Buller’s strong history of non-elite ski racing
SKI racing is a fundamental part of Alpine culture.
Regardless of the hemisphere, continent, country or the resort, you can pretty much guarantee that just about anywhere there is snow, you will find race gates and timing equipment.
Because it is in human DNA to race one another, we can’t resist the temptation to know who is the fastest.
Whether you are six or 66, the biz of going as fast as you can while carving your way between gates is unique and very addictive.
Ski racing puts butterflies in your stomach and consistently turns an ordinary ski run into a high adrenaline ‘double black diamond’ challenge.
For over 60 years non-elite ski and snowboard racers have raced in the well-established pathway of school, university, masters, club and inter-club racing.
For a long time these races were organised by the Victorian Snowsports Association (VSA) and they cumulated in state championships.
I am pleased to report that the tradition of inter-club racing is still strong and in fact it is growing at Mt Buller.
For the past few years, I have participated in what is these days known as the Mt Blanc-Blonde, Mt Buller Team Challenge.
It is a good fun event, which is family friendly and will challenge any level of skier or snowboarder.
In 2000 the Mt Buller interclub race was given a makeover when the responsibility for organising the event was passed from Mike Tinsley of Candoux Ski Club to Daniel Ong and Stuart Worn from Alkira Ski Club.
The event’s entry criteria was expanded to allow any team consisting of three or more racers (skier or snowboarder) to compete and it was rebranded to be called the Mt Buller Team Challenge.
This expansion in the types of people that could race, was immediately translated into an increased number of entries.
Importantly the Team Challenge is a participation focused event.
It involves Giant Slalom racing down the full length of Little Buller Spur.
Each team member is given two runs and the combined score for the three highest finishing competitors from each team is used to determine the team’s placing.
The Team Challenge has over 21 categories for teams to win medals and perpetual trophies.
In addition, all the team results are mathematically divided into three groups, with the fastest one third being allocated into Category A, teams ranked in the second third of the field are put into Category B and similarly teams in the last third into Category C.
The 60 plus year history of the Team Challenge is well preserved, with the names and club or team badges appearing on the perpetual trophies.
A great example of this is the past winners of the Julian Storey Memorial Trophy, which since 1991 have included: David Bretherton, Colin Styles, Hans Die Lacher, Kevin Blackshaw, Guss Lobb, Ant Guss, Lance Williams, Don May, Scott Burns, Chris Schwarz, Al Guss, Edmund Maier, Phil Schwarz, Chris Jackson and Cameron Bertalli.
These days the event enjoys a long-term sponsorship from the gourmet French beer Mont-Blanc Blonde.
More than 128 competitors raced in last year’s event in what were blue bird conditions.
The 2018 event is scheduled for 9am on August 18.