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Castle Mountain to host annual ski mountaineering event

The annual ski mountaineering race at Castle Mountain Resort near Pincher Creek continues to grow in and scope.
A sprint format race has been added to the schedule of the annual ski mountaineering event at Castle Mountain on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 9-10.
Ski mountaineering, or skimo as it is commonly known combines skiing and mountaineering skills.
Skiers race over steep alpine terrain using ski touring gear, gaining and losing elevation past a series of checkpoints set along ridges and peaks.
Skimo courses often require skinning up snow slopes, scrambling with the skis on packs and downhill technique. Some technical courses may require boot packing or traversing fixed lines.
Gear required for skimo includes an alpine touring, telemark or splitboard rig; skins; transceiver; shovel; probe; day pack, food, hydration; helmet; inner and outer wear layers; space blanket; and helmet.
The course is completed carrying full gear from a mass start on the valley floor in typically less than three hours.
The winner is the one who crosses the finish line first so results are determined by time.
Registration is from 9 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, Jan. 9 at the Castle Mountain day lodge.
The sprint course is open from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. so competitors can complete practice runs and gain advice from experienced racers.
At 12:30 p.m. there is a mandatory technical briefing for racers at the day lodge, where they will also pick up their race bib and timing ship.
The sprint races will have competitive, recreational, junior and master categories, with four skiers competing in each heat.
The sprint races will be held in front of the day lodge.
Following the spring races there will be a skimo social and open house from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at the day lodge.
There will be a podium ceremony for the spring races, draws for prizes, displays by vendors and sponsors, a silent auction and refreshments.
Members of the Canadian national skimo team will be present for a slide show and question and answer period.
The individual skimo race on Sunday, Jan. 10 features two similar but slightly different courses for recreation and competitive skiers.
The recreational course is designed for people who want to try the sport for the first time.
Participants should be physically fit, have some ski touring experience and the required kit.
Skiers on the recreation route will gain and lose about 3,837 vertical feet.
Skiers on the competitive route will gain and lose about 4,937 vertical feet.
Volunteers are posted at checkpoints and transition areas to assist competitors.
Registration is at the day lodge from 8-9 a.m. Sunday, followed by a mandatory technical briefing where racers will get their bibs and timing chips.
The race gets under way at 10 a.m.
Ceremonies follow the race, with prizes aware in men’s and women’s competitive and recreation categories, as well as in junior and master categories.
For information or to volunteer contact Brent Harris at
While registration is accepted the day of the race a discount is offered for on-line registration at prior to Sunday, Jan. 9.