Wow, what a “race.” I put “race” in quotes because the winners finished almost 2.5 times faster than my partner and me. The Power of Four, for us, was all about finishing, not racing.
What is the Power of Four? One of the hardest skimo races in the country. Skimo is short for ski-mountaineering, for those not into this incredibly obscure sport. The Power of Four gains over 11,000 feet of elevation over 25 miles, summiting each of the four mountains at Aspen Snowmass.
Over the past few years, I have completed and DNF’d the Power of Four in nearly every possible combination: Not making the cutoff, teaching a partner how to ski down (seriously) after crushing me on the uphills, having a partner quit and finishing alone, the somewhat easier Power of Two, and finishing the full course a few times, too. Just a great opportunity to be outside, right?
I was lucky enough to secure a free hotel room through work directly next to the start line. This allowed me to sleep in an extra 45 minutes or so, which ended up working out quite well! I like to sleep! The majority of folks who attempt this race are pretty hardcore. More than 11,000 feet of climbing over 25 miles with some challenging skiing along the whole course? The past couple years, including this one, it’s been the National Championship for the whole sport in the team category. Based on that, people are hardcore. The first couple times I was intimidated, but now I just find it awesome. There are so many hardcore outdoors people and athletes in Colorado; it’s inspiring.