The River Fund Maine announces the date for its inaugural Master of The Mountain challenge, which is unlike any other ski event in the U.S. and, arguably, the world. Combining the excitement of downhill skiing with the precision of a timed automotive road rally, the event — being held on Sunday, March 14 — raises money to support youth in the community, the fundamental mission of The River Fund Maine.
Hosted at Sunday River Ski Resort, the pace of Master of The Mountain is intended to be challenging and relies heavily on strategy rather than pure speed and recklessness. The goal is to come as close as possible to the ideal predetermined time on each segment except for one, where speed is required: the giant slalom courses in the Race Arena.
The winners will be selected by tallying how close each participant comes to the ideal time as established by a pro who has plotted the course. Precision and skill are necessary for success.
Noah Tanguay-Collins, TRFM’s executive director, comments, “We are excited to officially launch Master of The Mountain following its delay last year, our initial plan for the inaugural race in March 2020 being postponed due to COVID-19. To hold the event this year, we have been working tirelessly with the Sunday River Resort team on how we could safely execute it. We’ve worked to eliminate contact points, staff timing stations to ensure social distancing, and move as many elements of the registration and celebration to virtual platforms, ensuring the highest level of safety for our participants.”
Competitors will face the mountain in two categories: the Elite Challenge which includes the most challenging black and double black diamond trails at Sunday River and is designed for participants ages 16-plus; and, the Advanced Challenge, on single black and blue trails which is open to all ages.
“The Master of the Mountain is a unique event, and not just for the strategy that each competitor must use to be successful,” says Sunday River’s Director of Events and Competitions Greg Towle. “While we have been able to safely host competitions this winter amid the pandemic, the distanced nature of Master of the Mountain allows us to hold this event and help raise money for a great cause.”
Prizes will be awarded. There will be one overall winner from the Elite Challenge. This skier will be awarded a custom ski jacket and name inscription on the perpetual trophy which will be on display at Sunday River Resort, and, of course, the title of Master of The Mountain. The top three finishers in each competition category will be awarded logoed Master of the Mountain challenge beanies. The highest fundraisers will win lift tickets and the top fundraiser winning a Season Pass. All finishers receive a Master of the Mountain embroidered patch.
Participants may use contactless check-in on Saturday evening, March 13 at Sunday River, with a mandatory racer meeting, which will be held this year on a virtual call at 6:00 pm. It will be recorded for those who cannot view/participate live. The March 14 event day schedule follows:
• Contactless Registration/Check-In Saturday, March 13 from 2-4 p.m.; Sunday, March 14 from 7:30-8:30 a.m.
• Start Time at 9 a.m.
• Finish Time at Race Headquarters at 1 p.m.
• Virtual Award Ceremony at 4:30 p.m.
As 2021 participation is limited, registration is encouraged as soon as possible at riverfundmaine.org/events. In addition to registration, fundraising is required with minimums of $150 minimum for adults and $50 for youth. Registration fee is $50 but a discounted $50 Sunday River lift ticket is available for non-passholders on the day of.