A Photo Journal from the Last Skier Standing
An event hosted by ski the whites in jackson, nh.
NELSON BROWN 〡 March 7th, 2022
It’s 6am on Monday, the third consecutive day of The Last Skier Standing (LSS) event. After almost two whole days spent skiing came the 46th lap with racers: Brody Leven, Ben Eck, and Rich Connell remaining from a field of what was close to 100 skiers and riders on the first day. While the format of this ultra endurance event is strikingly simple, participating in this unique event takes mental and physical grit beyond anything I have ever witnessed.
Participants ski one lap every hour on the hour until there is only one skier left standing.
The skin starts at the top of every hour with a little over 1,000ft of vert to climb with each lap. At the summit, comes the transition from skin to ski and back down to Black Mountain’s base where the racers then decide what method of refueling would be advantageous to them. Like clockwork, the racers skied between the flags, transitioning again from skis to skins, so as not to waste a minute's time and to prepare themselves for the next round. With an average of fifteen minutes before the next hour, skiers had to decide whether to eat, to sleep or to refresh layers before they were asked to toe the line for another lap.
Conversations were simple now and almost always started or ended with “what lap are we on” as the only consistent changing variables felt like the amount of daylight and the changing temperatures. Then, by lap 57 at 10pm on Monday night, Rich Connell had dropped, leaving Ben and Brody the last two on the course heading into the third night. Ben Eck who held the title for LSS in 2021 kept with Brody Leven for an additional 7 laps before making the tough decision to call it.
At 3am on Tuesday morning, Brody set out to complete his 65th lap, 169.2 miles skied, 69,000ft of vertical gain and 65 hours of continuous skiing to claim the title of the Last Skier Standing.
The 2021 Last Skier Standing, Ben Eck, hails from Somerville, MA and has once again put in some serious miles for this event completing 64 laps. Ben used LSS as a way to promote and bring awareness to Native Land Conservancy and was able to fundraise $5,180.
Traveling from Salt Lake City, UT, Brody Leven is a professional human-powered skier and story teller who heard about this event though his sponsor, Fischer Skis. As a volunteer and environmental activist in the outdoor industry, Brody also coupled this event with fundraising efforts. Leven encouraged folks to pledge $1 per lap they thought he'd complete and raised over $5,000 to support climate solutions through Protect Our Winters (POW).
No different from other events hosted by Andrew Drummond and Monte Mclndoe, of Ski The Whites, this event at its core is about the community and the people. From the racers who build a common bond by supporting each other's endeavors and achievements to the people who come together and support the ski culture through what feels like a time warp. Big thanks to all efforts and programs put on by STW to help bring community and elevate the back country scene in the White Mountains.
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