Tuesday, March 05, 2013

SkierCross at Canyons

This past weekend, I went over to see the SkierCross competition at Canyons.  I wanted to see the BoarderCross competition the next day, but I had to be in a Hawk Nest Inventory class in Salt Lake. Yes, that is a bit odd, but I hope to have some great raptor pictures this summer.

If you haven't seen SkierCross before, it involves a set of four skiers who simultaneously ski down a race course full of jumps and big turns.  As you might imagine, skiing this close together at high speed gets exciting.
I'll start this off by saying that I probably won't go back to one of these at Canyons resort.  The reason is that they lay the course out so that it is exciting for the competitors but horrific for the spectators.  They honestly want everyone to gather at the bottom, watch the last 100 yards, and witness the rest on a big screen TV.  Yuck!  Deer Valley hosted one of these competitions a few years ago and it was 1000% more spectator friendly. Poorly done Canyons!
I would love to try to run the course, although slowly and without three other skiers.  The banked turns seem like a blast.
There are a lot of jumps but you can see that the skiers do everything they can to avoid spending a lot of time flying through the air.  The suck their knees to their chests as they hit the jumps to minimize the upward launch.
The race actually got off to a very slow start.  The last person doing a practice run came down in a sled.  In the first heat, two of the four competitors wrecked.  They both came down in sleds and left in ambulances.  From what I heard on the radio, one was unconscious and having convulsions. Perhaps the course wasn't good for the competitors either?  It seemed to settle down as time went on and I think we only lost one more athlete.
Sometimes when a skier takes a fall, they don't get hurt.
Well, her pride got hurt.  She was leading her heat and that blue line in front of her?  That's the finish.  She came in fourth.
If it seems like I am shooting the same four people in every picture, I am not.  Every heat they don jerseys so that there is a red, blue, green and yellow skier.
See how similar this looks?  Notice that they are now in a different order and some helmets have changed color.
It was a gorgeous day to be outside and I got a bit of skiing in.  Just the same, I won't be heading back to watch one of these unless Canyons figures out how to let people watch on course.  This is the same resort who builds incredible layered "snow stands" for the thousands of people who come out to watch each year's Pond Skimming.  Perhaps the two parts of the resort team should get together one day and chat.
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