It’s an invite-only race featuring the top skiers in the world. The rules are simple: first person down the hill before everyone else, wins. What do they win? Glad you asked. It’s a cool $20,000 to the winner, and a not-so-cool $0 for everyone else.
The Chinese Downhill, as far as research allows, has never been offered as a professional event. In all the years of skiing it has been often talked about, but until now, no sponsor wanted to underwrite the carnage that would ensue. Monster Energy seems to be up to the challenge, and the 20 thousand bones they are backing it up with has made this event one of the hottest tickets for any skier.
For those who are not initiated to the ruckus of a Chinese Downhill, perhaps it could best be explained through one of the best ski scenes of all time, in the 1984 cult classic Hot Dog:
It’s actually surprising that it has taken 30 years for this style of race to make it as a pro event. But as always, better late than never!
The entire event happened this weekend in Fernie, BC. Qualifiers took place on Friday, and the main event was Saturday, April 6. Due to variable avalanche conditions the course was changed, as well as the format. Instead of starting at the peak, skiers had to begin a few hundred meters down. Since this meant less time to spread out, it meant the qualifiers would be much more of a deciding factor.
Organizers also decided to change the cash payout. The winner would now receive $5,000, and the remaining $15,000 would be paid out amongst the rest of the field. It was still plenty of incentive for everyone to go all-out, to come on top with over $4,000 more than anyone else.
After a tough qualifier that saw the pole position shift with nearly every run, the stage was set for the Saturday final. Moderate weather and spring conditions made the course all the more challenging.
In the end the winner was Stan Rey, former Canadian National Ski Team member and Whistler local.
Judging by the interest in the event, it is probably safe to say that this event will be a regular for years to come.
Here’s a little video recap as well: