2023 - Full Course (1.5 - 5 hrs):
The full course at the Mt Ashland SkiMo Summit is a true backcountry event! We start and end on the manicured Mt Ashland Ski Area trails, but the bulk of the time you’ll be skiing and riding in untamed, ungroomed terrain outside of the ski area boundary. While the Mt Ashland Skimo Summit full course is a race and does follow a standard SkiMo race format, being a SkiMo racer is not a requirement to participate. This event is a fantastic chance to explore the backcountry options that Mt Ashland has to offer! This course covers advanced skiing terrain and will require strong downhill skiing ability and endurance. If you need an excuse to go do a longer tour and maybe check out the surrounding terrain around Mt. Ashland, this is your ticket. You'll need a beacon, probe, shovel, and a backpack that can carry skis. You'll also need to carry water, food, and extra layers as if you are going on a normal backcountry outing. There will be volunteers at the transitions and Jackson County SAR will be on the course, but these are not aid stations, so you'll need to be completely self sufficient. If you decide to turn around for any reason, you MUST let a transition captain, a volunteer, a ski patrol, or Yu or Ryan know that you turned around.
The total vertical gain and loss is approximately 4,500 ft with four major climbs and two short climbs.
The distance is approximately 9 miles.
The course will be fully marked to USSMA standards with green flagging on the ascents, red flagging on the descents, yellow flagging for the bootpack, and blue marking for transitions.
There are two cutoff points Transition #4 and Transition #7. If you don't make the full course, you'll still get plenty of skiing in.
Detailed Description of the course (open the CalTopo link below and follow it along as you read the description)
First Skin - small (150 ft) - will take you up to the top of Sonnet Chair. Transition #1
First Descent - to the bottom of Windsor Chair via skier's right of the Sonnet Lift via Poma Run, maintain speed into Aisle Two and continue your descent to the bottom of the Windsor lift. Transition #2 - We will have the transition marked, and you will be required to skin from the marked transition area. Do NOT skate past the transition zone. This transition will be past the Windsor lift on the Aerial side. Transition #11 will be next to Comer. So you'll be skiing past Transition #11 a little way to get here.
Second Skin - big (1100 ft) - will take you from the bottom of Windsor Chair along the ski area boundary on Rodger's Way past the bottom of Aerial chair and will head up Caliban -> Upper Dream. The transition will be located at the top of Aerial Chair (7450 ft). Transition #3 - top of Aerial
Second Descent (1400 ft) - will follow the cat track off the backside of Mt. Ashland. You'll start skiing down towards the bowl. Follow the cat track to the south and out of the ski area boundary. Follow it around the first corner and look for flags to the start of the backcountry descent. Ski down the open meadow, past where the transition was located last year (2022) to an old fire road where it'll flatten out and you'll skate to transition #4 (6000 ft). Put your skins on here. This is also the 6th transition. Transition #4/6 - 40S15. We will have a cutoff here and the racers will skip the third skin and descent and go straight to the fourth skin. Cutoff #1 - will be at 9:15 am. This cutoff will shorten the course by skipping the Honey Pot.
Third Skin - big (1100 ft) - will follow the fire road for short time, then you'll start cutting up between two drainages. Once sufficiently above the drainage, you'll start veering left switch backing up past another fire road (40S30). Keep climbing up to the top of the Honey Pot. Transition #5 - Honey Pot (7100 ft)
Third Descent (1100 ft) - Stay skier's left of the climber's track, making your way down the Honey Pot, cross the fire road, cross the drainage, and make your way down to the second fire road. Be aware of other racers skinning up the fireroad here. You'll arrive back at Transition #4/6 (6000 ft)
Fourth Skin (1000 ft) - Will climb just west of descent #2. You'll cross one small drainage, cross the PCT, cross a fireroad and continue climbing to the access road on the backside of Mt Ashland. Follow the road for a short climb up to Rabbit Ears where you'll find transition #7. Cutoff #2 - we'll have another a cut off here at 11 am. This is due to safety reasons as this next descent will take you into hard to access areas for rescuers, etc. If you don't make the cutoff, follow the access road to the top of Mt. A and descend the ski area to the lodge.
Fourth Descent (400 ft) will head north side down into the expansion area. You'll start in some trees and it'll open up to some low angle open meadows. Make sure to follow the flags diligently as if you miss the transition, there is no easy access out. Transition #8 will be at the bottom of one of the meadows (6600). If you are making fresh tracks, stop and re-trace your track so you are back on course. This area is difficult to access for rescues, searches, etc... so take extra caution down here.
Fifth Skin (500 ft) will meander through the forest to the bottom of the Bowl. We'll do our best to mark this skin track tightly. Near the top of this skin track, we'll re-enter the ski area boundary, once you duck the rope, be aware of resort skiers coming down the hill at high speeds (we'll have signs out and warn the public as much as we can - this area may be closed off, so you may not have to worry about it). You'll eventually get to the bottom of the "Bowl" where it flattens out and you'll cross the main exit of the bowl where skiers will be descending at high speeds. We'll have a volunteer stationed here as a crossing guard to make sure there'll be no collisions. Transition #9 (7100ft) - Rip your skins, and secure your skis to your backpack. Skis on your backpack is mandatory due to safety reasons.
Boot Pack (500 ft) - will climb the shoulder of the bowl at the fence line next to Wong's run. This is a short boot pack, but if you are feeling dizzy or don't trust your feet at this point, we urge you to reconsider and just traverse over to Dream. Reach transition #3/10 at the top of Aerial lift and transition (7450 ft).
Fifth Descent (1000 ft) - will begin from the top of Ariel and descends briefly down Ariel Charline before it hooks skiers left and over onto Dream. You will descend Dream all the way down past Ariel chair and ski a bit past Windsor base, pass transition #2 towards Comer lift. Be aware of other skiers and ski in control! This area is congested and can be very busy, so slow down and avoid collisions! Transition #11 and #2 are within a frisbee toss away, but will be on either side of Windsor lift.
Final Skin (300 ft) - Mt. Ashland has a designated uphill track from your final transition. This starts just uphill of the maintenance shed next to Comer lift. Follow the skin track on the outside of the boundary line (climber's left), and follow the track until you are under the lodge, you'll have to duck the rope at one point to get back into the resort area and we'll finish near the lodge.
Enjoy your moment of glory, catch your breath so you can grab a beer and a meal. Then start cheering your fellow participants as they come in! If you don't make it back by the cut off, you'll still have finished the "short course" on time... Be sure to come back for the awards ceremony at 1:30 pm by the finish area.
Course Map Here on Caltopo - GPX downloadable
2022 Course (modified due to low snow pack) - Pat Parsel Strava; Max King Strava
2023 Course - Max King Strava