Aerial Assault Team Flies High at 50 Below

by Paul Maraschiello



It was easily the coldest day I had skied in a long time. They were predicting chill factors of -75 degrees and they were not far off the mark. It was one of those days when you took a couple of runs and then headed in for hot chocolate. The snow was good but the air was a wee bit brisk. I took a few runs down the mountain while waiting for the show to begin. I purchased a new pair of goggles after the 1st run and although I had a hat on, my face was mostly covered by my goggles and a turned up turtle neck covered the bottom of my face. There was a little space between the skip of by hat and the goggles where the wind could get in. It froze my forehead so bad, that I had to stop halfway down the trail and rub my forehead with my hand. Tow runs and into the lodge was the schedule that day.



At noon, the show began. An electrifying aerial acrobatic skiing and snowboarding show was scheduled that after noon with a dazzling light show complete with fireworks, and high-energy music scheduled for the evening.



The team is made up of 12 world-renowned freestyle skiers and free-riding snowboarders performing simultaneous inverted aerial acrobatics of all degrees of difficulty. They amazed and dazzled the crowd with stunts ranging from one skier or rider in the air to the entire team together in one stunt! Some of these jumps propel the performers close to 40 feet in the air at speeds up to 45 miles per hour!



"We are thrilled to be here, doing what we love," says Olympic Gold medal-winner Phillippe LaRoche. "We have a great time interacting with the crowd. It's really rewarding to see them get caught up in the excitement."



The Budweiser Aerial Assault team was scheduled to perform Saturday and Sunday. My camera caught their performance Saturday as they demonstrated some of their high-flying stunts.



The show, choreographed to music was about 45 minutes in length and was performed on Spring Fling, above the Valley House lodge, at Lincoln Peak. It was FABULOUS, After, the aerialists signed autographs and chatted with their fans.



In between runs, there was an athlete doing tricks on a trampoline, so the action never quit. You would see him doing flips for a few minutes and then the skiers and snowboarders would come down the ramps and launch into the air. I was able to catch some of the fun on film, myself and Art Barrett got a great shot as he stood next to me. (Art is a photographer at Sugarbush that will take your photo at the top of the mountain for a fee). Rather than beguile you with my prose, I've decided to let the photos do the talking.

Sugarbush is a really great mountain with plenty to offer. The trails are seldom crowded and the conditions are always very good, even if it does get a little chilly from time to time.