Cabin Fever Days, the annual multi-day winter festival and fundraiser for Bad Rock Canyon first responders, is rapidly approaching, and Steve Paugh is eyeing the barstool ski racing signup progress with a bit of concern.
Known to many as “Philly Steve,” Paugh is the organizer of barstool ski racing at Cabin Fever Days, its most vocal proponent and a racer himself. The sport, as it’s done in Martin City come February, involves a rider getting atop a barstool fixed to skis, and then trying for the fastest time down a slope known as Sugar Hill. At the height of Cabin Fever Days, cheering crowds line the hill and watch a mixture of ripping runs, snail-like struggles, chaotic crashes and everything in between.
But so far this year, Paugh said the signups have been a bit paltry. He acknowledged that signups for barstool ski racing tend to pick up in pace as Cabin Fever Days approaches. Still, Paugh would love to see some more people decide to compete, and said that part of why they ask people to sign up in advance is so that the double elimination competition brackets can be drawn up before the actual race day on Feb. 10.
As of Jan. 16, Paugh said there were somewhere around 15 racers signed up. Ideally, there would be 50 across all competitive classes, and he said that having 30 in the traditional racing class would be a solid level of participation. Signing up involves filling out a Google form available on the Cabin Fever Days website. From there, a rig inspection takes place and payment is collected the day of the race. The deadline to register is Jan. 31. In an effort to drum up interest, the Cabin Fever Days Facebook page recently published a post saying they “DESPERATELY NEED MORE RACERS.”
The aforementioned competitive classes consist of traditional, traditional steering, open, and show class. Traditional, the purest form of barstool racing, means that competitors have a barstool on skis that meets certain dimensions, and it’s up to them to navigate their way down the hill. The traditional steering class is for racing rigs made up of barstools and skis but that have a steering component meant to allow the competitor to more easily adjust their direction. The open class is for people using sleds, or other sled-like setups, and the show class is for people with creative rigs intended more for entertainment than anything else. Last year’s show class included a Chinese spy balloon-style sled, a sled carrying a live band, and a Donkey Kong-inspired sled.
“Anybody who hasn’t experienced it, it’s such a local, famous thing,” Paugh said. “How many things are there in this world that you can try so easily and go down and have a great time with a bunch of people and learn a new skill?”