Night Run in the Rofan — 2009

Post by blogger | January 12, 2009      
Backcountry Skiing

There is always a way to podium finish, even if you're Team Slowtech.

The Rofan night race near here in Austria is basically a time trial up 1,000 meters vert, with a short downhill and another tiny uphill to the finish. The fastest do it in about 42 minutes. I was last in my age class (and just about last overall) at 1:11, but still happy as a clam since skiing up around 3,300 vert in just over an hour is a good enough take-home for this beat up body. Besides, I won a watch in the raffle and got a free can of Red Bull. The fat moon hanging over the Rofan was nice too, but after a while I wasn’t looking at it too much.

I’m not much of a randonnee racer — never have been — never will be. But I still enjoy trailing the occasional event. And doing one in Europe is a trip. It’s fun to see the mountain gazelles show up and drop into their bouncy and frankly intimidating warmup routines, my favorite this time being the sparkplug physique female who duck walked for 50 feet back and forth in the parking lot about a dozen times. I’ll pass on that technique.

The gear is cool too. Little tiny toothpick skis with Dynafit or ATC race bindings, lots of Scarpa F1 boots and even some F3s, all sorts of small mods for weight reduction, skin removal and the like. Of course a few guys show up on their regular backcountry ski gear — when I can’t pass those characters when on my borrowed race skis it’s pretty embarrassing, but I get over it so long as they’re 1/3 my age.

What’s fun is we do the race as a team: myself, Fritz and his friend Ricki. Since we’re the only mixed gender team we get to podium. I mean what’s a day of racing without a podium finish, even if you are the slowest? That’s why we call ourselves “Team Slowtech.” If we need to speed up, I make sure we slow down first. Works every time.

Backcountry Skiing

At the start, it's hard to know where you fit in when you're more of a ski mountaineer than a runner. I always wear too much clothing, and my camera bouncing around in my jacket pocket ended up being something like the Chinese water torture after about a million tiny bumps calling my attention to each gasping breath and groaning step.

Austrian randonee racing.

When you look down at your leg and see this, you know you're not in Kansas anymore.

Backcountry Skiing

Yours truly, max heartrate. It's been really cold here, so I was actually able to finish the run with three upper body clothing layers. Of course part of that was because I was moving too slow to sweat.

Backcountry Skiing

And you ALWAYS end at a gasthaus. Here, Riki and Fritz chat up Veronica Swidrak, who was top 10 in the World Cup last season. She was pretty fast in this race as well, 50:45.


11 Responses to “Night Run in the Rofan — 2009”

  1. Jordan January 12th, 2009 12:41 am

    Hey Lou,
    I’d still say that 1:11 up 3300 vert is downright impressive. Nice work! We have a spot on our 24 hours of sunlight team still!

  2. Michael Kennedy January 12th, 2009 7:15 am

    I’d be lucky to get up 300 vert in 1:11 right now.

    Sounds like you are having some fun, nothing like Euro mountain culture to restore your faith in humanity!


  3. Randonnee January 12th, 2009 7:18 am

    Very inspiring, Lou. You are a real sport for going after it.

    What in incredibly social sport there. Many of my tours here that I cherish sometimes have me and my dog and maybe a partner, and not a soul in the mountains around us for miles! I prefer the solitude. However, the culture and social aspect there, on the other hand, is quite impressive.

  4. Matt Kinney January 12th, 2009 9:21 am

    “”…a can of red bull” hahaha

    Very funny. Way to get after it Lou! 1000 meters in an hour is pretty darn good.

  5. Ken Mckean January 12th, 2009 10:51 am

    Lou- I’m 75% your age and am happy with a sub two hour skin up Baldy (in Sun Valley)!

  6. Lou January 12th, 2009 12:06 pm

    MK, keep climbing! I’ll try to keep it going so I’m ready when you’re ready. Would hate to get out of sync with you and end up on the reserve list after you’re up and running!

  7. Bill Bollinger January 12th, 2009 3:10 pm

    Hey Lou

    I am impressed with 3300 in 1:11.
    Hard to find a telemarker that can keep up with you!

  8. ScottN January 12th, 2009 3:28 pm

    Nice work Lou! I’d be happy with that time anyday. What’s their secret over there…… Pastries? Like the Dynafit tights too….

  9. Jonathan S. Shefftz January 12th, 2009 5:08 pm

    Nearly last overall? That kind of time over that kind of course would be nearly first overall in a New England rando race!

  10. Lou January 12th, 2009 11:46 pm

    You guys are too funny, and too kind!

  11. Dave Bell January 14th, 2009 3:20 pm

    Excellent Lou!! I am impressed with your work on the rando race. I was out there last year (france) and felt like a kindergarten skier next to the speedy italians and other euros at the rando races. Nice work getting in there!

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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