New Great Ski Race course is ….AWESOME!
It’s offical, The Great Ski Race new course is AWESOME. You still have to ski that bugger of a 12k uphill to the Soup Station, but after that, I promise, the skiing is absolutely wonderful, trust me, I skied it this morning.
My Morning Tea Led Me to the Course
When I heard it through the grapevine that the new course for The Great Ski Race was going to be groomed on Tuesday night, I decided I needed to get up early and ski it. After doing so, I can say that while you still have to ski that bugger of a 12k uphill to the Soup Station, after that, I promise, the skiing is absolutely wonderful.
If you have already signed up for The Great Ski Race and are curious what this new course will be like, or are straddling the fence about signing up because you don’t know what to think of this newfangled route…go for it! I had a grin on my face the last 14 kilometers.
While leisurely sipping on my cup of Morning Thunder at 7 am I took a gander at the temperature at Tahoe XC and realized it was already 32 degrees. “Yikes,” I said and rushed out the door to hit the snow by around 7:30. I was glad I did, the snow was nice and crisp. Sure, by the time I got to the Fiberboard Freeway at the top of Extra Gold I was beginning to question my decision to take on this ski, and in the back of my mind there was a thought that if snowmobiles had already made it onto the trails I might tell myself, “Oh, darn, I guess I should turn around.”
A New Section
Fortunately, I kept going and the snowmobilers were still sleeping. It was so pretty out there in the early light, and I only saw a few other skiers enjoying the warm morning. Eventually, with a few breaks that I told myself was for tree identification, I made it to the top. And then it got good. Really good.
Past the Soup Station, the new course, instead of heading left to Truckee, continues to follow the Fiberboard Freeway on a long downhill of about 4 kilometers. I’ve ridden my bike up this section of road a number of times and it always felt pretty steep and unrelenting. But cruising down it on skate skis is a true pleasure. The grade is quite Goldilocksy: not too steep, but steep enough to gently skate away. The route sits high above the surrounding countryside with views of the distant lake and some humongous trees.
Eventually at a sharp right hairpin turn, the trail takes off on a leisurely uphill for about a kilometer. I thought this was great as it gave my hamstrings a chance to take a break from the downhill. Then just about the time I was ready to say, “Ok, that’s enough uphill,” the fun downhill began again. Just like the last downhill section it was not too steep, just a really fun grade. Do keep your eyes open for a pretty good size bump that might bring you airborne. Apparently a big tree lies buried deep under the snow.
Before too long you reach the top of the Dollar Hill Trail which the course follows back to the Blue Trail and a bit more easy uphill before the last gentle descent on the easy part of blue to the finish.
Sign Up + Ski Hard
Perhaps it was because I was just cruising instead of racing, but I certainly felt like I had more fuel in my tank at the end then I ever had doing the old Great Ski Race course. So sign up, ski hard and have a blast. And you might just have enough energy in your tank to really enjoy the party at the end.