Australia’s longest downhill race, the iconic Thredbo Top to Bottom, presented by Mumm, was run and won today in ideal conditions with Olympians and local legends claiming the prestigious titles.
It’s long, fast and early, it makes your eyes water and your thighs burn and this year a record field of riders lined up for the 28th running of the iconic race.
There were 286 competitors across eight categories racing to the finish line for their share of the $25,000 in cash and prizes. The event saw a stacked field of current and past Olympians along with everyday riders ranging in ages 18 to over 70 years.
There was a snow storm brewing as competitors lined up at 1937m above sea level, ready to run, race and drop 600 vertical metres to the large crowd waiting in the village below.
“This was one of best Top to Bottom races we have had. The weather was ideal and the snow conditions were fantastic. The course had 35 control gates, we opened it up adding longer straights giving more opportunities for overtaking making for exciting racing,” said Adam Hosie, Thredbo Snow Sport Director and Chief of Course.
Olympic silver medallist, snowboarder Jarryd Hughes, raced his first top to bottom, coming in a smooth second to last year’s winner Jye Kearney.
“What a race, a high-altitude sprint in your snow gear then a race to the bottom, lucky I have been in training for the Olympics, a great event. I will be back next year with snap in bindings,” laughed Hughes.
Olympian Scott Kneller used his home mountain advantage by leading all the way and notching up his seventh win of the open men’s event.
“I was sixth in the run, then hit the lead at the top and maintained it to the finish. I love this event, coming up with your friends, on the mountain before the sun rises and head to head racing on a long fresh course, there is nothing like it,” said Kneller.
In the hotly contested open women’s snowboard, local Wiki Jones was riding for her sixth victory but was pipped on the line by Jindabyne young gun boardercross rider Georgia Baff.
“I love racing Wiki, I knew it would be tough she’s so fast. I’m pumped to take the win – super fast, super fun and great vibes,” said Georgia.
It was a big day out for World Cup ski racer Zali Offord who not only blitzed the open women’s ski field to take the win but was also the fastest on the day across the male and female categories clocking 1:58 down the 2.5km course, that’s an average of 75km per hour.
“You just have to go fast, there is no pacing, you just have to go hard the whole way down,” she said.
Revving up the racers was a large slope side crowd who gathered at Kareela Hutte for a champagne breakfast, magic sunrise and front row seats to the action.
Open Women’s Ski – Zali Offord
Open Women’s Snowboard – Georgia Baff
Masters Women’s Ski – Elke Haege
Open Men’s Snowboard – Jye Kearney
Open Men’s Ski – Scott Kneller
Amateur Men’s Ski – Charlie Hyles
Masters Men’s Ski – Alex Cooke
Veteran Men’s Ski – Adam Karalus
The Top to Bottom showcases Thredbo’s long runs and vertical terrain, it really does test even the strongest riders. The big bonus is you are on the mountain on dawn and get to ride it at your own speed.