The Ken Jones Classic Skimo Race

I’ve never had gear issues during a race, I guess I’m just more careful than everyone else”  I confidently stated after the gear-crushing Dogtooth Dash two weekends ago, those words would return to humble me….
The Ken Jones Classic last weekend was a race I heard about the weekend before the Dogtooth Dash.  I was surprised and excited to hear that Lake Louise was entering the Skimo game and was really keen to check it out.
The race was the last of the longest race season most of us have had, there’s definitely a good feeling knowing that you’re not going to have to race for a while again after this.  I’d heard rumors of the potential course and was intrigued, Speed Gully, The Elevator Shaft, Purple bowl, would they really string together all these classic Louise slackcountry tours into one race?  The prerace meeting went by in a blur but my attention piqued when I heard there was potential of some unsettled weather and the course may have to be modified depending on timing of the system and snowfall.  

The word upon arriving at the mid mountian start line was that they would run the big course.  Yeehaw.  The start was all the usual suspects jockeying for position behind Reiner, the pack thinned down to single file soon enough and it was a steady climb up the frontside to the Summit and over to Whitehorn “J” gully.  Tricky skiing and flat light culled the herd and spaced us out well as we climbed the ridge from bare assed Pass to Richardson’s ridge and the famed “Speed Gully”, where speed skiing competitions were held once upon a time.  The bootpack was a big one with over 400m of good ol Rockies facet bashin, to a rocky ridge that you attempted to tip toe and run at the same time.
Long gruelling march up the Wolverine valley brought us to the top of  Lipalian pk and eye to eye with the pow filled Elevator Shaft.  A quick shoulder check revealed no-one insight after balling up the skins and shoving them in my suit.  I left the last transition thinking I had second place locked down and I skied like a shark with a fricking laser beam on it’s head. 
Then on the descent as I was making my way through the last of the rock garden monkey trail, with the groomer in-sight I hit a funky dip and heard a large “CRACK” and my ski didn’t ski so well, then I started thinking about how far my foot was in my mouth from all my squawking earlier.   I still managed second male behind Reiner, with Peter Knight taking third place.  Mel Bernier ruthlessly skated by me screaming “chicked again, loser” to take the second overall and first female spot with Julie Matteau, Lisa Wilason and Martha Burley finishing behind in that order.

The race was a well orchestrated event put  together by the Lake Louise Snow Safety department, hats off to them for their worthy addition to the circuit, like the name states it’s going to be a classic. 

It feels pretty good to be done the busy race season, for now most of us’ll be glued to the weather channel with tight-lipped plans for spring speed traverses and peak baggery.  Thanks for an awesome race season everyone!

Many thanks to Malcom Taylor for the photos


2 Responses

  1. I didn’t think you heard me laugh at you as you were busy swearing!!! (Dude I feel for you, that really sucked!)

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