Hill climb race makes ascent to Powderhorn
Few things can push the adrenaline upwards like the combination of speed and snow.
Then add a snowmobile and a steep uphill slope into the mix, and it’s the perfect formula for high-speed fun for both competitors and spectators.
The Rocky Mountain States Hill Climb Association will host a snowmobile hill climb race at Powderhorn Mountain Resort on Saturday and Sunday.
It will be the first-ever event of its kind at Powderhorn.
Former local professional snowmobile racer and hillclimb champion Dennis Durmas is bringing the event to Mesa County. He said Powderhorn is an ideal place to hold the event.
“I’ve ran (hill climbs) enough and been around them enough that I know that’s the ultimate place to hold that event,” he said.
The decision to bring a snowmobile hill climb to Powderhorn was partly based on Crested Butte not hosting a race anymore.
Powderhorn General Manager Sam Williams said Durmas approached him a few years ago about putting on an event but the competition calender only had openings when Powderhorn was still open for the season.
“That would not work for us, then they came up with a date that worked and we’re excited about it,” Williams said.
Durmas said it’s a unique event.
“For people who have never seen a hill climb race before, it’s a timed event on a gated course,” Durmas said. “With the hill and moguls, the excitement of the speed, going up the hill in under two minutes, it’s a good time.”
Competitors will go up one at a time in a time-trial format.
Durmas said the race weekend will bring in more than 175 people and that includes racers, family members, mechanics and others.
The Sunset Grill and Powderhorn Pub will be open and the Flat Top Flyer chairlift will also be running but just for event spectators. No skis or snowboards will be allowed. Single trip lift tickets will be $12 on Saturday and Sunday, and there will also be an unlimited lift ticket available for $25 for the weekend. Uphill hiking and snowshoeing is allowed.
There will also be live music during the event.
Williams said snow should not be a problem thanks to some cooler weather but also because the event will use a variety of runs for qualifying and finals.
“Snow really stockpiles in places and we’re pushing it around to wherever it’s needed,” he said.
Durmas said snowmobile hill climbs are a truly unique competition with snow machines being modified for maximum speed and efficiency.
The machines will run up to 260 horsepower engines and will weigh close to 425 pounds, which is much lighter than regular snowmobiles.
A variety of classifications from professional to semi-pro levels, women’s, juniors, stock and modified will be part of the races.
The race is expected to draw some of the top factory sponsored racers since it will be a RMSHA points race with prize money.
Durmas said a number of local racers are planning to compete, including Colten McCallum, Johnathon Durmas, Dustin Grant, J.T. Hotchkiss, Eben Abshire and Cole Wilford.
The race schedule begins at 8 a.m. on both days, with qualifying on Saturday. Durmas said qualifying will go into the afternoon as late as 4-5 p.m. On Sunday, the finals should wrap up between 2-3 p.m.
“It’s going to be awesome and we’re hoping it goes well and it will be here for years to come,” Williams said, “This will be spectator friendly, too.”