Guest Author - Carol Viau
Snowmobile races take part all over the country, and one of the last events of the winter season takes place in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This will be the 34th year of the World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb. The race takes place at Snow King Mountain.
Snow King is a ski area, but closes for the season just prior to the World Championship Hill Climb race. A ski lift runs directly over the hill climb course, and people can ride the lift for a fee. Folks can even hike down along the side of the course to watch, but it is steep enough that it can be difficult just to maintain your footing.
The first round begins Thursday, March 16th at 10:00am. The entire event lasts four days due to the large number of race divisions, which include juniors, womenís, semi-pro, amateurs, and mod classes.
Snow King Mountain is just minutes (on foot) from the center of Jackson. The 1,500 ft. vertical rise is visible from any direction in town. The course itself is that entire length, and near the top reaches almost 45 degrees. It is common for hill climbers to lose their traction while on course, and the consequences are unforgiving. If the safety crew cannot catch the rider or snowmobile, both will tumble down the mountain.
The safety crew consists of veteran snowmobilers who are large in size. It takes a great amount of strength, luck, and quick reflexes to tackle a tumbling snowmobile or rider. These folks stand by at different points along the side of the course, to assist when they can.
Approximately 10,000 spectators observe this event and the race sponsors provide a JumboTron at the base of the hill climb so everyone can see. Here you will also find food and beer available, as well as vendor and merchandise tents.
Spectators are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs, sunglasses, sunscreen, cash (no ATMís on the hill) and extra clothes in case the weather is chilly. Dogs, coolers, and packaged alcohol are not allowed at the event.
The town of Jackson offers many fine restaurants, a plethora of nightlife in the local bars, shopping and plenty of things to do and see for those looking to take a break from watching the races. Be forewarned though, you will definitely hear the roar of the snowmobiles all day in town.
Whether itís your first or 10th time watching, the World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb is fun for all!