Mountainwatch | Reggae Elliss
Australia’s longest ski and snow board race, the Mumm Top to Bottom, is on again in Thredbo this Saturday, August 11 , the centre piece of one of the best weekends of the winter.
Since the first race was held way back in 1991, the Thredbo Top to Bottom has enjoyed iconic status, attracting skiers and snowboarders from all over Australia, all keen to test themselves on the long, winding three-kilometre course. Starting behind Eagles Nest the course winds down the Super trail and has over close to 300 competitors across the eight divisions – Open Men and Women, amateur men’s, veterans, men’s snowboard and women’s snowboard plus two new divisions, masters women’s ski (35 years and over) and Masters men’s Ski (35-49 years). The veteran men’s division is now for skiers 50 years and over.
The competitors range from hard core ski bums, super competitive masters to Olympians and the elite of Australian alpine racing. Past winners include Olympians AJ Bear, Craig Branch, Scott Kneller, Alice Jones, Sami Kennedy and snowboard world speed record holder Darren Powell. The fastest time is usually around 2.10 minutes which includes a 25 sec sprint at the start, which equates to an average speed of 85kms/hr and a top speed of through middle slopes of 120kms/hr.
Last year Thredbo snowboarder Jye Kearney, renowned for his park and rail work, showed he is very much one of Australia’s best all-round riders when he won the men’s snowboard division. Other defending champs include Scott Kneller (open men’s ski) Wiki Jones (open women’s snowboard), and Zali Offord (opens women’s ski).
The race is held before lifts open, the competitors loading Kosciuszko Chair at 6.30am for course inspection. This early start is one of the highlights, with participants having a rare opportunity to view the often-spectacular sunrise from the Roof of Australia. I’ve been lucky enough to forerun the race a number of times and having the perfectly groomed Supertrail at that early time of day is always one of the highlights of my season.
The race starts with a Le mans style gruelling 70 metres sprint to the start line where competitors click into their skis or snowboard bindings and head downhill. The run and speed of getting into the skis or snowboard bindings is crucial, the aim is to be clear of the pack once the course hits the first turn.
However, the Mumm Top to Bottom is more than just a race, it is a weekend celebration of fun, skiing and après. When it comes to parties, Thredbo does it better than any other ski resort in Australia, and the Mumm top to bottom weekend is up there with the biggest weekend of the season.
It starts with a champagne breakfast at Kareela Hut, the perfect position to watch the racers fly through one of the gnarliest turns of the course and continues with après tunes on the Kareela deck from 1pm to 4pm. Then the Mumm Bar, poolside at the Thredbo Alpine Hotel, kicks into gear with the major après party kicking off at 5pm. The champagne will be flowing and the music pumping with DJ Hayden James firing up his electro dance classics
After 50cms of snow this week Thredbo is at its best with an awesome cover of snow and the skiing and boarding this weekend will be excellent. The forecast is looking interesting with a cold front due on Saturday and at this stage it looks like the snow will start falling around the finish time of the race, the Grasshopper calling 10 to 20cms on Saturday. Check the Grasshopper’s forecasts and the our Thredbo-specific forecast graphs over the next few days to stay up to date with the snow and weather conditions for the weekend.
It is going to be a huge weekend, so get up to Thredbo and be part of it.