This winter the Catamount Trail Association has partnered up with Bolton Valley Resort and Stowe Mountain Resort to bring you two different uphill ski series. The Bolton Series will take place on Wednesday Nights for seven consecutive weeks. Each event will be a casual race in that everyone will be timed, but the real goal is just to get outside and get the heart rate up. The series at Stowe consists of four events… 3 Saturday Night Lights Events… and the Topsy Turvy Derby. The Saturday Night Lights events are totally free and will not be timed. The final event the Topsy Turvy Derby will be timed.
Anyway… at this point many of you might be wondering why anyone would want to come out from under their blanket, get up off your couch and out from in front of the TV and spend your evening skiing uphill on groomed slopes. Admittedly these are not backcountry events. They will be held on groomed slopes at a resort under lights or by headlamp. So what gives?
1. Fitness: It’s good to get your heart rate up occasionally and push yourself. Whether you’re training for a marathon in the spring, getting ready to tackle the Grand Traverse, or just want to have more energy so you can get in one more lap on your next backcountry excursion… coming out and motoring uphill is going to help you improve your ability to go and keep going. That’s never a bad thing.
2. Community: You want to know who’s going to attend these things… Other people that like to ski uphill. What do those people also probably like… backcountry skiing. That’s right, at these events you are going to find other people with similar interests as you. These are great opportunities to expand your network and find new skiing and riding buddies. There are many a secret stash out there waiting to be shared… with a friend. So go make friends!
3. Efficiency: The Bolton events will all have a short downhill portion in the middle of the course. This will force you to do one transition from skin–>ski and another from ski–>skin. When out in the backcountry nobody likes a junk show, and these races are the perfect place to refine your systems and watch and learn from other participants whose technique is better than yours.
4. Bragging Rights: Invite your pals… Then CRUSH THEM! Whether it’s a race or not doesn’t really matter. Only one person can win, and if you think that might be you… Awesome! If not don’t worry about it. You can race against your friends, against the clock, or against the guy or gal in the bright green pants that slowly catching up to you.
*BONUS* – Are you a runner that has ever suffered from runners knee or IT band syndrome? Well, these two ailments are typically related to weak and inactive glutes. Skinning uphill is the perfect way to strengthen and activate this area. So, if you’re a runner you are definitely going to want to get out and try this skiing uphill thing.
The Saturday Night Lights events kick off on Saturday, January 23rd, with additional events on February 6th and 27th. The Topsy Turvy Derby will take place on Saturday, March 26th. The Saturday Night Lights events are free. The Topsy Turvy Derby will have an entry fee that is currently TBD.
The Bolton Uphill Series will start on Wednesday, January 27th and will run for the following six Wednesdays. Each event will cost $10 and includes a single ride ticket. You can purchase a season pass good for all seven events for $35 if you signup before January 22nd.