National Team training camp at Asulkan Hut, Rogers Pass – Nov 22-25, 2013

Words by Peter Knight – 2013 Canadian SkiMo Champ (his blog is here)

With a high pressure system locked in, we were certainly not expecting the daily refills we enjoyed last year in the Tree Triangle. A warm summer leaving the glaciers full of poorly bridged crevasses and a recent avalanche cycle led to a slight change in ambitions. But any reservations regarding ski quality vanished with the first descent down from the hut where we enjoyed some fast skiing in settled powder from snowfall earlier in the week. We then climbed up an efficiently-angled skintrack that Brad and Igor had put in the day before and skied multiple laps there until the slopes above started to warm up. Then we headed to the other side of the valley and proceeded to put more tracks down a moraine feature.


After hauling our carcasses slowly back up to the hut, it was time to begin the recovery process so that we could go just as hard the next day. Fortunately there was lots of food to eat and we enjoyed excellent sleep, going to bed early in the cozy Asulkan Cabin generously provided by the Alpine Club of Canada. We would need to bring our A-games as Melanie had just rolled up sporting her race gear.

rogers-pass-camp-3Sunday began as expected: with the boys chasing Melanie. I think everyone was able to exhibit some of their strengths. Melanie, Brad, Steve, and I were all skiing fast for the first half of the day. Marg skied up at the front during a midday lap, while Michelle, revived after a brief stop at the hut, was able to put in some additional laps above the hut to add to her impressive vertical total.

According to my legs, the end of the camp came at the perfect time after a tiring ski down the Asulkan drainage under the weight of a big backpack. I was content to simply drive away from the best skiing that I have had so far this year, while Melanie, Brad, and Michelle pushed on for another day.

Fracture line on the slope leading up to Youngs Peak.

Announcing the Canadian National Ski Mountaineering Team 2014!


The Canadian National Ski Mountaineering Competition Team was selected for 2014 based on interest, potential, and ranking over 2013 races at home and abroad, they are:

Men’s A                                                               Women’s A

Stano Faban                                                       Martha Burley

Peter Knight                                                       Melanie Bernier

Brad Schalles                                                     Michelle Roberts

Steve Sellers                                                      Women’s B

Reiner Thoni                                                      Marg Fedyna

Andrew McNab                                                 Sheri Foster

Last winter Stano, Peter, Brad, and Steve fought it out on the male side for the Canada Cup, and Martha dominated the females while Melanie was on the European circuit with Reiner and Andrew.  All the athletes’ investment and effort paid off, with personal-best results moving into the realm of international recognition. Track them this season via www.skimocanada.org, Twitter, or the good gossip on www.skintrack.com

Stano Faban (left) and Peter Knight during their one-day Wapta Icefield Traverse in April 2013.
Stano Faban (left) and Peter Knight during their one-day Wapta Icefield Traverse in April 2013.

Overall Canada Cup Championship for 2013 went to Stano Faban, who brought peak conditioning to exactly the right events to deliver a narrow win over resident  American Eric Carter. A man who has grown up walking his talk, Faban also leads as a consistent mentor to Junior competitors, a race organizer and official, and as the wrangler of the leading English language website for our sport – Skintrack.com.

Young and promising Peter Knight became the Canadian National Ski Mountaineering Champion in March where he was able to use newly picked up skills from just a month before during the 2013 World Championships.

For 2014, National Team selection policy has been reviewed and fine-tuned, and those with ambition can find details here: http://www.skimocanada.org/national-team-members Cheer them on! Join them!

Thanks and eternal gratitude to Niall Gleeson and Ian Gale, retiring from team efforts, but never from mountain skiing and their commitment to adventure. Ian is handing over leadership of the Dogtooth Dash to focus on new family. Niall will push the Vert 180 SkiMo race for one more year, and continues in a committee position, managing national rankings.

Thanks as well to Rab, and The Alpine Club of Canada for their help and donations to the cause.

9 – 15 February 2013 – ISMF World Ski Mountaineering Championships

Carla McKirdy, Melanie Bernier, and Martha Burley at the 2013 Worlds.
Carla McKirdy, Melanie Bernier, and Martha Burley at the 2013 Worlds.

Canada took a team of 8 to Pelvoux, France and turned in its best results ever. We finished 12th in the nations rankings (of 22 or 23 countries, many with many more athletes entered). Particularly strong performances were witnessed in Sprint, Relay, and Individual races.

