The snow pelted me in the face as we zipped up the first pitch of the race and I thought to myself, “This is a perfect day for a skimo race”.   Even as Breckenridge was being consumed by a snowstorm, it was hands-down the best weather The Five Peaks has seen in 3 years.

I like to think I am a relatively active person (I nordic a few times a week with a mix of snowboarding and a little sunrise skinning up peak 8) until I cover a skimo or ski mountaineering race.

Every year I am blown away by these incredibly fit humans in colorful spandex that are happy to ascend and descend (on skinny skis) 5 mountain peaks and exert enough effort to politely pass when offered a wind-breaker at 11,000 ft. during a snow storm. Hmmm ..

Just imagining yourself completing such a feat is exhausting.   

The perception of ski mountaineering, or “skimo,” racing is that it is for the agro-fit, endurance type. But in recent years, the US skimo scene has transformed into a dynamic sporting arena. It’s becoming more technical for serious competitors yet increasingly more accessible for fitness-minded athletes who want more than a typical resort day.


 See the Five Peaks Gallery at Climbbettybreck.Smugmug


The Five Peaks, which touts itself as the “Highest Ski Mountaineering Race in North America” has seen a 50% increase in racer participation over the last two years.

It’s no surprise.  The energy at this race is ski community. The after-party is filled with many happy windburn faces, extreme hat-hair and infectious smiles crammed around tables laughing and chatting about the day’s journey, weather, snow and the MONSTER Raffle which includes La Sportiva, Mountain Khakis and awesome Camp swag. Yay!

When you thank Co-Race Directors Jeff Westcott and Pete Swenson for an amazing race, they will be the first to put their arm around your shoulders and tell you that they couldn’t do it without all of the help from their awesome crew, tireless volunteers and especially the Breckenridge Ski Patrol.

Just imagine the race without a snowstorm. Fingers crossed for 2016!

View the entire Five Peaks 2015 gallery at climbbettybreck.smugmug

Enjoy the Climb