Carnage-cross, Anyone?

By Beacon Staff

In an event more like a demolition derby on snowboards, the Nate Chute Hawaiian Classic Boardercross rustled up those with guts – including 16 women. Starting shoulder to shoulder in heats, riders tore over obstacles elbow to elbow with fellow racers. Collisions, crashes, and splats were part of the game. By noon, there was one broken arm.

The annual Whitefish Mountain Resort event that drew over 90 competitors is one of Montana’s largest snowboard races with a Saturday banked slalom and Sunday boardercross. Down Goat Haunt, the boardercross course sped, tossing gates, rollers, banks, and berms at riders. “The course is fast,” said Manny Mendoza, a former member of the U.S. Snowboard Team who turned out to race just for the fun of it. “The rollers are sketchy, and the banks smooth,” he added.

Those who survived to cross the finish line first raced again. Those at the bottom of their racing brackets moved into consolation rounds, where finishing first could keep them alive. Spectators lined the course to watch the carnage.

Anna Bengtson, who teaches snowboarding at the resort, laid out a survival strategy: “Go for the hole and get out in front. Then you’re just racing rather than dealing with other riders.”

In its ninth year, the event drew riders to honor the memory of fellow Whitefish snowboarder Nate Chute. Most grommets – 14-year-olds and under – were locals while many over 21-year-old competitors hailed from across the northwest. Event proceeds contribute to the Nate Chute Foundation, a local organization helping troubled teens.

First place combined weekend open class prizes went to Jamie Warner of Fernie, B.C., and Mendoza from Whitefish.

If you don’t have what it takes to enter a boardercross, you can still taste the thrill. A video of cruising the course via helmet cam should be live later this week at www.skiwhitefish.com.

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