Ski Touring Competitions – Mountain Assault and Bucegi Winter Race

I’m not a competition freak, but I don’t ignore them altogether. I enjoy a couple of contests each season to keep my motivation up while training. Organized events are particularly welcome for a sport such as ski touring, which is highly dependent on the group you’re in, the weather, terrain and snow conditions.

Last season’s events were Squeezy Challenge and Cupa Calimani. This year, I took part in Mountain Assault and Bucegi Winter Race.

Mountain Assault was a vertical race that took place in Sinaia, at the end of February. It started in front of the town hall and had its finish at almost 2000 m altitude, after 6 km with 1100 m climbing. To spice things up, the race started around sunset, so, for a slower contestant such as myself, half of the climb took place in darkness. That might be a turnoff for some, but it was a treat for me. Climbing up a mountain in the dark, in an alpine area exposed to the cold wind, alone – moments I treasure.

The lower part of the race (up to 1000 m altitude) was snowless. I used my trail running shoes and switched to ski gear after getting to the base of the ski slope. The snow was decent at first, but then turned to ice as it got dark and cold.

Arrived to the finish line better that expected (although still last) with a time of 2h11′. I had been a little worried by the 2h30′ time limit. Refueled at Cabana Miorita, then skied down back to Sinaia. The slope had just been groomed – skiing down the frozen tracks was what I imagine hugging a jackhammer feels like.

Bucegi Winter Race took place at the beginning of April, after being postponed due to avalanche danger. I guess this would explain the reduced attendance of about 20 skiers.

There were two race categories: Elite with a route that was 22 km long with 1600 m to climb and Hobby with 16 km and 1100 m to climb. As much as I wanted to take the Elite route, I would have been by far the last to finish, so I had to make due with the shorter version.

Started from Padina, climbed to Saua Strunga, then towards Saua Batrana, but somewhere halfway descended to the right and continued straight with a climb to Babele. The final descent down to Padina was on Plaiul lui Pacala.

Finished in 4h00′ with an extraordinary top 10 performance – 7th out of 10 contestants on the Hobby route, to be more precise. On one side, I’m sad to see just a handful of people at such a nicely organized event, but on the other side, I enjoy these small intimate contests and I usually favor them instead of larger ones.

Photo credits:
Outdoor Romania
Dinu Turcanu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.