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SMARL Racing Action Returns for a 13th Year on the Slopes; Registration Now Open

Ski Country Sports team picture from last year.

By Nathan Ham

The popular Monday night Sugar Mountain Adult Racing League (SMARL) is back for another wild ride down the mountain for the 13th year of good times, cold beer and friendly competition.

Registration just began for a spot in the 2020 racing league which will begin on January 6 and takes place on six consecutive Mondays in January and February. Registration forms can be picked up in person at Ski Country Sports located at 3149 Tynecastle Highway in Banner Elk or give them a call at 828-898-9786 to register. The cost to join the league has remained the same for each of the 13 years at $40 per person.

“We will typically fill up by the first of December so if anybody is interested in signing up, now is the time. This is our 13th year and it has filled up every year,” said Bill Leonard, the owner of Ski Country Sports and founder of the racing league.

The popularity of the league has continued to grow, however, registration is cut off at 100 racers. Each team will consist of six to eight racers, either on skis or snowboards, and all racers must be at least 21 years of age and older since the league celebrates each night on the slopes with some delicious beer and food.

Teams can register or individual racers who do not have a team can sign up and be put on teams with others that did not register as part of a team.

“We certainly have a couple of teams every year of people that just want to go out there and race and have a good time,” said Leonard.

Having a good blend of repeat racers and newcomers has kept the league strong throughout its previous 12 years.

“It has been great to have all of these people coming back. Last year we had a couple of new teams out there and we anticipate some new teams this year. Unfortunately, after 13 years of doing this, some people are retiring from the Monday night race league,” added Leonard.

Food from area restaurants is brought in to provide dinner for the racers and there is even a big banquet at the final race to crown the champions while enjoying a tasty dinner provided by the foodservice experts at Sugar Mountain.

Races begin at 6:30 p.m. each week.

Pictures from last year’s opening night race season.