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The 2019 Snowmobile Drag Races

Arialle Hess

This calendar year is packed with new and improved events at Bear Creek Mountain Resort, but amongst them is one particular event that doesn’t always get its perennial glory; the Snowmobile Drag Races. Due to snow conditions and weather circumstances, these races don’t always happen. Spring hits early and the slopes start to melt, leaving a fun mashed-potato mess for skiers and riders, but not enough for these high-octane monsters on skis. This past winter was a success with plenty of snow to end out the 18/19 season with Cardboard Box Races, Pond Skimming, and of course, the beloved Snowmobile Drag Races.

Most people who either work or play at Bear Creek are classified as skiers, snowboarders, or snowtubers, but being a part of the “snowmobile” gang is something rare in the winter sports world of Pennsylvania. Racing these expensive sleds is definitely a niche, but come race day, with 370 sled registrations and 1,500 spectators, this is one popular sport. On Sunday, March 24th, men, women and kids from all over the East Coast (US and Canada) traveled to Bear Creek to continue the circuit series and compete for the day’s top prize of $1,200. With sled inspection beginning at 6:30AM and races running until 8PM, it is one long day of drag racing, but employees, guests and racers all have smiles on their faces in excitement for this once-a-year event at the resort.

There are a lot of moving parts to get this race up and running, and the Bear Creek team did a flawless job executing it. Throughout the day you could smell the burgers sizzlin’ on the outdoor grill, grab beer from various stations spread out across the resort’s exterior, and listen to a live band on the deck. And because the drag strip is the main run on the front-side of the mountain, you can walk around the base area or up and down the slope and always have a good view of the races. Sleds were sent up the mountain every few minutes, so there never came a dull moment. Whether you were drawn in by the feeling of the revving, beefy engines, or by seeing the old school vintage sleds, every class got attention. Even during the breaks to resurface the drag strip, people were awed to see the massive PistenBully groomers in action. These machines that go unseen by most people throughout the winter were debuted, sinking in the reality of the work that goes behind making east coast winter events possible.

Even if this motor sport doesn’t appeal to you, the pure event atmosphere is enough to entice you to at least check it out. Hearing (and feeling) the revving engines and seeing the racers fly up a mountain at over 100mph, this head to head racing style will catch anyone’s eye, even if just for a moment to see who will cross the line first. It’s traditional drag racing, with different scenery.

This unconventional event was a success for Bear Creek and added a dynamic to the 2019 events calendar. The resort is striving to incorporate more events that utilize the 330-acre property to its fullest and expose everything Bear Creek has to offer to those near and far.

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