Marshall Thomson spent years as a snowboarder and only began competing in ski-mountaineering races four years ago, but his rise to the American skimo circuit’s elite echelon has been nothing less than meteoric.
Last year, with partner Tom Goth, he won the 40-mile Elk Mountains Grand Traverse between Crested Butte and Aspen, Colorado, with a time of 7:40:54, after making the podium for the previous two years. And in mid-March of this winter, Thomson became the overall male US Ski Mountaineering National Champion in Crested Butte, after winning the vertical and team races and placing second in the individual competition.
Given the Grand Traverse’s length and remoteness, preparing, packing, and carrying the required gear requires serious forethought. So we caught up with Thomson to see exactly what he’ll bring from Crested Butte to Aspen in this year’s race, which begins at midnight on Friday, March 28, 2014. Check it out here:
Photo: Marshal Thomson.
1. Nemo Zor 20s ¾-length sleeping pad and repair kit.
2. CAMP Crest shovel (duct tape gets wrapped around handle of shovel).
3. CAMP Carbon lite probe
4a. CAMP Flash jacket (wind shell)
4b. CAMP Flash pants (wind shell)
5. Smith Goggles and Pivlock V2 glasses
6. Skins: 2 pair of Pomoca Top Fix Race skins
7. CAMP Alp 95 harness. "For towing and being towed by partner."
8. Tow system: Pictured a bungee and 2 biners. "I've got a new custom pack integrated system in the works."
9a. Dynafit Cho Oyu Jacket (insulated layer)
9b. Montbell Down Pants (insulated layer)
10. Gloves: Dynafit Racing or Windstopper Radical (worn). Dynafit Storm overglove and CAMP Windmit’n
11. Dynafit RC20 pack
12. Headwear: Headband and Buff
13. Beacon: Pieps freeride
14. Dynafit RC1 boots
15. Emergency Shelter
16. Extra base layers and socks
17. Map, Lighter, Compass, Stove, first aid kit, blister kit and repair kit all fit inside 20oz pot.
18. Water System: two 17oz Hydropak bottles, one 50oz bladder, one 24oz bottle. “I use multiple water systems rather than one bladder because if your bladder freezes you are screwed. Each water source will have specific fuel: one with electrolytes only, one with Perpetuem, and one with gel-type fuel mixed with water.
19. Dynafit Speed Up racing suit
20. Dynafit Dy.N.A. skis, Dynafit RC1 bindings
21. Dynafit Dy.N.A. Evo racing poles
Marshall Thomson (center) on the podium at the US Ski Mountaineering National Championships in
Crested Butte, Colorado, in March, where he won two races, placed second in another, and was crowned National Champion. Photo: Stevie Kremer.