Park City Mountain Resort’s Seven Summits Challenge draws participants for all kinds of reasons (w/video)
February 27, 2018
Jeff Dickson and Todd Moxley, both from Chicago, were wrapping up their five-day ski trip in Park City. But before they left, they had to do one more thing: the Seven Summits Challenge at Park City Mountain Resort.
Like many of the participants, they were hunting for something off the beaten path, which is exactly where the challenge would take them.
"We've done a small amount of hiking, but the hiking is going to be a big piece — knowing how to pace yourself," Moxley said before the start. He added that he and Dickson had gone down a few double black runs — the most difficult rating at PCMR — but they would be covering a lot of unfamiliar ground.
"My only concern is a lack of snow," Dickson said. "It might force some runs or lines that it's like, that's the only one."
Dickson and Moxley were two of more than 100 participants in the inaugural event. To complete the challenge, participants had to check in at seven high points, including Jupiter Peak, Scott's Bowl, Limelite, Dream Peak, Peak 5, Ninety-Nine 90 and Murdock Peak.
At the top of Scott's Bowl, Jason Samaniego and Erick Madrid took a break to eat granola bars and rehydrate after traversing from Jupiter Peak. As self-proclaimed Salt Lake locals, the two said the event drew them in as an opportunity to challenge themselves.
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"We grew up here, so once we heard about this challenge, we put ourselves to it for the street cred," Madrid said. "It's what they told us we needed, so we're here for the street cred."
Samaniego said they were looking forward to the descents, if not the hiking, and both said Scott's Bowl was probably the best skiing to be had that day.
"This drop is one of the biggest ones," Madrid said. "It's the highest peak that Park City offers, so I'm really excited for that."
At the top of Scott's Bowl, as with most of the other checkpoints, a lone resort employee stood with a clipboard between two vertical banners, which billowed from the wind coming over the top of the mountain. Skiers forming a line trudged up a short climb, checked in with the race employee, then dropped into the bowl.
If Scott's was the most rewarding section of the climb, Murdock Peak — generally the last climb participants undertook, though the order wasn't mandated — was probably the most grueling.
"It was exhausting," said Ryan Cook, 16, who attends Park City High School. "You were going up and it was like three steps, take a deep breath, then come back and do three more. All the way up."
Cook and Wyatt Pike, 17, were the first to finish the course, punching in at the Red Pine Lodge finish checkpoint in roughly 3 hours and 30 minutes (official times were not kept). Both saw the event as a chance to compete.
"I guess it wasn't a race, but at heart — in my heart — it was a little bit of a race," Pike said. "I was glad I finished first."