Summit County ski mountaineers start up competitive season
The inaugural ski mountaineering season for Team Summit and head coach Jaime Brede has focused primarily on training, but the team hopes to head to its first in-person competition next month.
Brede and Team Summit ski mountaineers Olivia Lyman and Delilah Staberg have trained weekly on Copper Mountain Resort’s new designated uphill routes.
The endurance training, interval training and ski mountaineering fundamentals — such as bootpacking, downhill skiing on skinny skis and transitions — led up to Lyman and Staberg’s first race of the season — the virtual Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Rise and Shine Rando series. On an unmarked course where they recorded their personal times via the Strava application, Staberg (1 hour, 41 minutes and 46 seconds) and Lyman (1:41:47) finished third and fourth in the nine-skier women’s race behind winner Kate Chapman (1:18:57) and runner-up Katherine Sigerst (1:40:12).
“We just went out and treated it like a race,” Brede said. “Our main focus with the Rise and Shine race is pacing and to try and go out there on the second lap faster than the first.”
After starting practice in mid-November, Staberg’s Team Summit duo is hoping to compete in its first traditional race in a few weeks. The team will be heading to the Heathen Challenge at Sunlight Ski Area near Glenwood Springs, where Brede said they will be able to compete against some great youth ski mountaineers from Utah.
Even with the lack of races and just two athletes to coach currently, Brede is more focused on how the sport of skimo “brings out some remarkable young people” like Staberg — the younger sister of Team USA ski mountaineer Grace Staberg — and Lyman.
“And these two young ladies are no different,” Brede said. “They are incredibly well-rounded skiers. Olivia does skicross and has an Alpine background, and Delilah has a background in mogul skiing. They have great families. They are just good kids, and it’s a great time together where we truly enjoy hanging out.”
Lyman said she took up the sport in earnest last March when her father, former National Football League player and Copper General Manager and President Dustin Lyman, motivated her to ski up Mount Royal from their home throughout the shutdown.
“Sports is a huge part of who I am,” the younger Lyman said. “I love to win, and I have a competitive trait, definitely.”
80,062 feet tops 10-day vertical challenge
For many ski mountaineers across the county yearning to compete, the town of Breckenridge’s 10-day virtual vertical ski mountaineering challenge was the best bet.
Guy Gadomski, 64, of Dillon is one of those passionate uphillers. He finished in second place in the heavyweight setup division of the town of Breckenridge’s free 10-day vertical gain challenge. The challenge was the town recreation department’s way of hosting a competition amid COVID-19 regulations.
But rather than races taking place on a specific course in-bounds at Breckenridge Ski Resort — like the Breck Ascent Series of yesteryear — Breck locals Vince Hutton and Nikki LaRochelle thought up a Strava-based challenge where skiers could ski wherever they wanted while accruing their vertical.
Gadomski’s 70,178 feet of vertical from Jan. 2-11 ranked only behind Dustin Johnson (80,062) in the 18-skier division, ahead of third-place finisher Anne Parmley (30,752). In the 20-skier lightweight setup division — for skiers using much lighter, race-specific ski mountaineering equipment — the wife-husband duo of Nikki and Brad LaRochelle took first and second (56,307 feet and 49,918 feet, respectively) while Eva Hagen finished in third (44,516).
Gadomski described the challenge as “incredible.” The Grand Traverse and Power of Four veteran said he skied most of his vertical — 37,000 feet — at Copper. It’s via Copper that he went out for a big day in the backcountry, slogging through deep powder to get up to Vail Pass and Janet’s Cabin before heading back down for the Union Creek area.
Gadomski was impressed by Johnson’s output in amassing the most overall vertical feet in either category.
“Every day, I was going out for more and more miles and vertical feet, but he matched me every day,” Gadomski said. “I could not catch him, and I was determined to do it.”
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