Skin-Suits Verses The Drunken Germans
Mammoth Mountain plays host to some of the world’s most elite skiers and snowboarders in big-air events, halfpipe competitions, gate racing, and any other dick-measuring contest that can take place on steep snow.
And that’s awesome; because without those guys we wouldn’t have anybody to put on posters or call out for GNAR points.
“Dude, I can’t believe you’re a pro. I am SO much better than you!”
But what about those of us who want to compete on a legit FIS style course with nothing at stake, in any attire we choose, and with the assistance of everyone’s favorite confidence coach; PBR chased with peppermint schnapps? Where will we… uh, I mean, those guys… get their shot at a timed run?
Luckily, I wasn’t the first to experience this sentiment. In the glorious bicentennial year of 1976 some like-minded individuals put together the Village Championship Race Series (VCs) for guys and girls with a need for speed but lack of experience or endorsements.
A VC race is an event one can take as seriously, or not, as one desires.
Some arrive with Spider suits shrink-wrapping their lingonberries, shin guards bracing for impact and eyes on the price.
Getting a few more practice gates before their next Olympic bid? Maybe.
Seeking a chance to re-live their faded NASTAR glory days? More likely.
Others rock up in pink-and-purple onesies, wearing mullet wigs and blatantly taking pulls from clear plastic bottles that definitely don’t hold water.
Devotees and degenerates coming together for love of a sport- this my friends, is the glory of the VCs.
I show up for my two laps somewhere in the middle- sober, pretty much, but I did have to ask which side to pass the first gate on.
A question to which I was pleasantly surprised to get a very non-sarcastic response from the startmiester; “Left. Name and number?”
It wasn’t the first time he had answered that question.
Despite my lack of investment in the outcome of this race, which I figured out at the starting gate was to be Dual Slalom; I was savoring the feeling of standing on the starting line.
I’m crazy for racing sports. It doesn’t matter if I’m hustling my Honda Express against my sister’s tricycle or picking fights with Evos on my GSX-R… That moment when the light goes red to green gets me more amped than anything and I try to go Paul Walker on everybody’s ass.
It’s not something I’m proud of… but I give in to it every time.
This day was no different. I got tense, letting the red mist flow and fight-or-f**k mode engage.
My heartbeat was going nuts to keep up with the Maskinen Pandora station beaming into Bluetooth headset; then…
I jumped out of the startslope and skated hard toward the first gate. Leaning forward hard I gritted my teeth and went barreling into the synthetic bamboo stick (or whateverthehell those gates are made of) with my right shoulder…
“AGH, Gahd-DAMNiT!” I yelled into my facemask.
No time to bitch, I was already upon the next gate-
Christ, these things hurt!
All the other racers had chosen Swix plates or alcohol as a protective measure against the inevitable pain that comes with competitive gate racing. Something I was really regretting not thinking of a few hours earlier.
I bet Woolly never had this problem…
I smashed through six more gates before my aggressive plunge down the course degraded into a sheepish plod.
How many more of these gates are left!?
There were, like, a lot left. And I felt like I should have been skiing a lot… faster.
What was going on here, something wrong with my form?
But before my inner monologue could analyze the situation too closely I was clearing the finish line and making up for my weak performance with a dusty Shaun White-style snowthrow stop that only someone who was both sober and obnoxious could pull off.
Boom, cornered that market.