Fighting for a chance

Local snowmobilers look to qualify for Winter X Games

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— Local snowmobilers trying to qualify for next year's Winter X Games will be at Steamboat Ski Area this weekend.

Hillcross races will be staged on Voo Doo on Saturday and Sunday, providing professional and semipro riders with the chance to earn a trip to next year's X Games extravaganza, aired on ESPN and ABC. Two riders, the winner of the pro and winner of the semipro race, automatically qualify for the X Games.

"Hopefully, a couple local guys will get the automatic spots," Chris Brown said.

Brown, a Steamboat Springs resident, is one of 50 riders registered for the event.

Anyone interested in racing in the junior, sport, semipro or pro divisions can register at 6 p.m. Friday at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.

There are different qualifications for each division, but the winners from the semipro and pro divisions are the only ones who receive bids to the X Games hillcross competition.

Hillcross is a fast, uphill race over manufactured jumps.

Saturday and Sunday, the riders will be launching off four to five jumps as they race up Voo Doo.

"There should be some pretty good air," Brown said. "There should be some good crashes, too, which is always fun for the spectators."

Action Motor Sports will have snowmobiles at the base of the ski mountain to shuttle people up to Voo Doo to watch the race.

"The more fans that show up, the better it's going to be," Brown said.

Hillcross has been a part of the X Games for three years and is a relatively new sport.

Craig resident Bobby Hankins participated in the most recent X Games in Aspen. He also is racing this weekend.

Racers in each category must meet certain qualifications.

Junior racers have to be from 14 to 17 years old. The sport division is for beginners, and within the division racers are classified based on the size of their snowmobile's engine: 440, 600 and 800 cc.

The semipro will have more classifications, and the pros can have sleds with up to 250 horsepower.

Certain protective gear is required. Further questions can be answered on registration night.

Races on both days start at 10 a.m.

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