thunderbolt Race which is New Englands only pure backcoutry event by Jonathan Shefftz who not only organized it but also raced! Hats off to him for the hard effort and a great course. It was long in distance. 21km and 1900meters of climbing. This mountain was the mountain my dad grew up hiking and skiing down with a wooden pole on the famous Thunderbolt trail. This trail was the most technical trail I have seen yet in New England other than up at Tuckermans; it could rival any of the Pierra Menta descents, especially with the hard packed, boiler plate icy moguls.  No picture yet…..

Owls Head

Owls Head, Canada

The first race of the Dynafit Snow Leopard Challenge this weekend was at Jay Peak, a resort with quite a reputation in New England, and one that I never have visited . It had some tough hard packed mogul descents off the top. It was a total of 13km and 1400 meters of climbing and included a couple of boot packs. So about the length of an individual race in the alps in elevation. The visibility was pretty poor and the wind chill was high.

Low Viz on the Jay Peak Day

Low Viz on the Jay Peak Day

The Owls Head race in Quebec was a little longer in length and elevation gain, 14km and 1600 meters. There were some beautiful vistas looking out towards the lake. A couple boot packs up and down through the woods made for some interesting terrain.

Both races had a strong Canadian contingent of racers as well as from the USA Josh Flannagan and Jerimy Arnold of Team Hagan NE. Still the rando pool here is young but hopeful! Even a few are going over to race the PDG in May!

Josh and Jerimy climbing to the top

Josh and Jerimy climbing to the top

It is great to see the sport growing so much here and more to come in the future!

Birki striding it out on my gear after the race

Birki striding it out on my gear after the race

There were even a few younger skiers who raced and ultimately where we need to focus our energy on for the future, bringing in more younger racers to the sport to prepare North America for the future in ski mo.

Happy to be racing again!

Happy to be racing again!

My CamelBak was filled with Hammer Nutrition HEED and my CamelBak podium arc small bottle was filled with some clean water.  My favorite flavor is mandarin orange. In my race pack pouches I stored some Hammer Gels to prevent me from bonking. My favorite flavors are vanilla and tropical fruit.  I stored this in my race suit which I was proud to wear, the New Chamonix Ski Alpinsme Club suit by Crazy and Yogi Tea, my favorite tea to sip before and after a race. Once a member, always a member! The Chamonix Alpinsime Club hosted the French National Teams Championships this weekend on the same day as the challenge on Sunday. It was a great success and I so proud of all who have made it happen and grow this year!   I was proud to be racing in this suit, in honor of my teammates in Chamonix!  I opted for my wider length Pomoca Race Pro skins and of course my  Swix poles.  My SkiTrabs were mounted with  Plum bindings which were awesome and super fast in the transitions! Thank you again to I had an extra layer as it was rather chilly at the start -3 F  (that’s -20 C! )The first day of daylight savings was an early and chilly one!!! Though spring is not too far away!

Striding on the flats. I did a lot of kicking and gliding this winter!

Striding on the flats. I did a lot of kicking and gliding this winter!

My Boys at the finish!

My Boys at the finish!

I am very happy to be the overall women’s winner of the Dynafit Snow Leopard Challenge! Danielle de Guire, a strong runner and former Team Solomon Athlete pushed me on the ascents! It was great to meet so many people fired up about ski mountaineering! Thank you to Luc of Owls Head and Byran Smith of Jay Peak and Jeff Rivest of Dynafit for making this happen!

Happy to be the winner of the Snow Leopard Challenge!

Happy to be the winner of the Snow Leopard Challenge!

I am happy because it’s Spring…or almost. Daylight savings brings longer days, more sunlight, and new growth! Buds on the trees, flowers blooming and more smiles! Enjoy!

 

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