Skimo popularity flourishes in Steamboat’s Ski Ascent Series’ 4th season

Crossing the finish line with a frosty beard, Ben Glassmeyer takes second in the Pro/Open division of the Howelsen Hill Circuit on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat Pilot & Today

In a city known for winter athletics, Steamboat Springs has embraced the rising global popularity of ski mountaineering and began its fourth official season of the Ski Ascent Series on Thursday, Dec. 15. 

Opening with the Howelsen Hill Circuit, the series is a five-race event taking place at both Howelsen Hill and Steamboat Resort. Co-race directors Alex Pond and Charlie MacArthur said they are proud of the series’ growth and how it has given the community a new competitive wintertime activity. 

“This demographic in Steamboat is clearly the right one for this,” MacArthur said of the sport. “The crossover to mountain biking, the crossover to Nordic skiing is too good. We saw surprising growth the first year, and it’s been nothing but growth since then. It was expected, but it’s been an exciting thing to watch the community get involved.”

The International Olympic Committee announced in June that ski mountaineering, known as skimo, will be added to the Olympic lineup at the Milano Cortina Games in 2026. The sport will hold five medal events with a sprint and individual race for both men and women as well as a mixed-gender relay race. 

In line with the addition of skimo in the Winter Olympics, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club recently added a skimo program to its roster, and a large number of the club’s young athletes competed in the Howelsen Hill Circuit on Thursday.

“We have a facility that breeds Olympians,” Pond said. “To have an event that the youth can come out and they can train and really help people see what the sport is all about is perfect. People can come out and spectate and watch the people doing all the transitions, putting their skins on and running back up the hill and skiing down.”

Howelsen Hill Circuit Pro/Open race winner Barkley Robinson makes a transition before the start of lap two on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022. Robinson added skins to the bottom of his skis to begin his ascent up the side of the mountain.
Tom Skulski/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Part of the excitement of the sport is the transition period in which athletes must attach skins to their skis to have a grip for the ascent up the mountain. Once at the top, they take the skins off for the downhill sections.

Thursday’s race featured six transition zones per lap with the Pro/Open athletes completing four laps in total. It was a mixture of ascent up the mountain, downhill skiing and a short section of boot packing. 

Pond thinks the coolest aspect of the sport is that it includes so many variables beyond just downhill skiing and uphill running. He said athletes need to have all the tools to succeed. 

Both Pond and MacArthur believe the series offers a great way for athletes to hone their skills. The biggest selling point of skimo is the exploration and adventure aspect. MacArthur said you will never see the mountain the same way again. 

“This sport shows you a different side of the mountain,” MacArthur said. “If you have downhill skied here for a number of years, you think you know the mountain pretty well, but when you’re ascending up through the trees and checking it out from a completely different angle, you see things differently.”

Howelsen Hill Circuit Results


Girls: 1. McKenzie Maines 30.21. 

Boys: 1. Caleb Walker 26:41. 2. Ethan Maines 27:58. 3. Ryder Robinson 30:49. 4. Ian McLarney 33:13. 5. Everett Baldwin 33:50. 6. C-Mac Biglow 39:55. 7. Jett Brosterhous 40:36. 8. Oliver Nylen 45:19.


Girls: 1. Lauren Larson 36:03. 2. Kim Barger 41:16. 3. Emily Hines 42:17. 4. Keri Gannon 50:41. 5. Jacy Rock 50:44.

Boys: 1. Tom Gannon 48:33. 


Girls: 1. Alisha Johansson 1:49:01. 2. Shannon Fonger 1:54:37. 3. Nicole Olexa 1:59:02. 4. Sarah Pizzo 2:03:07. 5. Katrina Engelsted 2:10:01. 

Boys: 1. Barkley Robinson 1:23:43. 2. Ben Glassmeyer 1:24:07. 3. David Zink 1:30:59. 4. Greg Friedman 1:31:18. 5. Kyle Lawton 1:34:17. 6. Allen Belshaw 1:42:25. 7. Joe Laliberte 1:53:23. 8. Ian Caragol 1:54:48. 9. Matt Lundy 1:56:31. 10. Ash Leinen 1:57:22. 11. Dan Barger 2:11:12.


Female: 1. Helen Beall 1:11:07. 


Female: 1. Sarah Collins 58:43. 2. Hannah Gary 1:01:32. 3. Sophie Lattes 1:03:38. 4. Kelly Dilorenzo 1:07:14. 5. Callie Cooper 1:10:41. 6. Nicole LeCuyer 1:12:47. 7. Allison Montgomery 1:17:53. 8. Taylor Karlin 1:18:21. 9. Annmarie Blodgett 1:18:55. 10. Erin Ross 1:27:27. 11. Kirsten Thomas 1:28:39. 

Male: 1. Andrew Miller 49:44. 2. Tashi Landers-Quinn 52:51. 3. Tony Cesolini 52:57. 4. Brendan Mulvey 54:54. 5. Aidan Haack 55:48. 6. Patrick Nagle 56:09. 7. Dan Lemmer 56:20. 8. Hunter Miesen 58:41. 9. Larry Lindeman 59:56. 10. Matt Jacquart 1:07:13. 11. Tore Johnston 1:16:18.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.