Competitive Backcountry Skiing in Colo.

Competitive Backcountry Skiing in Colo.

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Randonee ski racing—a European sport of traveling as fast as possible over varying terrain while relying on skiing and mountaineering skills—is heading to Colorado this winter in a series of events.

The Colorado Ski Mountaineering Cup (COSMIC) has announced a series of races at Arapahoe Basin, Snowmass, Loveland and other resorts. Racers follow flagged courses both in and out of ski area boundaries on ungroomed terrain, skinning uphill to the first gate, removing skins, skiing down to the second gate and back up to the third, and so on.

All courses will include a boot pack and approximately 4,500 feet of climbing. (Recreational courses will climb approximately 2,500 feet.)

Sunlight Mountain hosts the series’ first race on January 13th.

In 2007, the organization’s goal is to introduce more skiers to backcountry ski racing. For 2008, half of the COSMIC events will be for teams of two. (The majority of races in Europe are team events of two or three participants.) Future COSMIC races will include fixed-line ascents, traverses and point-to-point courses that take teams up to six hours to ski.

Says series coordinator Pete Swenson: “If you like backcountry skiing, are an alpine skier looking for new terrain, or are a cross-country skier wanting to add powder skiing to your weekend, this is your sport.”

Go to for complete information on races, entry forms, clinics and updates.

Stephen Regenold
Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.