Vert180 Race Report


Gruelling, painful, “character building” and wildly successful are all descriptive words that suit the Vert180 skimountaineering race that went down last night at Canada Olympic Park.

A record 92 racers toed up to the line at 6 pm to burn as many laps as possible up and down the 400ft course.  The course was straight forward with a wide open skintrack to accommodate alot of racers that lead to twin bootpacks and a hair straight back descent on some of best man-made snow that money can buy.

The loaded category was the solo, with the option available to run as a team of 2 or a team of 4.  The short loop race course was really exciting because it mixed racers of all speeds on the hill at the same time, nobody really knowing who was the fastest, slowest, teamed or solo.  The best part for me was the varied age age of all the contestants from kids to masters class racers, everyone came out.  An added bonus was seeing so many faces of people that Reiner and I met at the Calgary Outdoor Festival.

The temps dipped to -7C and while that’s a far cry from last weeks frigid -30’s it was certainly cold enough and dry enough to leave a few throats ravaged and dry hacks could be heard throughout the awards ceremony. I expected to see a restrained pace set at the beginning but from the word “GO” the pace was furious, and it left many wondering how many could sustain it for 3 solid hours.  But sustain some did, Reiner Thoni in his usual form led from the beginning and finished with 18 laps slightly ahead of Andrew Mcnab who also did 18 laps, third top solo male was Alex Wigley with 16 laps.  On the women’s side Mel Bernier showed that she’s fast enough to play with the boys slaying 17 stout laps with the next female competitor behind her Martha Burly doing 11 solid laps.  Top 4 person team was Julie, Billie, Lyndsay and Dusan with 18 laps.  The top 2 person team was none other than yours truly the team of Sellers/Gale doing the most(teamed) laps of the evening a (painful) 20.  

Stever and myself  bumped into each other in the overloaded registration lineup and quickly figured that we had similar hesitations about pounding for 3 hours straight, so teamed up as the Canmore Golden Alliance.  I think we made the best decision as we didn’t have to hammer for 180 straight but also didn’t cool off too much as we would have in a 4 man team. 

The Vert180 was a great early season warmup and primer for the upcoming race Calender especially the next few; the GAH Selkirk Classic and Golden’s very own Tiki Torch Dash.  The unprecedented turnout shows that Canadian Skimo is entering an exciting period of rapid interest and growth.

Huge thanks to the organisers Niall, Kylee and Ben, well done gang.  As well thanks to the race’s sponsors Hammer Nutrition, Coltex skins and MEC.

Check in over the next few days at for full results


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