News » Whistler

Hill makes it three in a row

Good visibility but challenging conditions for ski touring race

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In the women’s race category the top racer was Jeannie Wall of Bozeman, Montana and the Atomic-Patagonia team. She finished in 1:56.41, more than 14 minutes ahead of her closest competitor.

She was also relieved that the visibility improved from Friday to Saturday. "We thought it would be Arctic winds and cold," she said.

Although things did clear up, she said she still did get a little vertigo during the race when the clouds moved in and you couldn’t tell what was in front of you or how fast you were moving.

Gear was also a challenge, with most competitors having problems with skins sticking to the snow and vice-versa. Luckily she brought a back-up pair of skins to use that didn’t have that problem.

"You can’t pick your conditions, you have to show up on the day ready to race," she said.

While challenging, she says the Whistler course isn’t as physically demanding as others on the five stop Randonnee Rally tour.

"It’s not as hard as Jackson Hole or Alta (ski resorts), but I like the fact that there’s more alpine. It’s also the only course where they left you off-piste, because there are no liability laws in Canada."

Wall is a former competitive cross-country racer, and says the Randonnee series appeals to her because it mixes those skills with her love for alpine skiing. She also enjoys the technical aspect of the race, and the transitions from climbing to descending that you have to make along the way.

It also helps to have strong competitors in front. For the first part of the race Wall followed a couple of guys. With a track to follow and someone just ahead, she said she was able to keep her head down and race. When she was on her own towards the end of the race, she says it was harder to get her bearings.

"Before I could just follow the steps, but when I was on my own I really have to look where I’m going. There are no trees up high, and if you don’t know the mountain it can still be kind of tricky. It’s easier to figure that out together."

Wall was followed by Monique Merill of Breckenridge, Colorado and Anna Keeling of Lehi, Utah.

In the men’s recreational race, which took place on a shorter course with about 2,500 vertical feet of climbing, Troy Jungen of Revelstoke was the leader in 1:22.21. He was followed by Jimmy Rogers of North Vancouver and Mathew Hart of Seattle in times of 1:34.28 and 1:36.22.