Q: Can I change my division?

A: Your division is your choice up until Friday March 22th. A division (bike, run, ski) must be confirmed by March 22th. 

Q: What sort of food and drinks will be available at the checkpoints?

A: There will be an assortment of food and drinks available at each checkpoint to replenish race participants. Each racer will be provided with one serving of something warm and tasty that is filled with plenty of carbs and protein, such as soup, gumbo, chili, baked potato with cheese, etc. There will also be cookies or brownies available. The checkpoint officials will have hot water for tea, instant coffee, and hot chocolate available at all times and some checkpoints will have Coke. 

Q: Are the White Mountains trails wide enough for skate skiing?

A: The trails are generally wide enough for skate skiing but there are sections that will be difficult or impossible to skate. This is especially true on some of the steep climbs or where the vegetation is tight. These sections can be walked but it is recommended to bring some kick wax, a cork, and a scraper along for some of the narrower portions of the trail. If there have been strong winds, drifting and/or fresh snow, skate skiing will be challenging. 

Q: Can I sleep at the checkpoints?

A: Yes. Each checkpoint has bunks and can accommodate a handful of racers. It is possible that some checkpoints will be congested and sleeping space may be tight. So, there is no guarantee that you will have ample space to sprawl out and sleep for many hours. If you are the type of person that can pass out sitting up, then you will greatly increase your sleeping options. 

Q: Will the White Mountains trails be groomed for the race?

A: The BLM maintains the trails and regularly grooms with a snowmachine and dragger. Trail conditions can change daily and even hourly if strong winds and or/snow is occurring. Some trails may go several weeks without getting groomed. So, there is no guarantee that trails will be freshly groomed for the race. This unknown is part of the adventure, right?

Q: Why is the race capped at 85 participants?

A: Our goal is to find the balance between having the WM100 while at the same time maintaining a low impact on the White Mountains trail system and other users. The checkpoint cabins are small, the trails are narrow, and other users recreating in the area have come to spend time in the wilderness. Additional racers would congest the trail system, require more volunteers, and ultimately result in increased traffic on the race course. We feel that 85 racers is the upper threshold we can safely accommodate while minimizing our presence in the recreation area.

Q: Do I have to provide my own SPOT Tracker?

A: Trackleaders (http://trackleaders.com/) will provide everyone with a SPOT tracker. There is no need to bring your own. You may carry your own device, but the provided Trackleaders SPOT must be carried as well. 

Some Skiing Advice / Tips From 3 Past Racers

Write-up From Steve, an 8 time ski racer of the White Mountains 100:

There have been years with virtually no ice and no overflow, years with lots of solid ice (frozen overflow) and some with significant amounts of wet overflow.

Everyone has different strategies for keeping feet dry and warm. I have had good luck layering first with thin socks, a vapor barrier (plastic bag), then warm socks over. This keeps the boot and outer socks relatively dry. The base sock gets wet/sweaty and I usually change them out for a dry pair just before dark (when it gets coldest) at either windy gap or Borealis cabins.

Overflow can be tricky or simple to deal with. Often the downhill side of the overflow is frozen and can be skirted. Never go around overflow on the uphill side of the trail, you'll get wet! The lakes are a different story. If water is flowing there is no possible way to avoid it. You gotta point em, go for it and accept your fate. There is an aid station at the bottom end of the lakes for changing wet socks. They also have hot water to pour on your bindings if they freeze up.

As for iced up bindings, I have used lock deicer with success. I think it's basically an alcohol solution. You can get it in a small spray bottle at Fred Meyer in Fairbanks. Not sure about Seattle. It's also important to carry a scraper to clean any ice buildup from your bases.

As for hands I bring three/four pair of gloves and mitts. Depending on the forecast, Some lighter pairs, but always at least one warm pair. I tend to have cold fingers, so being able to change into dry gloves is important for me.

Write-up From Drew, an 7 time ski racer of the White Mountains 100:

I would echo most all of Steve's comments only one exception regarding vapor barrier systems.  I've experimented with different vapor barrier systems and found that they eventually get my hands and feet wet and then I get very cold.  The result is that I have to some maintenance changing out wet layers on the trail which can be very challenging.  While some racers have gotten vapor barrier systems to work, I like use a single wool/synthetic sock with overboots and chemical foot warms.  Like Steve, I always bring spare socks and mittens.  The colder it is, the more spares I bring.

With regard to ski wax I've resorted to using multiple layers of Swix Green.  Its difficult to scrape off and doesn't produce the best glide when it's warmer, though its the only wax that is still on my skis after 100 miles and I'm of the opinion that any wax is better than none.  In warmer years I've mixed in some warmer waxes.

