The Town Downhill, a community staple race hosted by the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club, has found a new home.
The race that began in 1982 and has used Snow King’s Mini Hahnenkamm course almost every year since, will take its start and finish lines to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s Crags-Moran venue this March.
“Our primary focus is to keep this event alive and well while also ensuring that it succeeds in advancing the club’s mission,” Ski Club Executive Director Brian Krill said in a release. “The move to JHMR is not necessarily permanent, but offers significant advantages to run a more sustainable and beneficial event for the club.”
The race has experienced dwindling turnout the past few years, as race-regulars pointed out following the 2019 competition. Part of the lack in turnout, racers and Krill suggested, was the daunting challenge presented by the incredibly steep Mini Hahnenkamm course.
Adam McCool, who has competed in each of the 37 Town Downhills held, admitted to some regret in a Ski Club release.
“Of course there is some disappointment about going away from tradition,” he said. “But I’m excited about the new event structure and the possibilities this represents for the club and community.
“All said, the most important thing is that this event lives on and succeeds,” he said. “I think this will attract more old-timers, raise the bar and make it more competitive.”
The format of the race will see a significant change as well. There will still be a community race with open, telemark, snowboard and “fat and baggy” categories, but the event will center around a new team structure.
Teams will consist of one professional, one woman, one master, one junior and one open spot. The teams will pledge $10,000, which can come from a team sponsor, with all proceeds benefiting the club’s student-athletes.
This year’s Town Downhill will run March 13-15, in between the Wyoming High School Alpine Skiing Championships and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Western Region U19 Championships, both also set to be held at JHMR.
The race was last held at JHMR in 2017, when conditions at Snow King forced a last-minute change.
For details on the Town Downhill’s move, along with a schedule of other winter events, see the Oct. 2 edition of the Jackson Hole News&Guide.