Breck GoPro Challenge: Rider vs. xtreme terrain
If you’ve gazed up at the extreme terrain on Peak 6 and wondered what it’s like to drop off that cornice and navigate those rock bands, the routes don’t get more intense than at the GoPro Big Mountain Challenge.
The rugged terrain – some of the steepest in the nation – provides the obstacles as skiers and snowboarders are judged by their choice of line over cliffs, rock outcroppings and gulleys from the very top ridge of Peak 6’s Six Senses terrain. Some riders launch into their run with a flying leap off of the cornice followed by tricky footwork through the rocks while others throw big moves on the way down, hucking 360s off of cliffs, landing switch and keeping it together for the next terrain challenge.
Scoring is based not only on the gnarly choice of line but also on the athlete’s fluidity, style and control from top to bottom. There is no stopping and no time to recover. In many ways, this makes big mountain competition the ultimate test of a skier or rider’s rawest talent. Competitors must think fast, either spontaneously tossing a spin or a spread eagle off a cliff or flailing madly when suddenly realizing the leap leads to more airtime than expected. Complete yard sales – skis, poles and GoPro cameras exploding everywhere – are not uncommon, nor is a wayward turn or jump that transforms a competitor into a human snowball in which the tumbling doesn’t stop until the terrain flattens out. Oh and get this … all of the hardcore skiers and riders that do this thing are kids. There are about 200 registered – local Team Summit athletes and young rippers from mountain regions throughout the country, all between the ages of 12 and 18.
The wildness of the display is hypnotizing and the energy contagious. The spectacle from the viewing area on Peak 6 is enhanced by play-by-play commentary, thumping tunes and wafts of barbecue aromas. It’s like high alpine tailgating. Viewers get to take in the panorama of the whole top-to-bottom gig, and because most competitors are wearing GoPros, you can get a taste of every turn of the action, heavy breathing and all … to the point that you may find your own guts in your throat. Expect to partake in some raucous “oohs” and “ahhs.”
Catch the fourth annual International Freeskiers & Snowboard Association GoPro Big Mountain Challenge event March 18-19 at Peak 6. Go here for more information.