To prevent iced up bindings I've used a graphite lubricant for lock de-icing typically sold at a hardware store.  I've found it has good longevity and won't need to be reapplied during the race.  As Steve mentioned a wax scraper is very useful for scraping ice from skis and bindings.  I have iced up my bindings so bad on the ice lakes after going over the divide that I had to ski to Windy Gap Cabin where a hot cup of water was needed to free the boot from the binding.  I think many others have had the same experience.  For the really nasty sections of overflow on the course I've brought a pair of lightweight waders (Wiggies) with me.  While I think this is overkill for most years, it has given me the assurance I could wade through anything and keep my feet dry.

I always ski with a neck gaitor that I can pull down around my neck if it's warm and then pull over my face if its colder.  The gaitor always eventually gets wet so I bring a spare.  I like lighter weight buffs over the summer and into the fall, though for winter endurance races I've used a heavier, wind proof neck gaitor.

Write-up From Bob, also a long time veteran ski racer of the White Mountains 100:

Steve’s advice was pretty thorough, and there’s probably not much I can add that’s terribly different.

The forecast for race day can vary quite a bit, so projected temperatures are where I start with gear selection. A thin soft shell jacket, thin base layer top, and wind resistant pants are my baseline for daytime temperatures in the positive 20’s (F) and lows around zero. I’ll wear thin long underwear for after dark, and they serve me well for temperatures down to -20 as long as I keep moving. If it is going to be -20 or lower, I’ll sometimes wear a thin Holofil vest under my soft shell jacket.

I always carry insulated over boots, such as Tokos, especially when the temperature drops at night. Like Steve, I bring thin glove liners, moderately thin pile gloves, and a pair of medium weight mitts. A pair of chemical hand warmers are nice insurance if it gets colder in the valleys than expected. If I know it will be a cold night, I’ll drop them into my mitts as soon as the sun goes down. One thing I like that many other’s don’t is to wear surgical gloves as a vapor barrier so I don’t sweat-up my insulated gloves. Your hands are going to produce moisture as a matter of fact, and I’d rather have it against my skin like a wet suit, rather than compromising the insulation.

But weirdly, I don’t use a vapor barrier for my feet like others might. It just depends on how your hands and feet react to cold. For overflow, I go the non-technical route and use trash compactor bags as overboots in areas where there is likely to be unavoidable overflow (like the Ice Lakes), then take them off when I’m out of danger. You can step right into your bindings with them, and their advantage is that you aren’t at risk of soaking a boot if you submerge your foot. The down side is that they are a less-than-elegant, temporary solution, and not something you want to put a lot of miles in. But there are only a couple of spots on the course where you might not be able to find a dry route around. Overflow is always a crapshoot, though, so a pair of extra socks and grocery store bags are good to have in case you inadvertently soak a foot. The bags will keep the wet boots from soaking the dry socks and they weigh next to nothing.

For my head, I bring a Buff, a pile balaclava, and knit hat. I’m a big fan of Nose Hats, a locally-made device that covers just the nose and cheeks, but is the best thing I’ve found to wear that doesn’t fog my glasses, yet keeps my upper face warm down to negative double digits.

Most people racing the Whites do so competitively, so do not pack a sleeping bag or bivy. For the first half of the event, you will never be more than about 10 miles from a checkpoint, and for the second half where people run into more difficulties from overflow hazards and exhaustion, there are intermediate shelters staffed by event personnel that are about 7-10 miles apart, so you will never be more than about 5 miles from aid. But bonking from poor hydration or calorie management can happen to anybody, so when in doubt, puffy layers are probably a more practical solution to keep moving and getting to help, rather than bivying and waiting for it.

A small, light pack, is optimal. But experience or confidence in your abilities will dictate how small and light.

There are very few places to get off track or turned around. If you study the route ahead of time, you should be able to anticipate where the trail should lead you. GPS is good insurance, but probably unnecessary. 

I've tried hydration bladders with mixed success. Some people seemed to have figure out a system, but I prefer a Nalgene in an insulated sleeve strapped to my pack shoulder strap. It doesn't bounce or obstruct motion near as much as is looks like might. Plus, there is almost zero chance of failure.

As a seasoned endurance athlete, you know best what works for you in terms of nutrition, but freezing is an issue. Gels actually work, but you have to push them out like viscous toothpaste. If you can store bars next to your skin, they are fine, or maybe cut them into bit-sized chunks and carry them in a bag. I eat a lot of chocolate, crackers, chips, and nuts that I can just shove in my mouth and move on. I've recently been trying roasted coconut chips and like them a lot so far. 

Overflow can change by the hour, but the magnitude is more predictable. In other words if the Ice Lakes are wet, they are probably going to be wet for everybody. We count on the RD to give us the scoop at the pre-race meeting, and hope it doesn't change by the next day!

One thing I'm a fan of is to wear a small fanny pack backwards so I have easy access to things I'll need to get to often without having to take off my pack, like a change of headwear, gloves, scraper, hand warmers, and snacks. I wear a chalk bag strapped to my shoulder strap for snacks as well. Like the water bottle, it looks pretty cumbersome, but I find that it doesn't get in the way.