A Local’s Perspective On The Annual Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge
As many ski resorts get ready to close for the season, here at Killington it feels like the party is just getting started as diehards and amateurs alike prepare for the Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge. In the days prior, some are seeking bumps to practice on, others are ironing out their tailgating plans, but whether planning to take part or spectate, anticipation for the weekend is high.
The moguls are on the iconic Outer Limits, that get deeper as the days 150 competitors ski them, nestled between two large jumps and surrounded by the many who come in costume, ready to cheer and tailgate. Competitors ski a qualifying run where the top 16 women and 32 men progress to finals, a sudden-death dual format with the first person through the finish line progressing into the next round, all with big airs and underdog upsets. Killington is still a bastion of mogul skiing, a community who loves to celebrate a competition where anything can happen. To such an extent that when the mountain decided they wouldn’t host the rowdy event anymore in 2012, bumpers hosted it anyway and titled it the “Denial Cup.” The next year the event returned, and recently the mountain acknowledged those winners by engraving their names onto the trophy that sits in Bear Mountain’s base lodge.
Even as skis have grown fatter, there are still quite a few skiers here who haven’t lost their skinny skis and look forward to the event all year long. I am one of them, and can already feel the competition day nerves, the nervousness of practicing mogul jumps that send you straight up into the air, the excitement at the starting gate, the rainbow colored crowd in vintage one pieces, all of it. A friend recently told me that I just needed to “pretend that no one was there” when competing this weekend (I agree!), but it’s an admittedly hard task to practice when the crowd is audacious, and the skiers around you are some of the best mogul skiers anywhere. Anyone can compete though, and competitors uphold that good sportsmanship, helping to support and cheer on others while waiting for their turn in the starting gate.
It’s hard to think of another event that is more of Killington and espouses just how much we love skiing here. Whether you are tuning your skis, seeking out the seeded bumps on Wildfire, or picking out your best eye-turning outerwear, prep work for Saturday continues for many. If you are considering attending your first Bear Mountain Challenge, whether to ski it or to see it, you won’t be disappointed and you will really know that you arrived at the Big K, where mogul skiing is still very much alive, well, and celebrated.
— Tricia Tirella, Basin Sports ambassador, Killington local and bump enthusiast