World Championships Wrap Up


Piancavallo, Italy.  The 2017 World Championships of Ski Mountaineering have come to a close in Tambre/Piancavallo, Italy.  Team USA wrapped up the championships with strong performances in the Sprint and Vertical races before closing out the event during the Team Relay event.  Team USA finished 6th in the overall team standings – its highest ever finish at the World Championships.  


The highlight of the final days of competition and perhaps the entire Championships came when Quinn Simmons collected a bronze medal in the Cadet Sprint Race.  Simmons, 15, Durango, CO, turned in two strong performances – first in the qualifying round where he achieved the second fastest time and then in the semifinals where he won his heat – in route to qualifying for the finals.  Amongst a highly competitive field, Simmons started strong and was the first competitor to the top if the diamond before being overcome on the bootpack.  The fifteen year old Coloradan hung on tough during the last stages of the race to cross the line third.  Simmons’ performance made him the first American male of any age to medal at the World Championships.  

Also competing in the Sprint races on Monday were, in the Cadet Girls category, Morgan Fortin, and in the Cadet Boys category, Henry Haines and Henry Boyd and in Junior Boys category, Ian Clarke, all of whom narrowly missed out on qualifying beyond the preliminary round.  

In the Senior Women category, three of four Americans made it to the quarterfinal round, Jessie Young, Najeeby Quinn, and Michela Adrian.  Anne Gonzales just missed out on qualifying despite a strong performance.  

For the American Men Eric Carter was able to move beyond the qualifying round and into the quarterfinals in an incredibly talented field.  Carter hung tough in his quarterfinal heat, but ultimately missed out on moving into the semis.  Max Taam, Rory Kelly, Scott Archer and Cam Smith all skied well and showed incredible resiliency and toughness throughout the day as freezing rain blanketed athletes and the course.


Photos: Mark Smiley


Tuesday brought better weather and the Vertical Race.  First across the line for Team USA was Morgan Fortin in the Cadet Girls field.  She was followed by Quinn Simmons in the Cadet Boys.  Simmons finished 9th in a strong performance following the previous days effort.  Henry Boyd and Henry Haines were next across the line in the Cadet Boys race in solid 17th and 18th place finishes.  The cadets covered 485 vertical meters during the race.  

The Senior Women and Men along with the Junior Boys started further down the mountain and had to cover 560 vertical meters to cross the finish.  Kristi Knecht of Flagstaff, AZ, started strong and finished even stronger passing five competitors along the final 300 feet to finish 15th with a time of 32:20.  Knecht led the US Women across the line with Janelle Smiley, Jessie Young and Nikki Larochelle following her in 20th, 25th and 28th respectively.  In the Senior Men’s race no one was able to keep up with Killian Jornet of Spain but American John Gaston, Aspen, CO, was not far off.  Gaston continued a great performance at these World’s by finishing in 11th place with a time of 25:49.  Not far behind him were Mike Foote, Eric Carter, Tom Goth and Cam Smith coming in 26th, 27th, 36th and 43rd.  Ian Clarke competed in the Junior Boys field and again raced strong in his first ever Vertical Race.


Photos: Mark Smiley


Wednesday brought the final day of competition.  Amidst bright sunshine the Team Relay played out with US Teams racing strong against the world’s best.  A mixed Cadet Girls, Cadet Boys and Junior Boys team saw Morgan Fortin, Ian Clarke and Quinn Simmons ski strong in icy morning conditions.  The Senior Women’s Team of Janelle Smiley, Najeeby Quinn and Jessie Young stayed with the lead pack for much of the race ultimately finishing in 8th place.  The Senior Men’s Team of Max Taam, Mike Foote, Rory Kelly and John Gaston played leapfrog with a few nations throughout the race before finishing in 8th.  The relay consisted of a 80 meter ascent, a 70 meter descent, a 85 meter ascent through the Sprint course and ending in a 85 meter descent.    


