History: Smoke show at S’mass
“Running these gates is a laid-back Challenge” read a headline in The Aspen Times on Jan. 12, 1984. “The Marlboro challenge offers something new in the way of ski racing. It’s 50 cents a run, pay as you go, electronically timed, head-to-head racing on a relatively easy course. With no prizes, no teams, no leagues and no posted results, it can be the easiest, most relaxed way to run gates. In short, no pressure. But, on the other hand, there are other kinds of pressures. ‘Come on,’ says a guy to his female companion, ‘you have to try it. I need someone to race against.’ ‘No way,’ she says, ‘I’ll ski down and watch from the bottom.’ ‘Let’s race,’ says another man. ‘No thanks,’ says his companion. ‘Our relationship is doing just fine without that.’ And once the race is run, and the two times are flashed on the electronic scoreboard at the bottom of the course, it’s time for a different sort of exchange. ‘You had the faster course,’ protests one loser. ‘I beat you by five whole seconds,’ replies the faster skier. ‘Let’s go do it again.’ Retorts the loser, ‘this time I know I can beat you.’ All in all, definitely a good time. Now all they need is a rope tow to get you right back to the top of the hill for another try. You’ll find the Challenge courses on Rip’s Run on Aspen Mountain and on Log Deck at Snowmass.”
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