Sunlight’s spring fling is the thing |

Sunlight’s spring fling is the thing

One family that participated in Sunlight’s annual spring games over the weekend know the secrets about what it takes to win the cardboard-derby race.

Bighorn Toyota co-hosted Sunlight’s weekend party called “Spring Thing.”

For the cardboard-box derby, contestants had to make a race vessel out of cardboard and duct tape and then complete two runs down the face of the Dotsero ski run.

“The key is to have it hold together,” said Jim Hoffman, who along with his wife, Terri, daughter, Hailey, and son, Colby, are serious sled makers.

While his wife and children hiked Dotsero, Hoffman, who’s a P.E. teacher at GSHS, provided commentary: “They’re making secret plans; gearing up; getting pre-flight info from mom. They’re hanging back, sizing up the competition.”

With mom in the back, and the kids in the front, they sped down in their aerodynamic sled called “The Rabbinator.” While mom made it down the first time without a wipeout, dad didn’t fare so well and may stick to the sidelines next year.

While most of the seven teams made it to the end, Glenwood middle-schooler Garrett Noel bailed out, grabbed a foot-long piece of cardboard and surfed across the finish line.

In the Need for Speed race, Manny Robles, Sunlight’s special events coordinator, used a radar gun to clock 23 skiers who raced down the face of the Joslin ski run separately at speeds that topped out at 69 mph. And while Joslin is a good run for a race, its proximity to the Primo lift makes it an embarrassing place to wreck, which, in the skiing world is called a “yard sale.”

It’s when when a skier falls and quickly becomes a human tumbleweed, which gives spectators the chance to pick the most amusing aspect about the wreck: the flailing arms, the runaway skis, the flying poles or the bruised ego. Speed had two yard sales this year, but the race’s youngest competitor, 7-year-old Zane Totty, wasn’t one of them. He was clocked at 59 mph.

When Trenton Butts tried to top his 51 mph first run, he launched off the bump, caught too much air and wrecked near the finish line, which produced instant insults from the lift: “Yard sale!”

Butts, who appears to be a fast, fearless skier, shrugged it off, and was more concerned about something else: “Nobody tell my mom I crashed,” he warned his friends.

According to Gerrit Rodgers, who clocked 55 mph, the secret is to tuck, point your skis and keep them wide, which is what Jasmine Vanthoff intends to do as she plans to defend her title as Speed’s fastest female. Totty is another to watch. He heads to Whistler, British Columbia, this summer for a ski clinic and plans to make a living out of racing.

Speed is just as important for the derby, the real secret is to figure out the precise formula of velocity, weight distribution and mass, which Lex Carter and the Hoffmans have mastered. Carter and her family will be back next year to fend off the Hoffmans, whose secret weapon is Terri, the mom. Not only is she a science teacher who knows how to build and guide a bobsled, with three other creative competitors in her nest, she just loves a good family event that shows who’s really the boss.

“Mommy went farther than Daddy; that’s all that counts,” she said.

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