Surprise and Drama at the Gelande Quaffing Quaffifier

Controversy, drama, and major upsets at the Montana Classic

Video: the finals of the second annual Greater Yellowstone SubRegional Quaffifier

The second annual Greater Yellowstone SubRegional Quaffifier, hosted by Big Sky Resort in southwest Montana, was full of surprises, upsets, and nearly unspeakable drama.

Gelande quaffing is an activity meant for gentlemen and ladies of only the highest class. The best teams are professionals of style, creativity, athleticism, grace, and the ability to guzzle absurd amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time. Some may mistake this event as a drinking game. Others may insist it’s something reserved for those whose only wish was that they were not too old for Greek Life. Both groups would be wrong. Like war or tribal coming-of-age rites, quaffing is a destiny that chooses you.

Gelande quaffing has quickly become the pemier après skiing event in the world. That is in no small part due to the unparalleled drama showcased last week at Big Sky, the hosts of the second annual Quaffifier, the winners of which qualify for the most important event in skiing: The Gelande Quaffing World Championships in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The rules of the game are not complicated. 1. Throw the beer. 2. Catch the beer. Two points for a handle grab. A full minute of tossing and pounding and spinning and falling wasn’t enough to decide the winners of the first round matchup between Beehive Brewing and Salomon. They would settle the tie with the most nerve-wracking moment in sports: a quaff off. One throw, one catch, winner take all. The crowd hushed. The players waited for the go-ahead… and then… another tie! It was a double quaff off! Ultimately, local Big Sky hero and Salomon representative Brit Barnes prevailed, out-pacing the professional-looking drinker from the brewery.

Check out David Reddick’s full gallery from Powder Week, which includes images from the Quaffifer.

The surprises did not subside in the quarterfinals. Lead by its indelible spiritual leader Erik Anderson, Salomon found itself in another quaff off against Mike McCabe and Fiberglass Friends. In what could have just been one quaff off too many for the French-based company, Salomon conceded victory after a dropped pint. Better Late than Pregnant, earning a bye as the reigning Quaffifier champions, were heavy favorites. But what was this? Toes beyond the catching line, slips, falls, dropped mugs, and broken hearts, the boys of yesteryear glory looked rusty, perhaps bloated on pride but certainly unprepared for the competition. They couldn’t lock it up enough to outscore the POWDER Skirts, a bunch of rookies who all of a sudden had momentum.

Elsewhere in the early rounds, POWDER Magazine, the reigning runners-up, managed to eek a couple of wins despite having three rookies on its team. After the bracket was doctored a few times—the judges let Salomon back in the competition because they realized they needed another team, and the matchups were altered for maximum dramatic effect—the finals put the upstart POWDER Skirts against the upstart POWDER Pants (Magazine).

If you’re lucky, there comes a time in the athlete’s life where their entire life’s work boils down to one moment. For the quickly aging competitors in the finals of the Quaffifier, this was that time. While each team tried to dance away the nerves between rounds, the moves did little to mitigate the importance of the moment. Once the beat dropped, the crowd witnessed a level of focus they may not have previously thought possible for a group of such intoxicated participants. Both teams did everything they could in that two minutes (which you can watch in the above video) to creatively drink beer and not vomit on the crowd. The verdict? The judges, perhaps feeling slightly malicious, or maybe just recognizing the crowd wasn’t ready to go home, made a declaration: A Super Final Quaff Off! One more minute of antics.

In the end, the POWDER Skirts convinced the judges they were the top of the Montana quaffifier quaffing class. The crowd, knowing it had just witnessed one of the greatest sporting moments in history, went nuts. Everybody danced—and the POWDER Skirts booked their flights to Jackson.

Want more quaff? Check out our feature from September.