Top to bottom in less than 120 seconds requires speeds up to 120km/h… Safe to say this isn’t a race for the faint of heart. Photo:: Supplied
Mountainwatch | By Reggae Elliss
Australia’s longest race, the G.H 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 Supertrail, and has over 200 competitors across the six divisions – Open Men and Women, amateur men’s, veterans, men’s snowboard and women’s snowboard.
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 and to say they are fast is an understatement. 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!
Enjoy a champagne breakfast at Kareela Hutte and watch the action unfold. Photo:: Supplied
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.
These views are usually reserved for groomers and ski patrol. Photo:: Reggae Elliss
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 weekends 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.
Kareela Hutte is as much a stage as the slopes themselves. Photo:: Supplied
Then the G.H 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 and producer Jesse Porches plus Elizabeth Rose, Moza and Commanduer also playing some beats. Over the past few years, this has been the après party not to miss.
The Apres is a definite highlight with many competitors celebrating having made it to the bottom in one piece. Photo:: Supplied
After 115cms of snow over the past few days 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 good, the Grasshopper is calling for cold nights this week, great for snowmaking, followed by a few centimetres of snow on Friday night which will put a nice layer of snow on the Supertrail, perfect for the race on Saturday morning.
It is going to be a huge weekend, so get up to Thredbo and be part of it.