I knew it was just a matter of time before the men’s and women’s world records for ski climbing in a 24-hour period would be taken from American soil. Unfortunately, I think it just happened a couple weeks ago at the Gastein 24-Hour Ski-Touring Race in Austria. Held on Feb 27/28, Ekkehard Dörschlag (Austria) broke the 60,000′ barrier for the men and Anne Marie Gross (Italy) pushed the women’s record over 40,000′. I think the record will be pushed even higher in the next few years. How much vertical can the most skilled and fastest rando racers climb on skis in a 24 hour period? My guess is that it’s close to 70K’ for the men and over 50K’ for the women. What do you think?
Ekkehard Dörschlag – 18,288M – 60,350′
Anne Marie Gross – 12,700M – 41,910′
The good thing is, with a little help from the guys that put on the 24 Hours of Sunlight Race, I think there is hope that we can bring this record back to the US where it belongs. For those of you that know the course at Sunlight, you know that the uphill part of the race ends with a long flat section where few vertical feet are gained…but the clock still ticks. I think if this section was removed, allowing racers to recycle their laps quicker, participants would be better able to maximize their vertical. Let’s hope this is a consideration in future races.
Holy crap. 10k more for the men. Very impressive. I think your point about the course is true. Sunlight has two flat sections, actually, that burn time and not much vert. The perfect course needs to have vert right out of the gate but not so steep as to require arm waxing anywhere along it. Shouldn’t be hard to find something like that. Sun Valley is compelling like that in places with very continuous relief and big vertical. Plenty of others out there, I’m sure, especially if you are willing to stop mid mountain.
Pretty HUGE eh?
The key is to have an even gradient slope all the way that is possible to skin straight up while still maintaining decent cadence.
Then, the longer the climb the better since that eliminates number of transitions (which take time). However, I believe that too long of a climb (too long of a downhill) can tire you. So ideally the climb should be around 800-1000m, I think. This should give the best of both worlds – long enough uphill for best performance and short enough downhill that still provides enough time for good rest (for your lungs) but doesn’t introduce too much fatigue on your legs.
Also, have such a climb starting at 1000m instead of 2200m, that way no energy will be spent for strictly dealing with altitude by the racers body. All the energy will go towards the performance.
That’s my 2 cents 🙂