I don’t know what would have been more frightening for the athletes at the Wrangle the Chute competition, jumping off massive cliffs and hoping they land on their feet, or trying to stay on top of E.J. Hector while your competitors try to buck you off.
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort’s fourth annual Wrangle the Chute was a success this year as athletes from all over Canada and the United States enjoyed 24 centimetres of fresh powder over the two-day event.
“Today is day one of two, and today has been absolutely fantastic,” said Eric Whittle, director of sales and marketing for Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. “We’ve had lots of snow, a lot of happy people watching at the bottom. Just great conditions to be hanging out here.”
Hundreds of spectators, some there for the day while others stopped by for awhile before they continued on their run, watched skiers and snowboarders brave the treacherous mountain terrain, and then kick off their gear and jump on the buck for a wild ride.
“So we have the big mountain free-ride competition, but then the neutralizer is that you’ve got the horse. And your fellow competitors are the ones that try to knock you off,” said Whittle of E.J. Hector, the buckin bronco that each competitor must ride after crossing the finish line.
E.J. Hector, pronounced ejector, is a horse held up by four bungee cords. The athletes jump on, and hold on for dear life as competitors shake Hector from all four corners.
“It has certainly become an iconic event for us, and we’re seeing past winners coming in, and other rippers trying to build on what they did previous years,” said Whittle.
“We have just over 50 athletes that are in the event this year. They’re all qualified athletes, you have to submit your resume to be part of the Wrangle the Chute competition.”
For more photos from Wrangle the Chute, go to www.thegoldenstar.net.