The Areche/ Beaufort region is the heart of ski mountaineering. The children in this area start randonee skiing at age 10 so they have some distance and training behind them. It was clear from the course setters that they wanted to give a taste of what real ski mountaineerin is about. The courses were varied and changed a bit with the lack of snow in places. The arrival day it poured with rain but were blessed w/ 3 good sunny days and then the last day a bit of mixed weather.
The first 2 days of downhills skiing was pure surival skiing. Our first decent was bullet proof ice…Bode Miller would have let them run on this. It reminded me a bit if Sugarloaf/USA after a good rain and then a freeze. Lyndsay and I let them run as much as we could but then it was purely survival skiing getting down over roots and rocks and then icy couloirs with rutted out mogals. There were places on the decents we had to take off our skiis and literally run down a steep muddly slope w/ rocks and roots and trees. We called this the Rambo run. Lyndsay’s ultra trail running kicked in and she launched by some teams like a gazelle. There was one section that went up a cable line and we must have done 85 kick turns. We got those down. Another section the snow was to hard to make a track so it was fend for yourself over an avalanche debris slope- It was pure mayhem -people forging there way in all directions trying not to slide down the icy slope. Another section again was pure ice. One had to gently skin, with abs engaged…tread lightly….On this section one could look to the left of right and people would loose traction and just slide right down the slope they just climbed. The last day we did well and made up time on the decents and the flats. We knew it would be over soon – and were looking forward to the finish. It was hot but we hung in there and moved up 4 places.
We finished- our bodies a bit sore- blisters under our toes and on ankles but good none-the less. We remember why we do this. To push ourselves to a challenged. Enjoy meeting new people and also to be thankful for what our bodies can do.
Often throughout the course people would cheer, Go Lyndsay, Go Nina. Go USA. It was nice to have the encouragement from the crowds. One man said to us, “oh you are from America; This isn’t too hard for you?” We of course said no. Yes the sport is new in the US and we are happy to be helping it grow.
Throughout the 4 days, I often thought of Tour de France riders- finishing their stages and then having to recover and take care of their bodies. this would be our schedule:
- finish our race…
- grab some food and drink
- change clothes,
- re fuel,
- shower and stretch,
- get a massage (these were given to all racers each day!) and
- then get the briefing on next days course,
- eat some more,
- prepare our equipment, (Skis, boots, food- water_
- wake at 5am for 7am start.
The best was to have Michael and Birken at the finish w/ Birken’s. I could not have done this with out the support of Michael- my ski tech and coach- My boys and Anna too! and the support of Mom- Dad and Bunge. Thank you!
To Read a first hand account from Lyndsay – our feature writer-
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