Down the Mountain

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Hit the Slopes: This month ski and snowboard races are plentiful in the Blue Ridge.

Grab some wax, tighten your goggles, and pin on a race bib. Whether you’re into big air or scorching downhill speed, the Southern slopes are ripe for unleashing your competitive side. From freestyle trick duals to tenths-of-a-second determined slalom runs, regional resorts have the snow comp for you.

Crescent Ski Council Slalom and Giant Slalom Race
Sugar Mountain • January 7-8
The nationally lauded Crescent Ski Council, which comprises 22 ski clubs and nearly 5,000 members throughout the Southeast, hosts a series of two-day races throughout ski season, held at resorts in North Carolina and West Virginia. The races feature slalom runs on Saturday and giant slalom runs on Sunday with approximately 200 racers who are divided into two divisions with 10 flights each, based on a predetermined handicap. Additional races in the series take place at North Carolina’s Appalachian Ski Mountain on January 28-29, a return to Sugar on February 11-12, and Beech Mountain on February 25-26. The final event takes place in the Silver Creek area of Snowshoe Mountain on March 9-11.

Winterfest Weekend
Beech Mountain, N.C. • January 7-8
Every year Beech throws a High Country snow party that’s full of irreverent fun like the Cardboard Box Derby and a Bathing Beauty Ski Contest. The real action will take place among the free-heelers at the weekend’s Telemark Festival and the N.C. Championship Snowshoe Race, a qualifier race for the 2012 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships.

Ryan Lichtenberg Memorial Rail Jam
Liberty Mountain, Pa. • January 22
Bring your best moves to Liberty Mountain for a rail jam to honor a fallen friend. The action takes place in the hardcore Lower Vertigo section of Liberty’s terrain park, where riders will land tricks on a range of killer boxes, big jumps, and rails. Ryan Lichtenberg was a former Liberty employee who died after sustaining a head injury while snowboarding in Colorado. A big part of the jam is promoting helmet safety awareness.

Freestyle Double Cross
Wintergreen Resort, Va. • January 29, February 12 and 25
Strap into your board or click in to your skis and get ready for the fast-paced action of double cross. Four racers launch out of the starting gate at once, tightly fighting for space and aggressively rubbing elbows through a course of table tops, jumps, and whoop-de-doos. The top two then advance to the next round, until one winner is left. Racers can accumulate points for an overall series win.

Cupp Run Challenge
Snowshoe Mountain, W.Va. • February 6
If you feel the need for speed, Cupp Run is the most satisfying run in the South. Ski racers from all over the East Coast come to Snowshoe for the gnarly downhill slalom course on Cupp—an epic slope that covers more than 1,500 vertical feet in a little over a mile. Big prize money is awarded in pro and amateur divisions.

Shred for the Cup Series
Appalachian Ski Mountain, N.C. • January 22, February 11 and 26
There are three chances to show off your park prowess. It starts with Big Air, which features some of the High Country’s hard core riders getting seriously vertical, as they spin off curved rails and huck 720s off bomber jumps. The series then continues with a rail jam and finishes with the dynamic spins and flips of slopestyle. Overall series winners in three categories take home the coveted Cup.

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