Canada’s national ski mountaineering championships are once again set to return to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in the form of the Dogtooth Dash, scheduled to take place Jan. 24.
The race will start and finish at the top of the gondola at over 2,300 metres and take competitors along a series of ascents and descents through Kicking Horse’s extensive in-bounds terrain.
Competitors will be broken down into both elite and recreational categories and the former category will feature some of the best ski mountaineers in North America.
“From the racer’s mouth…it’s the best ski mountaineering event in Canada and one of the best five in North America,” said Maxime Cretin, the resort’s organizer for the race.
Race director Stano Faban believes Kicking Horse has a lot to offer when it comes to setting up a course.
“We like the terrain at Kicking Horse…it offers a great variety that ski mountaineering needs,” he explained.
The top athletes will hit all four in-bounds peaks on their way to the finish and will ascend about 1,600m of vertical by the end of the race.
“We choose the best terrain from what they offer and try to make the best course that resembles the best races in Europe,” Faban said.
“It’s five uphills and five descents and lots of challenging skiing.”
Faban, who took over directing duties from Ian Gale in recent years, expects some of the top competitors to complete the course in well under two hours.
With the recent growth of the event and ski mountaineering in general, the event’s organizers are hoping to receive confirmation in the near future that Golden will host a World Cup event in 2016, which would be the first of its kind in North America. For 2015 the event has been officially sanctioned by the International Ski Mountaineering Federation.
“Being a part of the World Cup series is pretty much decided, the final touch is to put together a budget that can be approved by (Resorts of the Canadian Rockies),” Cretin said.