Photos: Mark Smiley


In the overall competition Italy was able to hold on to the top spot despite a strong performance by the Swiss on the final day.  Switzerland came in 2nd followed by France, Spain, Austria and then the USA.  Russia, Germany, and Andorra rounded out the top nine.

After eight days of elite competition, difficult conditions and trying weather Team USA is ready to relax, recoup and celebrate a great World Championships.  Team USA’s performance has caught the attention of all the nations competing here in Italy.  The 25 athletes that competed along with the staff and support crew of friends, families and spouses proudly represented USA Ski Mountaineering and is excited about a bright and successful future for USA Skimo.  

Click her for more great photos by Mark Smiley.

Go USA and Ski Uphill!


2/27/17 World Championships Update

We are half way through the world championships and everything is going great.  Team USA is in 5th place in the overall Nation Rankings!!!  This is the highest team USA has been in a world championships and we'll be fighting to the end. 

The individual and teams races we in a backcountry setting outside the town of Tambre.  The snow conditions have been a bit grim but the local organizing committee and the ISMF have done a great job at altering the courses to put on the races.  It's resulted in some technical races that have kept racers on point.

Photo Credit: Mark Smiley

More great photos by Mark Smiley

Below are the US athlete results for the Individual and Team races from the first three days of competition.

Individual Senior Men

John Gaston 15th

Eric Carter 26th

Tom Goth 36th

Mike Foote 46th

 Espior Men

Cam Smith 13th

 Individual Senior Women

Jesse Young 13th

Janelle Smiley 21st

Lindsay Plant 32nd

Nikki LaRochelle 36th

Individual Junior Men

Ian Clarke 23rd

Individual Cadet Men

Quinn Simmons 11th

Henry Hanes 16th

Henry Boyd 17th

Individual Cadet Women

Morgan Fortin 7th

Teams Senior Men

John Gaston / Max Taam 11th

Teague Holmes / Jon Brown 16th

Eric Carter / Tom Goth DNF (broken ski)

Scott Simmons / Paul Hamilton  DNF

Teams Senior Women

Janelle Smiley / Jessie Young 4th!

Lindsay Plant / Nikki LaRochelle 8th

Najeeby Quinn / Michela Adrian 9th

Kristi Knecht / Anne Gonzales 12th

Today we transferred to the Piancavallo ski resort / town, about an hour and a half to the east.  The setting here is more lively with people alpine skiing.  Athletes are previewing the sprint and vertical courses and preparing for the next few days of racing.

Up next is the Sprint race on Tuesday, followed by the Vertical on Wednesday, and the Relay on Thursday.  

Ciao for now!


Ski Mountaineering World Championship in Alpago-Piancavallo

The US National Team is headed to the Ski Mountaineering World Championship in Alpago-Piancavallo Italy next week.

The team of 25 athletes and 3 staff have begun making their way to Italy to represent the US at the highest level of the sport.

Event Website:

Get to know the US National Team:

Over the next week we'll continue to post pictures and information about the athletes and races.

Stay tuned and cheer on the USSMA Athletes!

2017 US National Champions

Senior Open Men: John Gaston

Senior Open Women: Kristi Knecht

Vet Men 45+: Mike Englehardt

Vet Women 45+: Andrea Koenig

U18 Men: Henry Hanes

U18 Women: Morgan Fortin

Senior Open Men: John Gaston

Senior Open Women: Jessie Young

Vet Men 45+: Jamie Kilcoyne

Vet Women 45+: Anne Gonzales

U18 Men: Henry Hanes

U18 Women: Morgan Fortin

Senior Open Men: John Gaston

Senior Open Women: Janelle Smiley

U23 College Men: Arthur Whitehead

U18 Men: Henry Hanes

Senior Open Men: John Gaston / Max Taam

Senior Open Women: Janelle Smiley / Jessie Young

CO-ED Open: Aisha Weinhold / Steve Denny


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