Buller’s strong his­tory of non-elite ski rac­ing

Mt Buller News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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