If you’ve been skiing or snowboarding for a long time you’ve likely attended, viewed or perhaps even participated in a competition on snow. Snowsports have evolved adding more dimension and variety for ways to play in the snow, and naturally events followed suit. Having worked in this industry for nearly two decades, I’m thrilled to have had a slopeside seat to this exciting period of growth and innovation in competition.
Here at Whitefish Mountain Resort our cutting edge Events Department lives to bring our community the same variety of competitions found in the Olympics and then some! Plus our events cater to the highly-competitive and to the never-tried-but-it-looks-so-fun-I-want-to-give-it-a-go crowd. Even if you do not participate, you may enjoy checking it out and cheering on the competitors.
Skimo Race League and the Whitefish Whiteout
Long before ski areas had chairlifts to carry us uphill, skiers found other ways to get there. Surely at some point one of those skiers looked at his buddy and asked with a smile, “Race you to the top?”
Skimo is short for “Ski Mountaineering” which involves skiers or snowboarders climbing up slopes and then skiing down, often in multiple stages over a set course. You may have noticed the popularity of “Uphill Skiing” at our resort, and for over a decade we’ve held an event known as the Whitefish Whiteout which will take place this year on Saturday, February 8. In preparation for this event we established the Skimo Wednesday Night Race League. This low-key racing event appeals to those training for the Whiteout as well as others new to the sport looking for fun and camaraderie. The series kicked off last Wednesday night and continues every Wednesday through February 5.
Biggie Banks Series, Whitefish Banked Slalom and Nate Chute Banked Slalom and Boardercross
One of the fastest growing competitions is a funky discipline known as a banked slalom. If you had a ski or snowboarding upbringing like mine, you likely developed a keen addiction for the worn trails through the trees—curvy courses with dips and jumps found on the side of runs. We used to call it “timberbashing” and who knew it would someday evolve to a competition, but it did!
We hosted our first banked slalom 20 years ago with the Nate Chute Banked Slalom and Boardercross, an event set this year for March 14-15 which we will share more info about later this season. In the meantime we’ve hosted a variety of banked events enhancing our natural terrain by sculpting berms and jumps to make an exciting ride for competitors. The Biggie Banks Series kicks off this Saturday, January 18 and is designed to give skiers and snowboarders who have never tried a banked slalom or skier/boardercross a fun way to check it out and maybe win prizes! There will be divisions for ages 5 and older. If you can’t make it this Saturday, join in on the fun February 22 and/or March 7.
For those with some experience on these courses, join us February 1 for the Whitefish Banked Slalom. More prizes and a $400 cash purse will be up for grabs. Plus, this is fun for anyone 21 and over who likes beer, Oregon-based 10 Barrel Brewing will be on hand with their Beercat! In the spirit of innovation, 10 Barrel built a brewpub out of a 1987 Spryte snowcat, which will be parked at the bottom of George’s Gorge to serve some of their fine brews during the event.
Tommy Moe Kids Race and Dual GS Race League
Alpine ski racing has deep roots on this mountain even pre-dating the establishment of our ski area. This dyed in the wool culture carries on in our youth through the Tommy Moe Kids Race League. Former Olympian Tommy Moe grew-up skiing here and went on to win gold and silver at the 1994 Winter Games. Today kids who aspire to race in the Olympics, as well as those who want to find out what racing is all about in a welcoming setting, this is the place! Races take place Sunday mornings and feature GS, Slalom and Dual GS events through February 2.
All you adults get your own league on Wednesday nights starting February 12 through March 4 with the Dual GS Race League. Come up and race under the lights then hang out at The Bierstube for a post-race party and raffle.
Presidents’ Day Weekend Rail Jam and Slopestyle, and Corn Cup Slopestyle
If you’ve been following our current local Olympian, Maggie Voisin then you know a little something about “Slopestyle.” Maggie was a young Phenom even in her days here on the Whitefish Freestyle Team. Our New Year’s Eve Rail Jam is already on the books and competitors are looking forward to a rematch on February 15. Then on February 16 we will host our first Slopestyle Event in the Whitefish Terrain Parks. Later, on March 21, the Corn Cup Slopestyle will serve as the freestyle season finale.
To register for these events, or just find more information for these events and MORE, visit our Events Calendar online at skiwhitefish.com/events.