Reiner Thoni, Andrew McNab, Brad Schalles, and Peter Knight during the same event. Missing on the photo is Steve Sellers.
Reiner Thoni, Andrew McNab, Brad Schalles, and Peter Knight during the same event. Missing on the photo is Steve Sellers.

Detailed results and rankings at http://ismf-ski.org/www/?q=node/185 Next World Championships will be in another two years, but there will of course be a complete World Cup calendar to contend in the 2014 winter. Expect more! Our team will outdo itself.

Sponsors and Links:

2013_ACC_Logo_Web_ColourThe Alpine Club of Canada (the SkiMo National Sport Federation for Canada) http://www.alpineclubofcanada.ca/skimo and www.skimocanada.org

mec-small-logowww.mec.ca  Our most generous and consistent event sponsor has always been Mountain Equipment Co-op. Good regional source for skimo gear.

rab-small-logo Rab kits our National Skimo Team with both warm and breathable jackets. http://us.rab.uk.com

We will be at the Calgary MEC Snowfest

mec-snowfestCome celebrate the snow with us!

MEC Snowfest is taking place on Saturday, November 16th at the MEC Calgary Store, and the Vert180 and Ski Mountaineering Competition Canada is going to be there!

Activities include: a gearswap, kids’ activities, snow clinics, ski/board consignment sale, ski waxing, avalanche safety workshops and much more!

Full details can be found at: events.mec.ca

See you there!

MEC Vert180 Race and Clinic – 2013

vert-180-poster-thumbThe 4th Annual MEC Vert180 is back this year!  Dust off your touring gear, grab some friends and head to Canada Olympic Park on December 7th from 6-9pm.

The concept is simple the most ascents and descents in 180 minutes in each respective category wins.

Registration includes a post race meal, a lot of fun and a good challenge!  Registration is $45/person. Please visit http://vert180.blogspot.ca/ for more information and to register.

Date: Saturday December 7 ,2013

Location/Venue: Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, AB

Event page or website: http://vert180.blogspot.ca/

Registration page: http://vert180.blogspot.ca/p/registration.html

Race type: Solo, 2 or 4 person relay teams

Categories: Prizes for solo male, solo female, 2 male relay team, 2 female relay team, 2 person co-ed relay team, 4 male relay team, 4 female relay team, 4 person co-ed relay team, Top Junior Male and Female solo and/or team

Race course:

  • Vertical: vertical decent of approx. 394 feet
  • Length: 180 minutes (3hrs)
  • Number of ascents and descents: As many as you can complete in 3hrs
  • Special equipment required: Do to the nature of Canada Olympic Park and the format of the race, racers do not need to carry, beacon, probe, shovel for this race.  They must have alpine touring gear, no snow shoes or cross country equipment.  They must also have a backpack that they can strap skis on.


Want to learn how to backcountry ski race?

Members of Canada’s Ski Mountaineering National Team will instruct a fun and informative clinic December 7, 2013 at COP from 12-4pm. Sessions will be held both inside and on the snow. The clinic is for people new to ski mountaineer racing as well as those who want to fine tune and polish their race techniques.

Topics covered will include proper gear use, specific ascent and descent techniques as well as speed transitions.  With the use of proper technique and the fine tuning of these skills maximum efficiency and increased speed can be achieved whether backcountry skiing recreationally or ski mountaineer racing competitively. Registration is $45 as an add on to your race registration or $50 for just the clinic. Please visit http://vert180.blogspot.ca/ for more information and to register.

2011 National Championships: The Dogtooth Dash at KHMR in Golden, BC

The Dogtooth Dash race has been the diamond on the Canadian skimo racing circuit for some time now, and it hosted the National Championships for a third consecutive year. That says it all about the passion of the organizing crew and the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort itself.

The racing

There were three race courses to choose and the main one went over numerous climbs, ridges and descents to total about 5300 feet of climbing.

Canadian National Skimo Champions for the 2011 are Reiner Thoni and Melanie Bernie. They were followed by Andrew McNab and Ian Gale, and by Julie Matteau and Billie Velisek.

The results and rest of the report will be added soon.

Race day in video

Filming and editing done by Stano Faban (feel free to embed in your blogs):