Revelstoke hillclimbs wrap up WCHA’s first season

It was a thrilling weekend of full throttle, uphill race action

by Kirsten Armleder

A man on a white and green Arctic Cat riding up a hillclimb.
Riders at the 1st Annual Revelstoke Hillclimb Races dealt with sun, snow and even rain. Snow on the course was a bit scarce at times but everyone still had fun. Steve Shannon Photography

Whether you follow the world of competitive snowmobiling or not, chances are you’ve probably heard of the World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Well, an event much like this one took place in Revelstoke, B.C., on April 18 to 20, 2014—and it drew a crowd of some big-name riders.

The 1st Annual Revelstoke Hillclimb Races—which was hosted by the Revelstoke Mountain Resort and the new Western Canadian Hillcross Association (WCHA)—saw the likes of Carl Kuster, the Backus brothers and the Micku boys from Top Secret Shop. Pro big mountain rider Nadia Samer from Whistler, B.C., also made an appearance.

A total of 47 racers showed up for the event, and about 200 spectators came out each day to watch them tackle the challenging course that was laid out by Brandon Micku and Tyler Backus. According to Tyler Collett, who is the president of WCHA, the numbers were lower than expected but that was partially due to the race being scheduled at such short notice.

Collett is hoping for a better showing next season. Yes, it has been confirmed that the event will be taking place again next season. In fact, plans are already being made for the Revelstoke Mountain Resort to be the venue for both the WCHA’s season opener and its final race of the season.

The goal is to grow

The WCHA was formed earlier this year with the intent to bring hillclimb racing back to Western Canada and grow the sport of snowmobiling in general. Next year, the WCHA would like to have separate classes for pro and amateur racers, as well as the women’s-only class and a class for the kids.

“Some of my best memories as a kid were sledding in big family groups on lakes and trails and that’s not as common as it once was,” said Collett. “So hopefully, by bringing the family element to our races, we can also bring it to the industry.”

The WCHA only held one other event this season, and it took place in Dawson Creek, B.C., at the Bear Mountain Ski Hill. The Dawson Creek hillclimb races saw a better turnout than the ones in Revelstoke but Collett was impressed with the support competitors gave each other at both events. He said when racers broke down, other racers generously loaned each other their sleds and parts, and helped each other when they needed help fixing sleds.

The snowmobile gear and apparel company MotorFist, as well as Top Secret Shop and Backus Racing, also stepped up to the plate by sponsoring the WCHA. Collett said a lot of companies have shown interest in the WCHA, and that he and the other executive members are hoping to get them on board for next season—which would probably mean a bigger payout for racers and more for spectators to enjoy.

The first race of the WCHA’s 2014-2015 season has been tentatively set for November 22 and 23, 2014. Watch the association’s website and Facebook page for updates. 

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