Local ski mountaineers contend at World Championships

Feb 27, 2017

Max Taam and John Gaston lead fellow Americans Eric Carter and Tom Goth near the top of a climb in Sunday's team ski mountaineering race at the World Championships.
Credit Courtesy of International Ski Mountaineering Federation

Local ski mountaineering racers are competing at the world championships in Italy and finishing with some of the strongest results for American skiers in the sport’s history.

The U.S. women’s team of Aspen-native Jessie Young and Janelle Smiley from Jackson, WY, took 4th Sunday, the best finish ever for a team from North America. Roaring Fork Valley locals Lindsay Plant and Annie Gonzales competed on teams that placed 8th and 12th.

Young, who placed 13th, was the top American woman in Friday’s individual race.

Jessie Young, the top American racer, cruises to 13th place in the individual competition at the Ski Mountaineering World Championships on Friday.
Credit Courtesy of Mark Smiley

The Aspen duo Max Taam and John Gaston finished the team’s race as the top Americans in 11th place, and Gaston, 15th, finished with another North American best-ever in the men’s individual race.

The backcountry races consist of technical climbs and ski descents. Racers will compete in a sprint race Tuesday and a vertical climb on Wednesday.