Bragging Rights – 5 Grassroots Ski events you should know about

underground ski events Grand Traverse Ski Race Crested Butte Aspen Colorado Image courtesy - Grand Traverse Race

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There’s nothing wrong with holding a contest, but what’s the reason for doing it? Is it for money or elevating a person to stardom? Is it for local bragging rights or a chance to bring the community and people together? Like anything, it comes down to the motivation. Here’s 5 underground ski events that do it for the right reasons: FUN!

5 Underground Ski Events

Silver Belt Series

Sugar Bowl, California
January – March 2018

Image courtesy – Sugar Bowl Resort

The historic Sugar Bowl “Silver Belt” race started back in the 1940’s. It was a slalom run, plummeting down steep terrain through gullies, cliffs and bumps. At the time, it was considered one of the most challenging races. With a nod towards the past but a foot into the present and in it’s 2nd year, the Silver Belt competition has evolved into a three part series:

D-Money’s Dozen

This race is aptly named after the World Champion, USA Olympic ski racer, Winter X-Games Skier-X Champion and local big mountain charger Daren Rahlves. Contestants ski/ride his favorite dozen runs on the slopes of Sugar Bowl Resort.

Quad Crusher

An endurance race staged across Sugar Bowl’s four iconic peaks. It’s a true backcountry enthusiast’s test for stamina, grit and determination while highlighting Sugar Bowl’s beauty and terrain variety.

Shred the Love Banked Slalom

The final event is in support of Boarding for Breast Cancer. Combining speed and style, participants weave their way through the banked slalom course, River Run Gully.

Those who complete all three events earn the coveted silver belt buckle.

Cold Smoke Powder Fest

undergound ski events whitewater mountain gear award
King & Queen of the Kootenays – Image courtesy – Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival

Whitewater, British Columbia
February 23-25, 2018

Whitewater Resort is located smack dab in the center of the Powder Highway… which means a TON of snow. The Kootenay Cold Smoke Powder Festival is a chance for locals and visitors alike to join together and celebrate all forms of powder play AND Kootenay mountain culture. The full weekend is packed with activities such as a film festival, randonnee rally, slopestyle contest and all things backcountry.

FISK Trophy Race

Woodstock, Vermont
February 2018

Fisk Trophy Race – Image courtesy – Woodstock Inn
Fisk Trophy – Image courtesy – Woodstock Inn

Looking for a competition with a bit of tradition? Then look no further than the Fisk Trophy Slalom Race at Suicide Six Ski Area. The race has been in existence since 1937 and is the oldest alpine trophy race in North America. In its 81st year, it proves to be the embodiment of why ski racing is so easy to love.

Grand Traverse

Crested Butte, Colorado
March 23-24, 2018

Once known as the Elks Mountain Grand Traverse, this is the marathon of ski races on the list. At midnight on Friday March 23rd, racers take off skinning by head lamp off into the unknown. Skinning, skiing, and traversing are all part of the 40+ miles to their destination: Aspen Colorado. With over 6,800 vertical feet climbed, this is not a race but an adventure. In its 21st edition, expect whiteouts, stream crossings and most of all variable conditions. This is A REAL backcountry experience!

underground ski events Grand Traverse Ski Race Crested Butte Aspen Colorado
From dawn til Dusk – The Grand Traverse Race is a test of stamina – Image by: Chris Mille – Courtesy of – Grand Traverse Race

8 Ball Rally

undergound ski events Eldo Bar Crested Butte Colorado
Eldo Bar the end of 8-Ball Rally – Image taken by: Beau Wade

Crested Butte, Colorado
Sometime in March 2018

This is the punk rock contest on the list. An unsanctioned competition, skiers meet at the top of Crested Butte. From there, the person who won last year’s event kicks things off by counting the race down and then it’s pure mayhem to the bottom! The literal bottom… the Eldo bar that is. Like a few of the races on the list, “Will it really happen? Will it not?” No one knows! But it if does, you better be there!

Like any great snow storm, all things must align for these races to go down. If they do, be sure to schedule your trips around them. It will be well worth it! We’ll continue to keep you posted on these races. And if you’re a snowboarder with an itch to compete, check out our 6 grassroots snowboard events list.

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