Thursday, February 20, 2014

Voile and Powder Keg to host 2014 Ski Mountaineering North American Championships and Vertfest.

Voile and the Wasatch Powder Keg are excited to announce that not only will they be hosting this year’s North American Ski Mountaineering Championships, but will also be partnering with the Utah Avalanche Center and Outdoor Research to bring the Vertfest to Utah for 2014.

The 12th annual Wasatch Powder Keg backcountry race will be held on March 7, 8, and 9 at Brighton Ski Resort. A test of speed, strength, and endurance for any backcountry skier, the 2014 Powder Keg will once again feature 3 different races, allowing racers to have the option of doing any individual race or all 3 races. The Powder Keg will also be hosting the North American Ski Mountaineering Championships, meaning that each race will crown a North American Champion for each of the 3 races.

The Keg starts off Friday afternoon with the sprint race, the ultimate test of a racer’s speed while climbing (~300 vertical feet). All racers race singly, with the top 12 qualifying for the semi-finals, held ‘ski-cross’ style (6 racers at a time). The top 6 from the semi-finals will compete in the finals to determine the overall winner. With categories for both men and women, head-to-head competition, and the entire race taking place within view of Milly Chalet, the Sprint Race is sure to be a nail biter.

Saturday is the traditional Powder Keg Individual Race. The Elite and Heavy Metal divisions will cover 11 miles with 5 climbs for a little over 6,000’ of punishment, while the Recreational division will cover 6.5 miles with 4 climbs for 3,500’ of vert. Any racer with a ski/binding weight of 1,450g (51 oz.) or less must race the Race division. And of course all divisions will have categories for both men and women.

Sunday will be the Technical Teams Race (teams of 2). The course will have 6 climbs and over 9,000’ of climbing.  The highlight of the course will be the fixed ropes climbing up and traversing Mt Millicent.  Racers will be required to work as a team to complete the course and incorporate mountaineering skills to ascend and traverse the roped section.

On Friday, food will be available at the Milly Chalet between the Sprint Race and pre-race meeting. A BBQ, awards ceremony, and raffle will follow the Saturday and Sunday races at the Milly Chalet.  For more details visit

Vertfest is a weekend-long festival of backcountry and sidecountry skiing and riding, combining a ski mountaineering race, backcountry and sidecountry skills clinics, gear demos, music, and celebration of the beyond the rope-line community. Vertfest began in the Cascade Mountains of Washington 7 years ago with the support of Outdoor Research, and has grown into a 3-event tour this year, coming to Alpental, Washington, Mt. Bachelor, Oregon, and Brighton, Utah.

Vertfest will feature
·  2 days of free gear demos
·  Half- and full-day clinics on topics such as steep skiing, splitboarding, efficient backcountry travel techniques, mountaineering skills for backcountry riders, ski photography, and avalanche travel and rescue skills

Both days will feature an award ceremony and opportunity drawing, while Saturday will also feature a live bad and outdoor BBQ.

For more information visit:

For video information:
·      Ski Mountaineering:
·      Vertfest:

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