Whether you're Kent Kreitler, Tommy Moe, or Joe Shmoe, standing at the top of a racecourse (be it GS or skiercross) is a rush; it's the moment at which everything you've learned on snow is put to the test. If you've never felt it, this is your year. Here are some events where you can prove your worth.
What and when: JOHN MEYER MEMORIAL DOWNHILL, January 28¿30
Where: Aspen Highlands, Colorado
What's the deal? Train on the 28th and 29th to bring out the Franz Klammer in you, compete on the 30th at 11 a.m.
To enter: $60; helmet and strong skiing skills required. Register at the Thunder Bowl Café at Aspen Highlands by 9:30 a.m. on the 28th.
What and when: WASATCH TELEMARK ORGANIZATION'S FREE SKI COMPETITION, January 12 and March 12
Where: Brighton, Utah
What's the deal? As you rip (or tumble) down Millicent Bowl, you'll be judged on your turns, style, line, pole plants, and air. No inverted airs, and helmets are required.
To enter: Register at the Millicent chair by 9 a.m. For info: www.wasatchtelemark.org
What and when: TOP GUN ON GUNBARREL, April 15
Where: Heavenly, California
What's the deal? Dual mogul competition that separates the Mavericks from the mice. Prizes go to first, second, and third, but count on freebies for everyone at the post-event raffle.
To enter: $10 entry fee. Show up that morning or call 775-586-7000 x6208.
What and when: GEORGE SYROVATKA CITIZEN'S DOWNHILL RACE, March 4
Where: Jay Peak, Vermont
What's the deal? Named after a Jay regular who became the fastest skier in North America in 1973. With a 1,400-foot vertical, 90 mph is a possibility.
To enter: $60 entry fee includes lift ticket. Helmet and 200-cm or longer skis required. Call 802-988-2611.
What and when: THE GLADE-IATOR EXTREME WEEKEND, March 18¿19.
Where: Mount Snow, Vermont
What's the deal? Saturday: Tackle the bumps on Ripcord. Sunday: the Downhill Challenge¿a top-to-bottom race through trees, gates, and bumps, with a big-air finish.
To enter: $20 advance registration, $25 day of competition (last year's prices). Call 802-464-4191.
What and when: KING OF THE WASATCH EVENT SERIES SKIERCROSS, February 26
Where: Park City, Utah
What's the deal? Test your cojones and become the biggest stud in Utah by nudging and bumping your way through a World Cup skiercross course. Cash purse.
To enter: $35; helmet required. Call 435-647-5407.
What and when: CASTLEROCK EXTREME CHALLENGE, February 26
Where: Sugarbush, Vermont
What's the deal? Skiers negotiate Castlerock's legendary Liftline trail. Tricks and choice of line are key.
To enter: $25; helmet required. Call 802-583-2381.
What and when: RUBBER LEGS 150, April 8
Where: Vail, Colorado
What's the deal? A thigh-burning 150-gate GS race down Vail Mountain as part of Warren Miller's Mad Mountain Marathon.
To enter: $60 per individual, $240 per team of four. Call 970-476-1876.
What and when: TOPHER MOUNTAIN CHALLENGE, February 11
Where: Winter Park, Colorado
What's the deal? Competitors arc through a GS course, tighten into a slalom, and pump through the bumps to the finish. Proceeds will benefit programs for at-risk youth.
To enter: Call 970-726-1590 for info and entry fees.
¿Additional research by Chris Estes