This past weekend Park City hosted its first Big Mountain Battle. Men and women, young and old, skiers and snowboarders came out in teams of two to see who could be crowned King of the Mountain. Teams were given a list of checkpoints, lifts and runs they must cover, in any order, before crossing the finish line. Checkpoints and routes were tracked with Flaik GPS wristbands to verify that everything was completed by both members of the team and fastest time was crowned the winner.
Participants began at the top of Bonanza, behind Summit House, and literally started the race off and running. As event organizers counted down the start, competitors had to run uphill, around the first checkpoint, then back down to their skis or snowboards, strap or click in, then begin their race around the mountain. Many of the teams chose to get the hike portion of the race finished early. Some teams hiked from the top of McConkeys to Jupiter peak and dropped in on the face, while others had a different strategy of hike to the top and ski back down the ridgeline to head towards Tycoon. Some checkpoints were placed in the trees and forced competitors to slow down and search. One such checkpoint was on Carbide Cut, where some skiers zoomed right past and had to backtrack to the checkpoint.
I enjoyed zipping around the mountain and watching this event unfold. There were mother and son teams who explored the mountain together and picked their routes on the go, trail map in hand. There were twenty year old guys who had been scouting their route for weeks. Then there were those who had had signed up last minute and were up for the challenge. Believe it or not, the winners of the advanced division, planned their route at 9:30 am that day, when the event kicked off at 10:30 am. Also impressive is how many competitors from the Big Mountain Battle went on to compete in the Transworld TransAM freestyle snowboarding event later that afternoon.
All in all, the first Big Mountain Battle was a huge success. From the number of participants, to the excitement as teams found each checkpoint, I think everyone who was a part of the event would say it was a great day! I saw more prizes raffled off at the awards ceremony than any other event this year. At the end of the day, it seemed everyone walked away a winner.
1. David Wintzer and Thomas Nutting: "Surefoot Deer Valley" 2. Brett Peretti and Jill Johnson: "Tower 13 Miners" 3. James Doilney and Jeff Jacobs: "The Corner Store"
Advanced 12 and Under
1. Shane and John Cumming: "Ofeelya Bumps" 2. Toby and Jay Burke: "Hair Dogs" 3. Amanda and Rob Parry: "Team Parry"
1. Jacob Ball and Ben Schloesser: "Team Avalanche" 2. Nicholas Ondrejka and Judy Mckie: "Norfolk Bombers" 3. Isabel Rebeck and Emma Stevens: "Sierra Wireless"
*Intermediate 12 and Under
1. Christian and Caden Gennerman: "G Men of Doom" 2. Cameron Iacobeli and Stefan Brennwald: "Little Rippers" 3. Colter Frey and Graham Frey "Frey Guys" Big Mountain Battle’s Fastest Hike: Eric Cylvick “Zip Riders”
* The new standings in this category reflect accurate times and placement of the teams in this division. The event organizers want to offer their sincere apologies for the confusion and miscalculations of the Intermediate 12 and Under Division.
Originally from the Pocono’s of Pennsylvania, Travis found his way to Park City three years ago and is now our grooming manager. When not in snowcat you can find him skiing or snowmobiling in the Utah backcountry or enjoying the skiing here at Park City Mountain Resort.