By Taylor-Ann Smith
Montana Pond Hockey Classic
February 19-21 / Kalispell, Montana
Established by Scott Crowder, son of former Boston Bruins coach Bruce Crowder, the Pond Hockey Classic tournament first took place in New England in 2009, and featured 77 teams. The event has since exploded, and the 2015 Classic saw 450 squads compete between New Hampshire, New York City, Vermont and Montana.
Returning to Kalispell for the third year, the Montana Pond Hockey Classic promises another epic tournament on Foys Lake in the shadow of the Mission Mountains. With two days of hockey, vendors, a community skating rink, snow bike demos, and a Tamarack Brewing Company beer garden, this Classic entertains the whole family and brings ice hockey back to the basics.
Karen Oatey Pole Pedal Paddle Race
March 26 / Jackson, Wyoming
As powder season melts into spring, Jackson, Wyoming, throws one last hoorah to celebrate. The Karen Oatey Pole Pedal Paddle is an annual tradition combining four activities in one epic race. Named in memory of the late 2015 participant Karen Oatey, the relay’s competitors vie for cash prizes and rad gear in four disciplines: alpine and Nordic ski, bicycle, and boat.
Starting at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and ending at the Snake River Sporting Club, the event takes racers through Jackson and finishes off with an awards ceremony featuring killer BBQ and locally brewed beer. Most importantly, the Pole Pedal Paddle raises funds for the nonprofit Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club, which provides affordable winter programs for youth.
Mad Wolf Winter Relay Race
February 27 / Big Sky, Montana
Modeled after the Pole Pedal Paddle, the first annual Mad Wolf Winter Relay Race will lead competitors through Big Sky’s best winter recreation venues. Starting at Big Sky Resort and finishing at Lone Mountain Ranch, the Mad Wolf begins with an alpine ski/snowboard segment, transitions to a cross-country ski leg, and ends with contestants racing on snowshoes or bikes to the finish line.
Proceeds from the event will support the Big Sky Ski Education Foundation in its mission to promote quality ski programs for area kids. Dust off that 80s one-piece and grab your wig – costumes are encouraged in order to keep spirits high and fun abundant.
This story was first published in the winter 2016 issue of Mountain Outlaw magazine.