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Monday, February 7, 2000 -- Snowshoe, WV
Cupp Run Challenge
Story by Don Parks with photos by Marty Lamp and Don Parks

[Coverage/Recap] [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Team Results]
Pics: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]

Cupp Run
A great day for racing on Snowshoe's Cupp Run
The Cupp Run Challenge is notorious for coinciding with some of Snowshoe Mountain's most brutal weather (see the 1999 Cupp Run Challenge), but the 26th running on February 7, 2000, was a pleasant exception. The previous week's abundant snowfall allowed for excellent grooming to prepare the 1.25 mile giant slalom race course that covered 1,000 vertical feet. With the strong early morning winds settling down and the sun shining through intermittent clouds, the relatively tight GS gates were set and waiting for the first of over 100 competitors.

With $1,300 in cash on the line for the pro racers there was no room for mistakes, each skier was timed on a single run down the mountain. Still determined to push themselves for the best possible times, two of the first four pros ended their runs with DNFs. Chris Pittman, racing third, was not one of them as he put together a strong run and finished in 1:10.26 to momentarily claim the fastest time.

Chris Pittman
Chris Pittman concentrates on getting down hill as fast as possible
Pittman was aware, though, that the French Connection, Christophe Guinamaro and Francis Carninati, was waiting at the start to give it their best shots. The two French pros were certain to raise the bar and Pittman later said that he had hoped to just stay within a few seconds of their times. The Frenchmen didn't disappoint as Guinamaro hit the course fifth and tore through the gates in 1:07.38. Carninati attacked the course next and was even more impressive in clocking a 1:07.12.

Carninati and Guinamaro took home first and second place honors, respectively, with their times never seriously being challenged. Pittman's time also held as he took home third place money. When asked about the race Pittman said he had had a good run, but the best racers won. Expressing his admiration for their skills he went on to say, "I could have had a perfect run for my abilities and they'd have still done better."

Philip Perkins
Philip Perkins, older and faster than most of them
In the women's field of racers, the J1 Women (Juniors age 17-19) lit up the course setting the three fastest times. Sarah Dockery had a spectacular run to finish best among the women, not to mention a 15th overall finish, with a time of 1:19.03. Taking second was Laura Phillips (1:23.68) while Jillian Huber (1:25.40) set the third best mark.

Some of the other strong amateur finishes included the J2 (15-16) Men's winner, first amateur and fith overall finisher, Spencer Reed (1:12.76). The second overall amateur in the men's field was the Men's 20-29 winner Nathan Schwing (1:13.51), who placed 6th overall. The third overall amateur was the J3 (13-14) Men's winner John Rust with a time of 1:16.61. A final kudos goes to the unofficial Masters Champion, Philip Perkins, who finished 10th overall and first in the Men's 50+ class clocking a 1:17.27.

Regardless of the finish, the awards party was full of smiles as everyone seemed to enjoy the great conditions on the challenging Cupp Run course. They'll be hoping for more great conditions next year along with another great group of pro and amateur racers. While the weather can't be controlled, you can always count on the staff of Snowshoe Mountain to put on the best race possible. So make plans now to have your best skiing ready for the 2001 Cupp Run Challenge.