By Madison Fisler Lewis
Jan. 30, 2015. If you’re speedy on skis or on a snowboard, head on out to Appalachian Ski Mtn on Jan. 31 and Feb. 28 for a spectacular downhill racing event with a twist.
Appalachian Ski Mountain will host Skier/Boarder X, a timed downhill competition that brings athletes back to the early days of the sports. This Boarder/Skier X is open to anyone interested and all funds raised will go to support the Appalachian Jr. Race Team at Appalachian Ski Mtn. and the Appalachian Snowboard Club.
“App Ski reached out to me to help them get back into doing boarder cross events. We used to do races like this a lot in the 90s and early 2000s, but interest kind of waned and it turned into more of a freestyle sport. We are trying to bring racing back.”
McDaniels likened these events to BMX.
“It is more akin to BMX and motocross if anything,” he said. “Boardercross and skiercross are actually Olympic sports. Snowboarding in particular has gravitated to just doing tricks and sliding on rails. Skiercross and bordercross requires you to be a better all around rider. You are tapping into an all-mountain riding style.”
The event will be structured into heats with many different age groups for both skiers and snowboarders.
“The first thing we will do is timed trails,” McDaniel said. “That will seed the field. Then we will split up the fastest riders so they aren’t in the heats together. Then it boils down to a round robin tournament, where the top two advance from each heat.”
During each heat, four athletes at a time will race down the mountain, similar to a downhill ski course, but with features along the way including rollers, banked turns and jumps. At the end, medals will be given out to the overall winners, as well as prizes donated by event sponsors.
Age divisions for skiers and snowboarders include ages 9 and younger, 10-13, 14-17, 18-39, 40+ (masters) and open advanced. Helmets are required for all athletes.
“We are trying to keep the course so that it is good for all intermediate-level riders,” McDaniel said. “We will have people of all ages, even some guys out there in their 50s who were the first generation of snowboarders!”
Registration for the Skier/Boarder X event will begin on site in the Snow Cloud Room between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. on race days. Registration fee is just $12 per person, and racing starts at noon for both skiers and snowboarders.
Though this event is unique to many young skiers and snowboarders, the skier/boardercross events are something that McDaniel hopes catches on once again.
“When a lot of kids first start out, they are really intimidated because they don’t want to hit that huge jump, but they definitely want to race with their buddies,” he said. “This is about bringing that back and the Olympics has made this style of competition popular again. It is a much more fun thing to watch than a slope style event. It is action packed – you will see people racing and wipe outs and kids passing from behind. This has that racing element that the sport has lacked for a while.”
For more information about the skier/bordercross event, click here.