Ski Mountaineering is defined as the sport or pastime of skiing across mountainous terrain using equipment specially designed for walking uphill as well as skiing downhill.
This is code for hard as hell and you must have a huge engine under the hood. Both descriptions fit Big Sky Brewing Co. Team member Mike Foote perfectly. He’s actually in the Alps as we speak and we had a chance to catch up with him.
Where are you?
I’m in Tambre, Italy tucked into the Italian Dolomites an hour north of Venice. I’m here for the Ski Mountaineering Racing World Championships with The US Ski Mountaineering Team.
Schedule for coming weeks?
This week I am racing in the Individual Race (2/24), the Vertical Race (3/1) and the Team Relay Race (3/2) at the World Champs. I will then travel to France for the iconic 4-day stage race Pierra Menta in the Alps.
How did you get into Ski Mountaineering?
I’ve been racing in ultra distance mountain running for years. I love skiing and moving through the mountains years round so skimo racing was the most natural way to race and compete in the mountains in the winter as well.
What does a race consist of?
Ski Mountaineer Racing is all about moving through complex terrain as efficiently as possible using a variety of skill sets. Many courses involve a handful of climbs and descents where you skin up and ski down. You often put skis on your back to bootpack up technical couloirs or on ridges. To do well in the sport, you must have a strong blend of skills including endurance, downhill skiing prowess, and comfort in extreme mountainous terrain.
What do you love about it?
I love the terrain I get to train and race in for this sport. I love the challenge of the uphill and the fun and adrenaline of the descent. I like the quality of the people in the community of the sport.
What do you hate about it?
How fast all these Europeans are.
The coffee. The bread. The cheese. The culture. It’s all such an experience. This sport has such history here and the level of competition is next level. It’s an honor to be here to learn and absorb as much as I can.
What’s you favorite European beer?
I don’t discriminate.
Thanks Mike and best of luck over there. We’ll be cheering hard from the Big Sky State.