SMARL Begins 13th Winter Competition With ‘Awesome’ Conditions at Sugar Mountain

Published Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 3:09 pm


By Jesse Wood

The first weekly competition in the Sugar Mountain Adult Race League (SMARL) took place last night with Team Sugar, Banner Elk Café and Ski Country tied for first place with 20 points in the skiing column.

In the snowboard competition, Edge of the World edged out Sugar Ski School and Modern Rustic with 10 points.

This is now the 13th season of SMARL, which is described as an underground beer league for local skiers and snowboarders. The competition is held on Mondays and is six weeks long, held in January and February.

The event, which has a capacity of 100 and hardly much turnover year to year, sells out quickly usually around Thanksgiving time – without the benefits of advertising. But this year, SMARL sold out within the first week of November, according to Bill Leonard of Ski Country Sports, one of the sponsors of SMARL.

“It’s nice having that consistency and camaraderie and everyone has a good time doing it,” Leonard said. “We had a 100 people out there the first night and had a really good turnout.”

As for the conditions at Sugar Mountain Resort last night, Leonard said it was a tad chilly but the “skiing was awesome.” He had great things to say about what Sugar Mountain Resort has been able to accomplish with little natural snow to fall so far this winter.

“The snow was great. Sugar has put down an awful lot of snow. They have a 50-inch base, and the skiing was great,” Leonard said. “It was a little chilly, but the skiing was awesome. That’s the best part about it, and Sugar is still making snow all over the mountain.”

Since the ski season began, which is normally around the Thanksgiving holiday, only about three inches of combined snow has fallen atop Sugar Mountain during three separate snow events in the past month.

Once the New Year arrived, the weather pattern turned colder, and Leonard added that he hopes “it just sticks for a while longer” – especially with MLK Weekend, one of the busy ski holidays, on the horizon.

“The slopes are in good shape. Beech, App and Sugar are all making a ton of snow,” Leonard said. “A little cosmetic snow would be the capper now to get people up here.”

Check out more photos from the first competition below as well as the results and team standings.

MNARL Team Standings race the gate results

TEAM 12_0089


TEAM 11_0085

Sugar Ski School

TEAM 10_0082

Modern Rustic

TEAM 9_0068

Azucar Amigos

TEAM 8_0057

High Country Tap Room

TEAM 7_0054

Good Ole Boys

TEAM 6_0050

Appalachian Ski Team

TEAM 5a_0090

Edge of the World

TEAM 4_0024

Banner Elk Cafe

TEAM 3_0019

Ski Country D

TEAM 2_0013

Ski Country A

TEAM 1_0007

Team Sugar


Susan Leonard at her post getting the teams lined up and in order for their turn on the course.

SCENE 5_0111

Skier at the starting gate

SCENE 4_0099

Racer on the course

SCENE 3_0077

Snowboarding at the gate

SCENE 2_0063

Racers waiting their turn to race


Mark Russ of Team Ski Country Sports sporting his winter mustache


Chris Austin of Team The Lodge back for another year of racing.

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