The Mountain Times

°F Thu, April 17, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Helly Hansen Big Mountain Battle returns to Killington, March 9

KILLINGTON-On any given day at either Killington or Pico, chances are there is a competition going on some- where, whether it is a rail jam at one of Killington's parks, racers chasing gates on Mousetrap or young slalom superstars at Pico.

But this Saturday, Killington welcomes a different kind of com- petition all together. It is called the Helly Hansen Big Mountain Battle and it is returning after a successful debut last year. During this unique race, teams of two seek out checkpoints, by skiing down trails, riding up chairlifts or scaling up peaks on foot. Perhaps it is most comparable to the CBS television show The Amazing Race.

These challenges take place all over Killington's diverse terrain with plenty of surprises for visitors as well as for locals, organizers say.

"We want to take you to corners of the mountain you may not have been to for years, send you hiking up a climb you would have
Photo courtesy of Helly Hansen Big Mountain Battle

never thought to do, go searching in the woods for a checkpoint, get tracked in real time by our friends at Flaik GPS and you get to do it all with your buddy," organizers explain on the Helly Hansen web- site. Both team members have to pass through all the checkpoints together and the top three teams are eligible for prizes from Helly Hansen.

Last year the winning team was able to complete the course in about an hour and a half. Competitors carry their Flaik GPS device with them and their progress is tracked in real time.

There are three categories that skiers and riders can enter. The first is the advanced course, developed by local ski patrollers. The first team to complete the advanced course will be awarded $2,000 worth of Helly Hansen gear and be entered into the Big Mountain Battle final race in Aspen, Colorado. Alternatively, teams can opt for the intermediate course, which will have fewer runs and hikes. There is also the 12 and under course where one racer is required to be under 12 years old- ideal for a parent/child team.

In February, the Helly Hansen tour staged their races in Fernie, British Columbia, Squaw, California, Taos, New Mexico and Kicking Horse, British Columbia. In March, The race takes place at Stevens Pass, Washington and Mont Sainte Anne in Quebec, so Killington is in good company.

Registration is available the day of the event, however, advanced registration online will save participants $10, visit bigmountainbattle.com. The entrance fee for a team of two is $90. Competitors are able to buy Helly Hansen base layers at a deep discount with their registration.

Helly Hansen is a Norweigian company that got its starts in apparel for fishermen. Founded in 1877, the company is often credited with creating the first synthetic, supple, water- proof, outerwear. At first it was clothing soaked in linseed oil and as technology has advanced, the company has been at the forefront of foul weather gear development. As a modern day company it produces industrial workwear, rescue and survival gear, street apparel and fishing/sailing equipment.