Ever wondered how much vertical you could ski in a day?
Friday, March 7, will be an excellent day to find out. On that day the chairlifts at Sunlight Mountain Resort will run from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., a solid 10 hours. The occasion is the third annual Defiance Challenge, a contest that dares participants to ski as many laps as possible on Sunlight’s advanced and expert trails.
“It’s all black-diamond or double diamond runs, with some steep, open bowl skiing and some tight glade skiing,” said Sunlight patroller and event coordinator Mike Baumli.
The Challenge is open to expert skiers and riders ages 6 and up, and Baumli says roughly half the participants are under the age of 18. Participation has grown over the years, from 11 teams in 2012 to 21 in 2013.
The Defiance Challenge is a competition but not exactly a race. At the sound of a bomb on the double-diamond East Ridge, teams of two individuals sprint 50 yards up the hill, fetch their skis or snowboards and catch the Segundo chair for their first lap. From there, it’s a matter of how many laps each team can complete in 10 hours.
Registration costs $125 per team till Feb. 14, when the price jumps to $150. The fee includes a post-event party and walleye fish fry, an event hat and T-shirt. The Johnny Kongo All-Star Show will provide live music, and the bar will be open. To sign up, go to sunlightskipatrol.com and click on the Defiance Challenge link. Or, if you’re up at Sunlight, grab a registration form at patrol headquarters on top of the mountain or the First Aid Room at the bottom.
“Fundraisers like Defiance Challenge enable us to maintain high-quality training, to buy medical equipment and to maintain our radios and toboggans,” said Michelle Eisenring, director of the volunteer patrol.
Proceeds from the Challenge are split between the Sunlight Volunteer Ski Patrol and the families of fallen patrollers. Last year half of the money raised went to the family of Mark Gage, a Loveland patroller who died of a heart attack while mountain biking in August 2012.