by Pip Hunt
Crested Butte is known for its legendary steeps; for being the home to legendary skiers such as Seth Morrison and Wendy Fisher, and the birthplace to big-mountain competition. While many skiers may never make it to a finals event on the foreboding Hourglass, you can still compete in Crested Butte.
Bring out your best costumes, endurance, and competitive spirit on Sunday, March 1 for the 6th annual 7 Hours of the Banana. The 7 Hours of the Banana is a lift accessed endurance event, where competitors complete as many laps on the Banana, the longest double black run on the mountain at 2,020 vertical feet, in seven hours.
The 7 Hours of the Banana is a fundraiser for two local non-profit organizations, the Adaptive Sports Center and the Crested Butte Snowsports Foundation. The Adaptive sports Center is entering its 28th year of improving the quality of life for people with disabilities through outdoor adventure activities. ASC’s programs are inclusive to families and friends and empower participants in their daily lives and have and enduring impact on their health, self-confidence and well-being.
The Crested Butte Snowsports Foundation continues a tradition of snow sports in the Gunnison Valley by supporting youth athletes of all levels. CBSF raises funds for both merit and need-based scholarships for skiers, snowboarders, and nordic athletes. CBSF also provides grants to partner programs to provide better programming and facilities to the local community.
The 7 Hours of the Banana can be raced as an individual or as teams, and while locals have used this event to prove just how strong they are, the real winner is whomever raises the most money for these two foundations. Freeskiing pioneer Wendy Fisher holds both the record for most laps skied at 34 laps and raising the most money, $14,000.00. Think you can beat her?
While the adults are full of competitors and costumes, the youth category is where things really heat up. Due to the challenging nature of the Banana, youth under 16 are required to ski with an adult, however, the groms of Crested Butte are running into a new problem – too many young rippers, not enough adults who want to keep up. Even the youngest competitor at 6 years old, skied 16 laps last year, with 12-year-old Carson Hildebrandt knocking out 26 laps.
Come on out to Crested Butte the weekend of February 28 – March 1, bring your legs of steel, and try to beat the record. Entry is $50.00, or free if you raise $100.00 or more. CBMR is also offering a discounted day ticket of $50.00 for competitors.
Prizes include a season pass to CBMR to whomever raises the most money, skis for the male and female ski winners, touring packs, luggage, gift certificates to great local restaurants and more.