Climbing the King

Chrystal Cooper defends stock title at World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb

 

By Sarah Pridgeon

Becoming a world champion is something you really only expect to happen once in a lifetime, says local snowmobile racer Chrystal Cooper. While she was not able to repeat to repeat last year’s success as Queen of the Mountain, she was still able to defend her title in the stock class at the World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb in Jackson Hole last weekend.

“I guess two years in a row, back to back, is what it is,” she smiles.

(Photo courtesy RLT Photos) Chrystal Cooper makes a qualifying run up Snow King on Thursday.
(Photo courtesy RLT Photos) Chrystal Cooper makes a qualifying run up Snow King on Thursday.

Cooper became the first ever Jackson hillclimb queen from Crook County last year with two first place finishes, one third place and the title Queen of the Mountain. She felt she had a good chance technically to win again this year.

What stood out to Cooper from her victory last year was the gradient of the hill. Halfway up during that first winning run, she realized exactly how steep it is and was understandably scared.

“It doesn’t get easier on your mind, that’s for sure – it’s still steep. It wasn’t as icy though, so that was nice,” she says.

Also weighing on her mind was the knowledge that she no longer a rookie – this year, Cooper was defending a title.

“I felt a lot of pressure before just because of last year’s winnings and I wanted to defend what I won last year,” she nods.

“I feel like that pressure was eating at me more than it would have had I not won last year.”

After her win, during which she was among the few competitors who made it almost to the top of the steep hill, Cooper and her family celebrated with dinner and drinks, she says, but she was in bed by 9 p.m., resting after a grueling few days.

“My body is really beat up – I got run over a couple of times,” she says, recalling her sled rolling over her during subsequent runs up the mountain.

Cooper would like to make it three years in a row, but will first need to recover from surgery. She will be cutting her season short in mid-April to undergo reconstructive surgery on her foot, which occurred last April when her foot got stuck under her snowmobile and the ligaments were torn.

“I’m hoping the surgery will fix me up so that I can do it again next year,” she says, agreeing that it’s pretty neat to have defended a world title despite her injury.

Cooper would like to extend appreciation to all her sponsors for their support, including local sponsors Hughes Law Firm, Sundance State Bank, Hayhook Ranch, Longhorn Saloon & Grill, Hall Widdoss Co., J&T Performance Silencers, Hoby Hughes, Star Valley Skidoo, Starting Line Products, Carter Racing and her parents and grandmother.