Cancel the Gunnar Hagen for lack of snow and give uber-trail designer Don Brooks free reign to design a race course on almost virgin terrain at the top of Amabilis, and what do you get? A race course with something for everyone: a lot of long steady climbs, a Gnarly Loop curving narrowly steeply down through the trees, an easy out and back with lovely views, peek-a-boos at Mount Rainier above the fog, narrow crunchy single track through the forest, an amazing high ridge tour, a swooping long downhill, and finally, just when your legs are fried and your lungs are whimpering, a super steep and icy climb back up to the finish line and jaw-dropping finish line views. And then, after the celebration at the top, 12k or so of steady downhill to get back down to the cabin, first in amazing April conditions, all soft and slushy with that delicious April snow smell, then below the Y sinking back into the fog, with the temperature dropping noticeably and the snow turning firm and crunchy. And finally, when the snow gives way to dirt, a last walk back to the cabin carrying your skis and hungry for lunch.
Back in the cabin, chili and bread and cookies and hot chocolate, draw prizes from Helly Hansen and Arcteryx and Second Ascent, winners announcements (Jeff Hashimoto, Rune Harkestad, and Peter Boveng led the men, the red-hot juniors Lydia Youkey and Uhuru Hashimoto led the women), the announcement of the master of the ages (Rune, of course!), and many many thank yous: to Kare and Aase and Randi for making our delicious lunch, to Holly and Katie and Leslie for handling the registration (26 people signed up!), to Keith, Robin, and Sharon for handling timing, to Max for setting up and taking down the course and being everywhere we needed a snowmobile to be, to Chris Q for rolling with the punches and dealing with the challenges of being race director in a year like this, to our sponsors for the much appreciated prizes, to Jeff for his usual awesome job of MC'ing the awards ceremony, to our friends of the Nordic Ski Patrol for watching over the hairier spots, to Glenn and Jim for helping Don lay out and prepare the new course, to Don for having the vision, and to our talented groomer Nick for using three different machines to bring Don's vision to life and make it all very skiable and fun.
And, of course, big thanks to all 26 of you who showed up and took a chance on a new course, at the top of a mountain, in the worst snow conditions in years. Thanks for coming! The Scramble turned out to be a great way to introduce lots of people to the beautiful potential waiting for us at the top of Amabilis, if we just make a little effort to get up there.
Race results here: http://www.kongsbergers.org/RaceResults/Amabilis-Scramble-2014.html