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Red Bull Blade Raid gives skiers wings at Crystal Mountain

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on March 14, 2008 at 3:11 pm with No Comments »
March 14, 2008 3:11 pm

Today 42 athletes – some of whom even know how to ski – will race down one of Crystal Mountain’s steepest runs by parachute.


Crystal Mountain, 9:30 a.m.

HOW IT WORKS: Competitors lay out a parachute behind them at the top of the double-diamond Exterminator run then ski as fast as possible down the hill. At about 40 mph their parachute will lift them off the ground. Then they must navigate the gates on the rest of the course using the chute and land in a designated area near the base lodge. Runs will take about 50 seconds, but time penalties are added for clipping the gates or passing through too high. Those who miss the gates or don’t cross the finish line with their skis on the ground don’t get a time for the round. The number of rounds is dictated by the weather.

BEST PLACE TO WATCH: From Crystal’s main lodge you can see most of the course.

COST: The event is free to watch. Lift tickets are $58 for adults.

PHOTO BY JANET JENSEN, THE NEWS TRIBUNE Click on the photo to ski more of Jensen’s pictures of this event.

The story:

By Craig Hill
The News Tribune

On more than 1,000 occasions Brian McNenney has stepped out of an airplane trusting his life to a backpack full of fabric.

He’s done it so often that skydiving intimidates him about as much as watching TV.

But if you want to see McNenney sweat, put him on a pair of skis and put him on top of Crystal Mountain’s Exterminator, a steep double-diamond run.

See, McNenney is from Florida where the highest point is 345 feet above sea level. Exterminator starts a mile above sea level.

"Florida is a great place to skydive and a terrible place to learn to ski," said McNenney, who sells software in Tallahassee. "For me, skiing is 10 times scarier (than skydiving). This is crazy."


I managed to squeeze in a few runs. A great day even though Campbell Basin and Northway were closed because of wind. This is the third of at least 12 installments from my attempt to ski at least once each month this year. I’ve done this before but this is his first time writing about it. I’ll write more in the summer months when the skiing is a little more difficult to find.

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