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Monday, February 5, 2001 -- Snowshoe, WV
Cupp Run Challenge
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Team Results]
[Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2] [Pic Set 3] [Pic Set 4]
See also: [1999 Coverage] [2000 Coverage]

Ben Hinkle
Cupp Run keeps everyone on edge
Snowshoe Mountain was, once again, up to her usual surprises when it came to the weather for the 27th annual Cupp Run Challenge. Monday morning broke with mostly cloudy skies as the sun struggled to find openings. As the racers looked out across the valley from 4800 ft, the top of Cupp Run, the sun looked as it might prevail. But that would not be the case.

The first half of the racers that challenged the roughly 1.25 miles and over 1000 feet of vertical drop, enjoyed rather nice conditions. Those that waited their turn could only watch as the falling precipitation off in the distance could be seen heading toward the slopes. It started slowly and just kept coming. By the end of the race, just after 1:00pm, the snow was falling hard with no signs of letting up.

The best times of the day had been posted early, when conditions had been at their best. With the Open/Pro class getting the first shot, Head/Tyrolia racer Chris Pittman made the most of it. His time of 1:11.13 was almost a second better than the rest of the class.

Chris Pittman
Chris Pittman guns for a win
Pittman had returned after posting a third Open/Pro and third overall finish in 2000, and he had already wrapped up the top cash prize for winning the 2001 open class. His only question was whether anyone out of the amateur ranks could challenge his time for bragging rights to the best overall time.

Next up were the Junior (19 and Under) classes with some of the areas best young talent ready for the challenge. A member of the University of Maryland Ski Team, and just finishing a weekend of USCSA racing at Wisp and Timberline (see Event #2986), Beau Gibson showed no fear at his first Cupp Run race. His strong weekend performances continued as he ripped through a 1:10.45 to set a new course best and capture the J1 (17-19) title.

As the morning headed toward noon, the rest of the junior racers made their runs. Next up was the 50 and over class, followed by each 10-year age group in descending order. By the time the final group of racers, the 20-29 year-olds, got their call to the starting gate, a steady snowfall had set in while the winds picked up on an eroding course.

Jordan Jarrett
All eyes are focused downhill
Keith Poore, a 20-year-old racing out of Lees-McRae College in North Carolina, waited his turn and had his mind set on a good run after suffering a fall in 2000. Pounding gates down through the top of the course, Poore was looking good. However, at the bottom of the course, things got interesting. "I almost lost it on those last eight gates," said Poore. Holding his ground he passed the finishing wire to stop the clock which registered a 1:10.40. By five one-hundreths of a second, Poore had stolen the overall best time for the 2001 Cupp Run Challenge.

Pittman, the part-time ski coach from Seven Springs, PA, who was third overall once again, was still all smiles as he received his winners check. "I did it for her, now she's getting a new pair of skis," he said while getting a big hug from his girlfriend Shannon. "And, I've got a nine-to-five job, those kids get to train all the time," he added with a grin.

When looking at the best times for the women, it was again a race dominated by youth. J1 racer, and another product of Lees-McRae College, Jamie Workman put together a phenomenal run. Her time of 1:14.28 was easily the best women's time and actually placed her in the top ten overall. She credit her success to "fantastic training at Beech Mountain", but we suspect there's a little more to it than that. It is interesting to note that the Canadian native was also a top ten finisher at last year's Junior Olympics.

Cupp Run
We'll see ya next year!
Rounding out the top three, J3 (13-14) racer Victoria Long (1:21.11), skiing out of Bryce Mountain in Virginia, edged her way into second. Taking third was Jill Huber (1:21.66), a freshman member of the Davis & Elkins College ski team. Huber summed up simply the sentiments of most of the day's participants, "I had a fun run!"

All this fun was made possible by the hard work of the folks at Snowshoe Resort. In turn, they couldn't do it without the support of great sponsors: Wendy's, Smith, Rossignol and Balzout. Now get out there and work on those skills, the 2002 Cupp Run Challenge is now less than a year away!