Utah Hosts Qualifier for Powder 8 World Championships

Utah has been selected for the U.S. qualifying events for the Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing Powder 8 World Championships this winter. Powderbird—the famed Utah heliskiing operation—will host a national championship qualifying event from January 22-24 and a world championship qualifying event at the U.S. Powder 8 National Championships from February 5-7. Thanks to its trademark Greatest Snow on Earth, the Wasatch Range is a natural fit and the perfect venue for a powder skiing competition that’s returning to prominence in 2020.

Photo Courtesy of Powderbird

A powder 8 competition is a synchronized freeride competition in which a pair of skiers make turns in unison down a powder-filled slope while attempting to leave perfectly uniform 8s in the snow. Powder 8 competitions were all the rage in the 80s and 90s after Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing launched the annual competition. Between the rise of the X Games and freeskiing’s inclusion in the Olympics, the powder 8 fell out of favor, relegated to anachronistic enthusiasts and people who grew up idolizing T.J Burke and Dexter Rutecki in Aspen Extreme. 2020’s World Championships look to resurrect the Powder 8s and return them to the glory of its heyday as the pinnacle of the freeskiing.

The Powder 8 Pre-Qualifiers will take place out of the Powderbird heliport at Snowbird from January 22-24, 2020. The one-day event will feature eight teams, which will be judged in a head to head competition. The top four teams will move on the Powder 8 U.S. Nationals, held between February 5-7 also out of Powderbird’s Snowbird location. The top teams from the U.S. Nationals will head to the Powder 8 World Championships in Blue River, British Columbia from March 31 through April 3. The two-day, 16-team event will see competitors from the United States, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Canada.

For those of you who think you have what it takes to challenge for the Powder 8 crown, you can register for the pre-qualifiers at Snowbird by calling Powderbird at 801-341-2452. The cost for each team accepted into the pre-qualifiers is $500.

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Tony Gill
Tony Gillhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
Tony Gill is the outdoor and Park City editor for Salt Lake Magazine and previously toiled as editor-in-chief of Telemark Skier Magazine. Most of his time ignoring emails is spent aboard an under-geared single-speed on the trails above his home.

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