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    The 2018 World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimbs in Jackson Hole, Wy.

    Posted by Ryan Thompson
    on Monday, March 26, 2018

     The 2018 Jackson Hole World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb hosted by the Snowdevils got under way this past weekend and as usual it did not disappoint. If you are not familiar with this event you really need to add it to your bucket list of “must see” events.

    Held each year in March for the past 42 years in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at Snow King ski resort, this event brings the top snowmobile enthusiasts and athletes in the world together for 4 days of turbo packed action and carnage to see who will lay claim to the title of “King of the Mountain” and give their brand of steed bragging rights as the best. The manufactures pay out big money to the winners, so if money is an incentive Jackson is the place to make more in 1 min. Than some make in a year.

    This race also boasts the craziest hill help in the world. What is hill help?  Pretty much no way to describe them since they are a breed of their own. They are the unsung heroes at this event, throwing their bodies in front of $40,000 - 400+ pound sleds that are hurling down the 60 degree slope to see if they can stop them from being destroyed.

    Whether it is the hill help having teeth knocked out, sleds being destroyed or watching someone fly up the hill on a boosted sled at 40+ mph with track speeds pushing 90 mph the crowd gets to witness it all from the sidelines and sometimes up close and personal when riders go astray from the course and sometimes end up in the crowd.

     I have a unique perspective because I get to photograph this event, as such I am up close and personal with the athletes. And many times I actually become a part of the action on the hill, this year was no exception, dodging skis and sleds coming at me on full boost and a fist full of throttle with drivers that have no intention of letting off if I end up in there path, all just to get that one spectacular shot.

    How it works
    Racers qualify for the first 3 days in different classes from stock to mod and then finals are on Sunday, this is the day that all bets are off and racers typically push themselves harder than ever. Emotions are extremely high since everything these guys have prepped for all year leads up to a 1 min. Run up this behemoth that is waiting to eat them alive with its rock teeth and spit them out in pieces.

     Keith Curtis (Polaris Factory Rider) has been the most winning athlete on the RMSHA (Rocky Mountain States Hillclimb Association) hillclimb circuit and as such has been the undisputed king of hillclimbing. For the past almost 10+ years we have watched Keith Curtis and Kyle Tapio (Arctic Cat Factory Rider) battle it out for the title of King of Kings. This year there was a shift in the force as Polaris Factory Rider Justin Thomas made it known in no uncertain terms he was a force to be reckoned with putting down the fastest time with a 1.00.63 min. run bringing home the title of King of Kings. Justin also won mod king while Factory teammate Luke Rainey showed his Jedi roots by bringing home the stock king and improved king titles.

     The women also duked it out for title of Queen of the hill with Ski-Doo factory rider Jadian Pfaff bringing home the crown and putting down an impressive run over the top.
    Polaris rider Sam Peterson also had an incredible run up and over and laid claim to Semi-Pro King and in the Juniors, Polaris rider Cole Thomas brought home the crown in his class.

    There are four more races left on the RMSHA this season with the next race kicking off in Pinedale, Wy. This weekend at White Pine Ski Resort. And the season finishing up with the points finals up at Grand Targhee ski resort in Wyoming on April 21st and 22nd. For more information on the season you can visit www.rmsha.net and to see all of the results from the Jackson Hole world Championship Hillclimb visit the Snowdevils page at www.snowdevils.org

     For more pics and video visit www.rltphotos.com

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