Shred Ready

It’s racing season on the Southern Slopes

Ski and Snowboard Comps in the South

Breakneck speed or big air? The ski and snowboard racing scene in the South can satisfy both. Whether you’re looking to navigate the gates down a slalom course or huck off a ledge in the terrain park, regional resorts are offering plenty of head-to-head action this season.

Cataloochee Challenge Cup Ski Race Series
Maggie Valley, N.C. • January 10 – March 7  

On Thursday nights, Maggie Valley is the place to be for the Cataloochee Challenge Cup Race Series. Adults 21 and over can hit the hill every Thursday at 7:30pm to race against the clock on a giant slalom or slalom course for the best of two runs. Racing slots only cost 10 bucks, and a post-race party goes down after the action.

USSA Slalom and Giant Slalom Competition  
Sugar Mountain Resort, N.C. • January 26-27 

A crew of United States Ski Association racers will head to Sugar—a High Country resort with 1,200 feet of vertical drop—and weave in and out of the gates for a long weekend of competition in both slalom and giant slalom. All participants must be licensed USSA racers.

Freestyle Double Cross 
Wintergreen Resort, Va. • January 27, February 10 and 23  

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. 

Wintergreen Terrain Park Series
Wintergreen Resort, Va. • January 20, February
3, 20 and March 3, 9

This series is composed of two rail jams (January 20 and March 9) and three slopestyle comps (February 3 and 20 and March 3), so you’ll have plenty of chances to get your tricks dialed at Wintergreen’s terrain park. Show off your moves on a mix of obstacles, including jumps, rails, and boxes. Judges will be standing by to notch scorecards for difficulty of trick, difficulty of feature, creativity, and consistency. Prizes are awarded during individual events, and a grand prize is up for grabs for competitors who participate in three out of five events. 

Cupp Run Challenge 
Snowshoe Mountain Resort, W.Va.  • February 4

Every year ski racers feeling the need for speed flock to Snowshoe from all over the East Coast to test their skills on the gnarly downhill slalom course on Cupp Run—an epic black diamond run designed by Olympian Jean-Claude Killy that drops more than 1,500 vertical feet in a little over a mile. Big prize money is awarded in pro and amateur divisions.

The Maryland Open  
Wisp Resort, Md. • February 23

Get your moves in check, because the competition at Wisp will be stout. This high-profile event crowns the top freestyle skier and rider in the Mid-Atlantic. Competitors head to the resort’s pro park at the base of Face to drop their best moves in three categories—slopestyle, big air, and terrain park—as they’re judged on style and amplitude. 

Recess Wreck Less Rail Jam  
Appalachian Ski Mountain, N.C. • March 2  

This one is not for newbies. There’s no other way to put it. Fast becoming a tradition among App’s big air ballers, the Wreck Less Rail Jam gives intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders each 45 minutes to hit the rails and show off their best tricks. Then the finals get interesting with a game of SHRED—just like the old school basketball game of HORSE with snowboard tricks in place of hoops. If you can’t land the trick determined by roll of the dice, you get a letter. The last rider standing is eligible for cash, prizes, and serious bragging rights in the High Country freestyle scene.

Grom Jam   
Snowshoe Mountain Resort, W.Va. • March 30

Is your little one starting to get brave on the features? Bring aspiring air dogs to Snowshoe’s Mountain Parks for some free on-hill coaching and an informal rail jam on Skidder, near the village. Held during the last weekend of the season, the kid-friendly event will lead into the resort’s Last Hurrah party.

Run in the snow

The dedicated ultra addicts of the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners don’t like to slow down in the winter, so every year they host a 5K Snowshoe Run at the Whitegrass Touring Center in the Canaan Valley near Davis, usually during the third weekend of January. Runners huff it for three miles on a loop course created on Whitegrass’s cross-country ski trails. At an area that receives 200 inches of snow every year, competitors could find themselves pushing through some serious powder. If you don’t own snowshoes, no worries. Whitegrass offers cheap rentals.

Elsewhere in the South, Beech Mountain in the North Carolina High Country holds the only regional event in the United States Snowshoe Association’s National Championship Series on January 12.

Places to Go, Things to See: