Braving winter for XTERRA |

Braving winter for XTERRA

Wendy Lautner/Sun News ServiceEmma Garrard tests a pair of skis at Tahoe Donner's Sunrise Bowl on Wednesday. She will compete this weekend in the XTERRA Winter World Championships in Ogden, Utah.

Ever since I started indulging in multi-sports, I abandoned the notion of packing light, resulting in a 588-mile drive to Ogden, Utah, in an SUV overflowing with equipment ” rather than grabbing a cheap seat on Southwest.

On Saturday, I’ll compete in the inaugural XTERRA Winter World Championships. The event involves mountain biking (on snow), running (on snow), snowshoeing (on pavement, just kidding) and ski mountaineering, totaling about 28 kilometers.

Would you like to check in to the airport with skis, boots, poles, bike(s), snowshoes, etc.?

I didn’t think so.

My first challenge was deciding what equipment to use. It’s ironic that I have a garage full of winter sporting equipment but felt my supply was inadequate for the race.

I first toyed with the idea of using ultra-light Nordic skis for the mountaineering section (whatever this entails), but reconsidered when the notion of making it downhill in one piece occurred to me.

The other option was using my telemark skis, but I was hoping for something a little lighter for the uphill.

A good middle ground was borrowing a pair of Madshus randonee skis, boots and skins from Katerina Nash, a local pro mountain biker and old friend from the UNR Nordic team.

For the mountain bike, normally I’d rely on my trusty Santa Cruz Blur, but I decided to borrow a Burro winter bike kindly lent to me by Mark Kuehne of the Lake Tahoe Wellness Center. His bike looks like a mountain bike with really fat BMX tires, apparently designed for the Ididarod trail.

I have snowshoes, but was lent a lighter pair specifically for racing by Rachel Barth of Incline Village.

Running shoes? No problem, thanks to an INOV-8 shoe sponsorship. I just have to decide which pair. Each one I have is crafted for different weather and trail conditions. So, I guess to be on the safe side, I’ll bring a few spares.

My other challenge was fitting in training for a winter multi-sport event during preparation for the fast-approaching summer multi-sport season.

Though I’ve spent hours on my trainer and in the pool during this wet and cold winter, I’ve yet to bike on the snow and just got around to randonee skiing Wednesday morning. In other words, even though I come from snowy Tahoe, I still feel like I’ll be in the same boat as everyone else … I hope.

Why all the hassle for a weekend of winter sports in Utah?

Did I mention I will be competing in my first event racing in the XTERRA pro/elite division with a shot at a $10,000 purse?

How’s that for motivation?

I will also be shooting for the “Fire and Ice” award, (no, not named after a male figure-skating pair), but for the best combined time of the XTERRA World Championships in Maui and the XTERRA Winter World Championships.

If preparing and racing in the Winter Championships doesn’t tire me out, then competing in the Powersox U.S. Snowshoe Championships the following day should do it.

And if that doesn’t get me, loading up the car for the long drive home certainly will.

For more information on the XTERRA Winter World Championships go to

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