With the 20th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championshipon the horizon in October, Sunday River Resort is set to host the World Snowshoe Wife Carrying Championship on April 20, 2019, at the resort’s Barker Mountain Base Area.
This new take on wife carrying—a sport born in Finland that dates back centuries—was created in 2011 by Scott Berk and Erik Person of Norway, Maine. The event tasks teams of two with completing a 278-yard obstacle course for the fastest time, while racing against another pair. The catch is that one team member will be carried by the other while running through a slalom course, over a tall snow hill, and then through a mogul field. The fastest two teams will advance onto the final heat.
“We’re thrilled to be the host of this year’s World Snowshoe Wife Carrying Championship,” says the resort’s Director of Events, Caroline Ochtera. “The fall wife carrying event has become such a spectacle that welcomes competitors from all over, and has garnered international media coverage.”
For the winter event, the carrier must wear snowshoes, and has the option of wearing a belt for the carried partner to grasp onto. The carried team member must wear a helmet and goggles. Teams cannot advance on the course if the carried partner is dropped. He or she must be mounted properly before continuing on, or they will be disqualified from the competition. Any carrying tactic is allowed, so long as the carried partner does not touch the ground. The Estonian carry, which looks like an upside-down piggy-back, tends to be the most successful.
Prizes will be given to the top three teams, as well as the fastest team with a combined age over 80, and the fastest team with a combined weight over 350 lbs. Contestants need not be related but must be over the age of 21. A maximum of 50 teams will be allowed to compete. Registration is open now and costs $25 per couple.
The World Snowshoe Wife Carrying Championship will be made more festive by the resort’s annual Great Tailgate event, which encourages skiers and snowboarders to enjoy spring conditions and a themed tailgate with live music.