The Doug and Rollie Smith Memorial Downhill has been one of the longest running downhill races in the country. The race was started at Big Mountain (now Whitefish Mountain Resort) well over 50 years ago.
The race ran as a junior downhill through most decades-sometimes as a qualifier for Junior Olympics. More recent years saw it run as a NORAM.
Negotiations between Whitefish Mountain Resort and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) got boggled this fall over the site fee for the NORAM. The resort had asked for an increased site fee from USSA to cover the rising costs associated with hosting the event.
Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation also took part in the negotiations to help out the resort, working out a deal in which the foundation would guarantee entry fees and USSA would create an additional per-competitor surcharge to fund the race. But before the deal was sealed, Mammoth Mountain in California moved in to accept a lower site fee to host the NORAM.
"Obviously, this is a big disappointment for the resort and the community considering the history of this race," said Graves. "Our history is important to us. I'm optimistic that the USSA will evaluate their funding so we can bring back this historic race in the future. It is a point of pride for us, because we are one of the few resorts in the country with the terrain necessary to host a downhill ski race of this caliber."
- Snow Reports