Ski Sundown's "Satan's Stairway" Challenges Skiers in Annual Mogul Competition
Friday marked the first day of spring, but for Connecticut ski areas, winter lives on, at least for a few more weeks.
New Hartford's Ski Sundown celebrates spring with annual Moguls, Money and Malarkey Bump Comp. Mogul racers will compete for $3,000 in cash prizes, and face an extra challenge this year: Satan's Stairway, Ski Sundown's newest trail, which they describe as "the steepest bump run in Southern New England."
I spoke with Robert Switzgable, Ski Sundown’s owner and General Manager about this year's Mogul Competition.
WNPR's Ray Hardman: For the ski–impaired, what are moguls?
Robert Switzgable: Moguls are bumps in the terrain that form naturally from skiers turning in the snow. Because the act of skiing is a series of linked turns, moguls form together to create a bump field. We speed up the process at Ski Sundown by grooming them ourselves
How do the judges score mogul racers? Is it all about the best time?
Time is one factor. Judges score on air (going off a jump), style, and speed on a scale of one to ten. Each competitor takes a qualifying run and the score of this first run determines each skiers position for seeding. The top 32 participants are placed in a head-to-head bracketing system (think NCAA), and the winner of each bracket continues to compete until they are knocked out of a round. You can imagine how much excitement builds up for the final round in each category, and how grueling the competition has been for the skiers who make it to the finals. Categories are “Under Age 18,” “Men Age 18+,” “Women Age 18+” and a Consolation round.
This year’s competition will be quite different, because you have a brand new mogul run?
Yes, the competition will be held on our new expert trail, Satan’s Stairway. It will be a little more challenging than Gunbarrel, another of our expert trails that has hosted past mogul competitions. Satan’s Stairway has a classic New England cut, and it is ideally suited for bumps. “Moguls, Money & Malarkey” is a great opportunity to show off the new trail. When was Satan’s Stairway created? The trail was constructed over the summer of 2014 and we opened it this season. It was bumped up with moguls as soon as the right conditions presented themselves, and has been a nice, challenging trail to add to our variety of terrain. It is arguable the steepest trail in Southern New England with the longest top-to-bottom mogul run. The trail name is a nod to our heritage, as Ski Sundown was originally named Satan’s Ridge back in the 1960s when it first opened. Satan’s Ridge took its name from Satan’s Kingdom, a stretch of land along the Farmington River in New Hartford.
This is really a celebration for Ski Sundown.
It is so much fun for spectators. We'll have the Thomas Hooker Brewing Company brew van. We will have an outdoor bar set up, with picnic tables and Adirondack chairs- microbrew, wine, rum punch and Bloody Marys available outside for our age 21+ crowd. We’ll also have our grill on the deck going, and live music – Charlie Don’t Surf will be performing from about 4:00pm – 6:00pm at the end of the bump competition.
This must a been a banner season for skiing with all of the snowfall this winter…
This has been a very strong ski season for us. February is typically our snowiest month, and this year the amount of snowfall in February was just fantastic. It has set us up for wonderful spring skiing. We are 100% open and still sitting on a ridiculous amount of snow. Warmer (well, 45F is the new 75F), sunnier weather is on the way and our plan is to keep skiing right into April.