If you’ve ever ridden the Kensho Super Chair to the top of Peak 6, you’ve seen the Six Senses. Just look for the gnarly cliff bands to looker’s left of the chair and you’ve found them. And if you’re heart beats a little faster when you think about hucking the cliffs or making tight turns in narrow chutes, just imagine the pressure of descending during a competition. Intrigued? Well, mark your calendars: On March 18 and 19, it’s big, it’s extreme – it’s the GoPro Big Mountain Challenge, and it’s coming to Breckenridge Ski Resort.
What is the GoPro Big Mountain Challenge?
A big-mountain competition for some of the most amazing junior skiers and riders in the Rocky Mountain region, Breck has hosted the GoPro Big Mountain Challenge since 2014. The event is sanctioned by the International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association, which sets judging standards for events like this. Competitors in the GoPro Big Mountain Challenge range from 12 – 18 years old, but don’t let their ages fool you – these athletes are expert skiers and riders who deftly jump off cliffs and make it look easy. Many of them have been training for years, often through local ski clubs, like Team Summit Colorado or Team Breckenridge.
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The sport of freeskiing and riding is just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge. Many factors play into putting together an epic run – from the difficulty of the line to the execution to the intense pressure to stomp features with style while maintaining fluidity and control. Week after week in the winter, these athletes practice skills that prepare them for competitions like the GoPro Big Mountain Challenge. Their coaches introduce them to the steepest, most challenging terrain they can handle, and they spend hours honing their techniques.
To get an idea for what it’s like to be a Big Mountain Challenge competitor, picture yourself on the most extreme terrain you can handle. Now, imagine what it would take to ski it the best you possibly can, throwing in a trick or two, with a crowd at the bottom watching your every move. You get only one qualifying run and only one final run. And if your execution is good enough, you’ll move on to national-level competition. No pressure, right?
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How to Watch
If you’ve never experienced a big-mountain competition in person, or if you’d like to get some ideas for new lines to try out, head to the bottom of the Six Senses bowl March 18 and 19. The event starts at 10 AM and will last until about 3 PM. There will be a finish corral where spectators can hang out and cheer on Breck’s incredible local talent. Afterwards, channel the spirit of the competition during the rest of your time at Breck. Even if you’re not ready to drop cliffs or navigate extreme terrain, challenge yourself to ski and ride with style, ease, confidence and control.
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