February 4-5, 2017 was supposed to be year 2 of bringing back the GoPro Powder 8s Grand Nationals. Teams from the region trained for weeks on making that perfect turn, all while in unison with their partner. Unfortunately for competitors and spectators alike the low visibility, heavy snowfall, and dangerous avalanche conditions didn’t give competitors the window they needed to safely execute the event. The Teton County Search and Rescue helicopter was grounded Saturday and Saturday, which prevented them from doing avalanche mitigation on the Powder 8s face, which forced a cancellation of the event.
The group of competitors still had a blast all weekend – including this group ski down the Grand.
And here is Jackson Hole athlete Andrew Whiteford’s perspective:
Local Jackson teams who qualified at the local qualifiers and teams from Aspen, Sun Valley, Big Sky, Grand Targhee, Alta, Snow King, and Blizzard Skis showed up to take part in the competition. After the competitor’s meeting Friday evening, stoke levels were extremely high.
The comradery between the teams was great as local teams showed out-of-towners around the mountain on Saturday. Everyone was super excited to be here, and even though slightly bummed the event couldn’t happen, teams were still stoked to ski powder all weekend!
Sunday morning, the decision was made to cancel the event. The $10,000 prize money that was going to the winners was put up by GoPro. Other sponsors included Mammut, Blizzard, Marmot, Soul Poles, and Big Life Magazine. While it remains to be seen as if the event will continue into the future, we’re thankful for the competitors, judges and spectators who came out to support the event.