Ski Town Throwdown: The Elite 8 Matchup Previews
POWDER Editors and Contributors analyze the next round of match-ups
So you think your ski town is the best. Well don’t we all. But there’s only room for one at the top, and the people have spoken. From 64, we are down to the round of 8—the regional finals. Below are the matchup previews. Voting lasts two days this round. So click in to Facebook.com/PowderMag and cast your vote.
Rocky Mountain West Finals
Sun Valley, ID versus Crested Butte, CO
By Mike Rogge
My oh my look at what we have here. The 16-seed Sun Valley danced their way to the elite eight. The birthplace of POWDER magazine upset number one Grand Targhee in the first round and followed that impressive win by bitch slapping Silverton and Wolfcreek. In the third round, S.V. shot down the Air Force, beating Jackson Hole, to find themselves toe-to-toe with Crested Butte, one of the most dominant ski towns in the 2014 Throwdown.
CB, riding local pride and impressive video work from the likes of Chris Segal and Matchstick Productions, walked over the Snowbasin/Powder Mountain combo to face the social media giant that is Aspen/Snowmass. With clever catch phrases (Crested Butte – Where the beer flows like beer) and a solid voting party held at Kochevar’s, CB slayed their Colorado brother dragon and put a dent in the reputation of social media expert Digital Dave Amirault. In the third round, they too upset a big terrain mountain, handing Big Sky a giant loss to move into the elite eight.
“Sun Valley is going to be tough,” said Segal, CB’s marketing content coordinator, over the phone, “but Crested Butte has tougher terrain and we stick that everyday.”
“We’re both a little underrepresented in the snow department,” said Sun Valley local Gabe Schroeder. “They have gnarlier terrain, but do they have a better overall ski experience? I don’t think they do.”
One thing is for certain. Blood will be on the snow as one of these mountains moves to the final quad chair of mountains vying for the title.
Great White North Finals
Revelstoke, BC versus Eaglecrest, AK
By Mike Rogge
Revelstoke is the last remaining number one seed in the tournament. Stomping out Cypress, Whitewater, and Banff/Lake Lousie, a ski town with a lot of fight in it, Revelstoke is a giant looking to march its way to the final four. Riding big terrain and a band of gnarly locals, Revy wants this more than Toronto Mayor Rob Ford wants the media to cease to exist (and you thought I was going for crack joke, didn’t you?). Their elite eight matchup is no run through the park, which for the Revy skiers playing at home is a run on a mountain with consecutive manmade terrain features.
In the opposite corner is…Eaglecrest? Eaglecrest. Eaglecrest! In one of the biggest upsets of the entire tournament, Eaglecrest handedly defeated Ski Town Throwdown defending champion Red Mountain. The ski area out of Alaska has a thing for taking down big dogs, having defeated Whistler, Mount Washington, and the mighty Red to get here. Revelstoke will be a formidable matchup. To put this in movie terms, Eaglecrest is Rocky and Revelstoke is the Russian Ivan Drago. To explain that to Canadians, Rocky IV ended the Cold War. In this cold war (see what I did there?), will the little ski area that could knock down the titan or are they simply another Great White North opponent for Revelstoke to punch on their way to the final four? Set your Internet to Facebook.com/PowderMag, folks. The next two weeks are Pay-Per-View worthy.
The Far West Finals
Stevens Pass, WA versus Kirkwood, CA
By Kade Krichko
Break out the blue suede and grab your partner, it’s time to dance, folks. Elite 8 action rolls on with a best coast Bachata between the PNW’s Stevens Pass and Tahoe’s last hope, Kirkwood. Like a twerk-off between Shakira and Beyonce, this is one battle you can’t afford to miss.
To get here, Stevens smashed Mount Bachelor and then finished off another Tahoe competitor, Sierra-at-Tahoe. In the round of 16, the 12-seed closed the book on Mount Baldy’s fairytale, ending the 16-seed’s impressive tournament and the limited run Throwdown T-shirt that I still haven’t received in the mail (come at me bro!). Stevens will have its gloves full with two-seed Kirkwood, but with caffeinated tech Mecca Seattle just down the road, the Cascade competitor has a distinct edge in late night iPad voting.
Whether or not that edge will even factor in to this matchup is all up to those wily Taholes. Kirkwood is the last man standing from the NorCal paradise, brushing off South Lake rival Heavenly before eking out a victory over Squallywood and Alpine Meadows. They may have been knocking off their own, but Kirkwood repped its hood hard in the Sweet 16, dashing Schweitzer’s sweet dreams and taking its talents on to the round of 8. If the rest of Tahoe can wash that bitter taste out of their mouths, Kirkwood might have enough momentum to drop into the final four and take some sweet turns toward ski town immortality.
The Big East Finals
Mount Bohemia versus Mad River Glen
by Kade Krichko
In the spirit of No Shave November, we’re bringing our grooming standards to new lows. In fact, for our East Coast matchup between Mount Bohemia and Mad River Glen, we’re eliminating it completely.
Welcome to the wild, wild East, a region where rule followers finish last and untamed glades reign supreme. Through weeks of voting, East Coast America has separated the wheat from the chaff, and two of its wiliest ski towns remain. In one corner we have Mad River Glen, perennial all-star and a favorite of soul skiers everywhere. The Vermonsters only needed one chair to skate by Maine’s Sunday River and Sugarloaf, and a couple turns in Paradise to beat back fellow sap-sucker, Stowe. Channeling the good vibes of the Star Line Rhythm Boys, MRG hopes to knock off the top seed with the ghost of General Stark by its side.
They face off against Michigan’s Mount Bohemia, the 1-seed everybody doubted coming into the tournament. The UP-ers silenced critics by trouncing Mont-Tremblant and then dunked on New York’s Whiteface in the round of 32. Sugarbush made things interesting, but in the end, all 900 feet of Bro-hemian vertical muscled out a win and earned a berth in the Elite 8. In a double diamond world, Bohemia carries a handful of triples. Let that marinate for a second, then tell us how it tastes.
But if either team is going to emerge victorious, they’ll have to do it without the Groomer’s Alliance of America, who announced in a press conference late Tuesday that they would be pulling their support after both mountains refused to employ a single Pisten Bully operator this season. Sometimes it’s tough love in the world of Ski Town Throwdown.
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