Black Diamond Powderkeg Randonnee Relay Race

Post by blogger | March 18, 2007      

Still here at Alta for more randonnee racing. Today is the relay, the first time a race of this sort has been held in North America.

This one is definitely NOT backcountry skiing. But a blast nonetheless. The format is simple, you mark out a short uphill course of about 400 vertical feet, drop some gates on a nearby run for the trip down, then divide into teams and pass the baton! The idea is to do things to your heart that your cardiologist should never hear about, and perhaps puke your guts out if things really go well.

We had eight teams of four. Each racer did two laps back-to-back, with climbing skin transitions being as important as cardio power. This led to some amusing spectating, as most of the people racing knew each other so the cowbells and catcalls rang loud as the poor soul fumbled with their gear.Lap times from 15 to 27 minuets, with total race times ranging from 1:08 for the winners and 1:55 for the tail gunners.

Randonnee race relay
Our team, “Media Circus.” That’s Lisa on the left, then me, then Peter Kray, and the ubiquitous Rando Steve.

Prize for most flamboyant transition went to Steve Romeo for his smooth removal of a ski while he was still skiing fast into the transition area after running the gates (the idea is you’re still moving while standing on one ski, but getting the other one off and ready to put a skin on, crazy). Prize for the most brutal changeover went to Brian Harder, who severed a thumb tendon on his ski edge while trying to break the world record for skin application (we wish Brian a quick recovery). As for me, I could only laugh at my inept bobbles. At the bottom I slapped a skin on with the glue facing out, then had the brilliant idea that I’d leave my experimental tail hooks off so I could rip fur even faster at the top. Problem was, as soon as I tried to lift my ski tail to grab my skin I discovered my skin tails were hooked to each other like someone had tied my shoelaces together. This of course with various people as witness. So much for that experiment!

The pros cleaned up, while our team Media Circus battled for fourth place the whole time but lost out to “One Pregnant Lady & 3 Guys Denying Responsibility” (Paul Diegel, Polly McLean, Drew Hardesty, Mark Christoperhson).

I shot some short video clips, check ’em out (Windows Media):

The Powderkeg Relay start.

Pete Swenson comes in for his transition, with Brian Wichenauser in pursuit.

Steve Romeo chases Brian Harder up the hill during the relay race, he’s trying to make up for the lack of cardio in the rest of team Media Circus. This video of Steve is NOT speeded up — I’ve never seen someone move so fast on a pair of climbing skins.

Randonnee race relay
Brian Harder with his badly cut thumb bandaged up and ready for the trip home. Luckily he works for an orthopedic surgery outfit and also has good health insurance — badly cut fingers always need TLC so you don’t get any recurring problems. We wish Brian speedy healing!


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed


  • Blogroll & Links

  • 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.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version