Meet the Skimo Racer - Janelle Smiley

Birthplace:  Aspen, CO

Current hometown and mountain range: Crested Butte, CO

If you were not born in the mountains, what drew you to them or enabled you to move to there:Born and trapped, I will never leave.

Age when you started skiing: 3-ish

Number of years you have been skiing: Do I count my free-heal’in days? 28 years

How long have you been skimo racing: Going on 7 years

How did you get into skimo racing: I had a telemark setup, and the COSMIC series started, so I thought it would be fun to give racing a try, I was hooked.

Was there a moment of realization that helped you step it up to the next level of competition: I was fired, evicted, and lost all my friends, so I decided to move France for the winter. Ok, that’s not all true, but opportunities did present themselves to train and race in Europe so now it’s really time to step it up. I still have friends, sometimes a home, and I’m looking for a job.

What is your favorite thing about skimo racing:  I am on skis and I get to go fast.

What is your favorite skimo race: The Mt. Crested Butte Race, great exposure and real mountaineering

What is your most memorable skimo moment:  Giving my cramping legs a pep talk on the last climb to win the National Championship

What do you do to keep in shape for skimo racing in the off-season:  Climb lots of Classic Mountains around North America and run

What is your favorite non-skimo sport of hobby: I was not aware there were other sports… alpine and rock climbing, Mt. biking, running

Skimo race wins:

  • 2010 Elk Mountain Grand Traverse – coed
  • 2011 National Champion
  • 2012 North American Championship
  • 2012 Elk Mountain Grand Traverse – coed
  • 2013 US National Champion
  • …and other COMIC Races…

Skimo race you have not done that you would really like to do: Pierra Menta in France and the Mezzalama in Italy.

Preference of skimo race format (technical vs. non-technical; in-bounds vs. backcountry; etc):   Love them all, except sprints hurt a little too much

Preferred skimo gear (skis, bindings, skins, boots, pack, etc.): La Sportiva RSR ski/bindings/skins and Stratos ski Boots and CAMP accessories

Favorite piece of skimo gear: La Sportiva Stratos EVO

Best skimo training tip: Don’t over do it, and keep the adventures alive

Best advice for beginner skimo racers: Find a nice racer who will mentor you and do whatever they tell you

Skimo race nutrition preference: Honey Stinger Chews and Power Bar Blasts and Clif Gels

Favorite post race beverage: Green Smoothie or beer whatever is closer

Personal website/blog: and