Bumble Powder 8s in Aspen brings skiing heritage back to life

Bumble Powder 8s in Aspen brings skiing heritage back to life

Photography courtesy of Garlic Media

Powder 8s. The epitome of powder skiing greatness. Two skiers perfectly in-sync, plowing through fresh snow in a mesmerizing flash of faceshots and pole plants. What has long been a tradition in skiing culture has new life thanks to the Bumble Powder 8s, which occurred last weekend in Aspen, Colorado.

Beginning on Friday, February 8th, with on-piste qualification rounds on one of Aspen’s most well-known runs, North American, more than 60 teams of two skied their hearts out for the chance to compete in the finals and have a shot at taking home a $10,000 cash purse. Team selected past the initial round of qualifying were seeded upon their cumulative score and placed into a bracket format. Upon seeding, teams competed head-to-head in elimination rounds, fighting for a top eight spot for the finals on Saturday, February 9.

Competitors gather at the bottom of the Bumble Powder 8s course in Aspen.
Rockin’ out by the DJ booth on Bonnie’s deck.

With the sun shining bright and the sky as blue as can be, spectators and competitors gathered on the deck at Bonnie’s Restaurant and watched, awestruck, as each team made its way down the qualifying course. The key to success in a Powder 8s team is complete metaphysical synchronization; the first skier leads the duo into each turn and the second skier follows his or her lead as precisely as possible, creating impeccable figure-eight shapes in the snow. Even on the hardpack, it was a beautiful sight to behold.

Skiers make their way through the qualifying course on North American.
Enjoying the view from Bonnie’s.

Friday’s event also called for competitors to dress their best for their chance to be awarded hand-painted denim vests from FREESKIER’s Art Director, Gunter Jones. Teams came out swingin’ with matching outfits that made the FREESKIER team proud. Pit Viper’s Spencer Harkins and Mali Noyes had their retro neon on-point; twins George and Bart Flynn from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, went for a matchy-matchy red Gore-Tex getup; and Aspen locals JF Houle and Whit Boucher rocked matching kits from local brand Strafe Outerwear. But “Best Dressed” ended up with two ladies, Amanda Vanderpool and Julianne Murphy, who called themselves Team Haute Sauce and donned bright pink speed suits.

Retro getups were on-point for these two competitors.
Our “Best Dressed” winners, Team Haute Sauce.

Come Saturday morning, overcast skies clouded Aspen but our spirits stayed high as we were about to witness one of the greatest things in skiing: Powder 8s. Finalists were transported to the backside of Aspen Mountain via snowcat and teams once again battled head-to-head in single-elimination runs judged on fluidity and perfection. At Aspen’s base area Gondola Plaza, a viewing tent with food, drinks and music kept the crowd movin’ and groovin’ while a large jumbotron broadcasted the event in real-time. The inaugural Bumble Powder 8s culminated in a final run that left the winning pair on top by only a single point , and, needless to say, the crowd went wild with every turn of the ski.

The winning duo brought home $10,000 and eternal Powder 8s bragging rights.

If two things are true after the Bumble Powder 8s competition, it’s that ski culture is alive and well out there in the mountains and skiers from far-and-wide are frothing at the chance to compete in Powder 8s competitions. We’ll see you in Aspen for next year’s event, that’s for damn sure.


Upgrade Your Inbox

Don't waste time seeking out the best skiing content; we'll send it all right to you.