new vermont whiplash

Jeepking2Saturday I attempted to qualify for the Jeep King of the Mountain event at Mt. Snow.

Signing up, I had no idea what the format of the course was. As an ex-college racer I figured it would be a fun event — racing GS gates with a few banked turns and some table top jumps or something. Well, the actual format was only five GS gates (I was thinking forty) and six or seven considerable jumps. At the beginning of the day there were eleven skiers and thirteen snowboarders. I skied.

After course inspection, they opened up the course to training runs. I took my first crack at it, having never done anything like it in the past. Getting what I thought was more than enough speed, (probably 25 mph), heading directly for a 6’ high jump, who’s angle looked entirely too steep to me, unable to see anything below, popped the jump, launched into the air, landed about 18’ away, which unfortunately was about 2’ short of the landing. Crunch. My chin bounced off my chest; if my tongue had been out, it would have been severed.

I managed to get another three training runs in afterwards. Each time crunching one landing or another with considerable pain and frustration. Still I was determined to get a timed run and attempt to qualify for the main event on Sunday. Oh, btw, the top three qualifiers were up for a first place prize of $10,000 and a last place minimum prize of $1000 in Sunday’s race. And by the end of my third training run there were only five skiers left — the others had blown out knees or just chickened out.

The organizers had determined that the one of the final jumps was too large and that it was dangerous. They needed an hour to reconfigure the “feature”. I sat and waited. Clearly I had been beat up in my initial attempts, but only after sitting down for a while did it register that I was hurting. My neck was spasming; my vision was a bit blurred; I was dizzy.

I really wanted a timed run. They opened the course back up. Again, I inspected the course. Again, I stood at the top awaiting my training run. Full tuck, I managed to hit the first jump pretty well, yet I still landed HARD. I bailed out the run before the finish. I wasn’t having fun. I turned in my bib. DNS.



  1. For those that are worried about me: my neck is still really really sore, but otherwise I’m ok. I have a doctors appointment today just to be safe.

  2. Mr. Henderson, just wanted to let you know that there is nothing wrong with you. No broken bones, no strains, etc. You just have no heart, that’s all.

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