Rebecca Dussault and Pat O' Neill team up to conquer the Grand Traverse also deemed The Grand Reverse this year because an alternate course was used to keep the racers off potential avalanche terrain. The race was still very challenging and some are saying more challenging than the standard route to Aspen. Read Rebecca's account in her Facebook post below.
This past weekend the Ski Mountaineering National Championships were held in our back yard up at Mt. Crested Butte. For Rebecca, it was a chance to test her skills agains the best in the country, how could she not? Over the winter Rebecca had been getting out on her super lightweight randonee ski gear to train and race in preparation for this event. She came in fit and ready to ski uphill and downhill fast.
The course was nothing but a cake walk with 5 climbing sections and 5 downhill sections as well as 2 boot backing sections. For the final boot pack Rebecca had to scale Guides Ridge tied into a rope for 1000' scrabble with her skis and poles tied to her backpack. The culmination of Guides Ridge brings you to the very top of Mt. Crested Butte where the racers strapped on their skis and pointed them all the way back to the base area.
The conditions were a bit dicey in places with spring crust making the descents very fast and icy. Rebecca was happy that she had chosen to have her skis tuned and edges sharpened. At one point Rebecca fell and slid on her side narrowly missing a rock but for the most part Rebecca felt pretty good with her race. She struggled at times with transitions when she couldn't get her ski boots out of her bindings thus loosing valuable time. With a few equipment upgrades she feels that she can be in the mix for the win next go around.