Skutskjutet - downhill for everyone!
In the Swedish winter Mecca of Åre the Alpine World Championships had barely ended when it was time for the next big ski party. Skutskjutet has become an institution in the ski resort when the winter season goes towards the end. Something as unusual as a downhill race for amateurs attracts lots of participants every year and this year 1518 skiers crossed the finish line.
The concept is easy. Two parallel slopes, one red and one blue. Start gate as usual in an alpine race and then as fast as possible down the slope and over the finish line. The 1,6 km long track had a new design for this year and it was a fast and fun slope for the participants to prove themselves in. The fastest skiers were the first to start in the morning and quite soon it was clear that Sebastian Lindblom was the fastest of them all. With the finishing time 59.80 he was the only participant that managed to go below the magic minute mark.
Class after class followed. Girls and boys. Children, youth and veterans. The youngest downhill skiers were not many days older than three years old. In addition there were also classes in telemark, cross country skiing (downhill!), team competition, and sitski where Anna Holmlund went down like a bullet for the winning time 01:21.21. A real family event where everyone was welcome!
For est mika:timing it was the first time we were given the opportunity to be in charge of the timing at Skutskjutet. The preparations started on Friday before the race when the timing equipment were digged into the snow at the start, split time and finish line. Several tests were performed in order to secure that the chips were read perfectly also in the high speeds. Then the slope was re-pisted. The Saturday started early with more tests to make sure that our timing loops had survived the piste basher. No problem, the piste driver was a pro!
Then it was downhill party from the first start at 8.00 until the last skier finished in the afternoon. After that the party moved to the main square in Åre. One of the nice features of Skutskjutet is that everyone have the same chances of winning prizes, regardless of your time. There were plenty of excited families hoping for the first prize – a brand new car!
One happy winner, but lots of happy finishers when summarizing a full day in perfect weather conditions. And at est mika:timing we now have another sport at our repertoire. We can do downhill skiing!