Skimo, short for ski mountaineering, combines the sports of Telemark, Alpine and backcountry skiing with that of mountaineering.
A Ski Mountaineering race is a timed event that follows an established trail through challenging winter alpine terrain while passing through a series of checkpoints. Racers climb and descend under their own power using backcountry skiing equipment and techniques.
Basically, it’s like an adventure race on snowy mountains with slightly different gear. I don’t know about you, but for someone who loves trail running and adventure racing in the warmer seasons this seems like a perfect venue for the winter.
The problem: I DON’T SKI! I splitboard, which is really just another way of accomplishing the same task… but with style!
I had no idea this was a problem until I recently tried to sign up for one of these races. Jess and I went to the Teva Mountain Games last year and ran the night snowshoe race with our dog and really wanted to do the recreational course of the skimo event this year.
Rogue getting warmed up for her race last year
There was nothing on the website that said I could not use a splitboard, but just to be sure, I emailed the organizer. This is the response I got:
We’re saying no to splitboards for a couple of reasons: The biggest is we don’t yet have an appropriate course for it. Most skimo courses (and Vail in particular) are low angle which makes for slow skinning on a splitboard due to the width and nylon skins. (most skimo skis are 64-72 mm underfoot and use mohair). And I’d like to see a board course have more direct (fun) descents as well. When we do it I want it to be a shorter, more fun on the down type course. Also, splitboards don’t fit in the skin tracks on the narrow sections. It’s on the list to do a good splitboard course but it’s no for this winter.
Um… I’m not so sure about really any of that actually mattering, in fact a lot of the freeskier types that participate have some pretty darn wide skis and use the exact same skin material I do. I’ve since replied, but it almost reminds me of the same garbage that you get when you ask skiers at Alta why they don’t allow snowboarders.
As far as I can tell, skimo racers just seem to be a bunch of skinny ski, spandex wearing dopers that can barely ski back down the mountain anyway, so maybe we’re not missing out, but then again, maybe they could use a little “refreshment” from us splitboard types.