The theme of the year was, without a doubt, parity. Three number one seeds went home licking their wounds after the first round, Michigan singlehandedly eliminated Vermont, and an eight-seed skated all the way to the finals. Voters whittled 32 teams down to two, Aspen verus Mount Washington, for a cross-border clash in the finals that threatened to destroy centuries of relative peace for a chance at the whole Throwdown enchilada. After a battle that lasted several days, Aspen emerged victorious and claimed the title for Ski Town Throwdown III.
In the first ever 64-ski area bracket, upstart Eaglecrest, owned by the city of Juneau, Alaska, made it through a stacked Great White North. They would face Crested Butte, the tiny town near Gunnison, Colorado, in a dramatic final. Both locales would host parties at bars, the entry to which demanded a vote for the home team. Ultimately, “CB” would emerge, out-drinking and out-voting Eaglecrest by the narrowest of margins in a dog-fight that lasted until the bitter end. The party that night at Kochevar’s was legendary. Crested Butte was never the same, as Whatever, U.S.A. can attest.
It was the inaugural Ski Town Throwdown final, and the local papers declared it an instant classic. Bozeman versus Rossland/Nelson. U.S. Versus Canada. Poutine versus fries. Flannel versus, well, flannel. For Bozeman, a chip on its shoulder wasn’t enough to overcome the greatest Canadian duo since Messier and Gretzky. Rossland and Nelson will forever be linked by the Throwdown’s first trophy. Valhalla indeed.