Racers hit the slopes for Jackson's 32nd annual Town Downhill
Skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes Sunday afternoon for the 32nd annual Town Downhill at Snow King Mountain in Jackson.
After Saturday's races were postponed, Sunday got off to a slow start. Almost 2 feet of snow left Snow King's course less than ideal, so organizers delayed the races for two hours while the course was groomed.
The Town Downhill is organized by the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club, and it expected anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people Sunday.
"We've got all types of really great food, and amazing music - we've got two bands lined up," said the ski club's Executive Director Carrie Boynton. "We've got 120 starts on the downhill, so we're going to have folks from age 12 and 13, all the way up to their 70s."
With such a wide spectrum of skiers, the Town Downhill offers 10 divisions for professionals, amateurs, and even first-timers.
"This is the highlight of the alpine skiing community here in Jackson," said sponsor Rick Hunt.
Hunt, whom usually competes, but was sidelined by an injury, said skiers would be hard-pressed to find a race like this anywhere else.
"It's a combination of pro and amateur, it's not sanctioned by anybody," said Hunt. "It's just a pure town downhill."
Sunday was Jackson Native Jamie Mackay's 18th Town Downhill. He said racing in it is like a rite of passage in the valley.
"Younger kids look up to older racers that actually want to ski race and aspire to do that, so it's important event to kind of continue and perpetuate ski racing," said Mackay.
Marika Hanson, 14, skied in her 3rd Town Downhill. She races regularly, but despite her competitive nature, Hanson said the event is more about celebrating skiing with the community she was born and raised in.
"We're a considerably small town, but we're such a ski town," said Hanson. "It's such a part of our culture, really."
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