The Vert Competition at Whitefish Mountain Resort on the Big Mountain recently finished its 12th season. It wasn’t the epic powder year we’ve become accustomed to enjoying in the Northern Rockies of Montana, but it was a full season of skiing nonetheless. The mantra this season was “at least we are skiing.” So many western resorts were not. Lean snowfall totals meant less available terrain, meant more competition on fewer routes, etc. All that said, those constraints didn’t slow down many of the Top 10 competitors.
This season’s Vert race started quickly, with two-time Top 10 finisher, Albin Kwolek, pushing out to an early lead. Unfortunately, he tragically broke his leg a few days before the end of December. To Albin, I’d like to say, I was pulling for you during your early season run, and I am certainly pulling for you now as you recover and rehabilitate yourself. Heal well and we hope to see you back in strong form next season.
This season’s single biggest highlight had to be Kay Yobst breaking the Ladies All-Time Vert Record for a season. Additionally, she skied her way onto the proverbial “podium”, with a 3rd Place finish. This is the first time a lady has finished in the overall Top 3. I offer a hearty congratulations for both accomplishments~! Exceptionally well done~!
And congratulations to the new blood in the Top 10 club! Welcome to Susan Armstrong, Jim Robertson and Patrick Pinsent….with their first Top 10 finish each. They jockeyed for a few weeks at the end before Susan pulled out the 8th Place finish. 128 days of ski season and 8th and 9th place were separated by less than a thousand feet of vert.
A few interesting tidbits about some of our Top 10 finishers follow.
Fred Frost finished with his 12th consecutive Top 3 finish and his 10th season over 4 million feet. After 12 years of skiing, his cumulative vert total is remarkably: 49,607,520′.
Tony Cooper skied to his 5th consecutive Top 10 finish.
John Gibson (aka “Johnny Vert”–the Top 10’s only snowboarder) finished in the Top 10 for his 10th consecutive time. John’s got a board for every condition and he rides them all strong.
Steve Calger and Kay Yobst finished in the Top 10 for the 6th time, while skiing personal bests and with Kay setting the Ladies record. I had fun skiing with you once again~! Hopefully we’ll get back into the pow next year.
And I had my 3rd win and 8th consecutive Top 3 finish. Undoubtedly, I worked harder this year than in any previous season. Due to a death in the family, I missed more ski days this season (15) than the previous 4 years combined. While I didn’t ski to a personal best total, I did ski a personal best (in terms of) daily average and made it back into 10th Place on the Top 100 Vert seasons list.
I remain unaffiliated with Whitefish Mountain Resort, though I am arguably their most enthusiastic patron. And as the unofficial Vert Historian, I appreciate constructive inputs to correct the record. Just holler.