Tomfoolery abounds at Pinhead Classic

All manner of costumed fools came out to celebrate the 31st Annual Pinhead Classic this past Saturday, Feb. 28 at Bridger Bowl. With this year’s theme of summer camp, the event was a fundraiser for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. The Pinhead Classic celebrates the now retro, three-pin Telemark binding that was the standard for several decades. Those skiers that rocked those bindings were aptly named Pinheads.

Unlike most events at Bridger which deal with competition, this one is all about fun and games. During the day, skiers raced underneath the Alpine lift. The race was followed by a gathering at the Emerson Cultural Center for a silent auction, dinner and concert performed by the Kitchen Dwellers. Prizes were awarded for best costume, best crash and best trick — anything but first place.

First time spectators may have wondered why so many neon clad skiers were racing a slalom course with no visible finish line or timers. The Pinhead Classic focuses on celebrating an era and style, not about winning a race. The course was set up with two parallel gated runs, so that racers competed head-to-head. Two small jumps mid-course added excitement and confusion to the competition.

One contender, MSU fifth year senior Eric Gefell, showed up wearing a life jacket, board shorts, lime green sunglasses and carrying a whitewater raft paddle. He appeared slightly confused about the lack of water on the course, but nevertheless used his paddle to his advantage, bracing hard on the snow as he whipped his snowboard around the gates. When asked if the paddle was more of a hindrance than help Gefell responded, “No you dummy, how am I gonna knock the gates down without a paddle? Plus, I use it to paddle me through the flats.”

Other competitors rocked bright spandex, tutus, cowboy hats and onesies. A large crowd gathered at the starting line, hooting and hollering as friends took to the course. MSU sophomore Cody Ling won the best trick award. Dressed as a summer camp kid, he backflipped over his buddy Lance Swenson, who dressed as Jason from the movie “Friday the 13th.”

Nearing the end of the day, two naked competitors snaked their way onto the course, charging the gates side by side to an eruption of cheering from the crowd. One of the naked skiers, MSU senior Jonah Barta caught an edge on a botched 360, and went down hard as the crowd cheered even harder. Barta had no problem accepting the prize for best crash. He also confirmed that he sustained no serious injuries and that his skin will surely grow back quickly.