Conquering the King

(Photo courtesy RLT Photography) Chrystal Cooper celebrates after being crowned Queen of the Mountain at the World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climbs held at Snow King Mountain Resort in Jackson.

 

Sundance native Chrystal Cooper has earned the distinction of becoming the first ever snowmobile queen from Crook County. Cooper’s performance at the weekend’s World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb in Jackson saw her net two first place finishes, one third place and the ultimate title of Queen of the Mountain.

The local talent had hoped to improve on her record at the notoriously tough Jackson event, but didn’t expect to walk away with the crown. Even moving into the finals, she had little inkling of what she’d achieve by the end of the day.

“I did not qualify like I wanted to. They only took six out of ten riders to the final and I did not qualify very well, though I made it into those six,” she explains.

On finals day, Cooper refocused – and it paid off. Her first run saw her net a first place, while reminding her just how vertical the course really is.

“I was very, very, very scared – I went down and asked my dad, ‘Why am I doing this?’,” she laughs.

“It’s so steep!”

The successes kept on coming.

“I had two more runs after that and, for my second run, I got third, though I would have hoped to have done better. The last run, I got first,” she says.

With two first place finishes under her belt, Cooper now qualified twice for the final event: the queen run, where the overall champion would be named.

“If you win first place in the finals you’re entered into the queen run. I got two queen runs and there was one other girl, so I had two chances and she had one,” she says.

“I beat her on my second chance.”

The steep course is designed to be a challenge, with obstacles along the way that a competitor must think fast to avoid.

“At the catwalk, there was a huge snow wall where you had to be thinking ahead to pick the line you wanted to take. I’d already seen it – you can see it from the bottom – but it’s so much steeper when you get there,” Cooper says. “Once you get to it, you have to think fast and you have no time to stall.”

On the final queen run, Cooper says, she hit that wall perfectly and went just far enough to beat her opponent. There, she stopped, secure in her victory.

Not to mention surprised. Cooper was by no means overconfident before the event, she says.

“I always had some doubt, but I will say that you can’t do the job half done. You either have to want it or you don’t,” she says. “You have to be self-motivated and driven.”

Will she return next year to defend her title? That depends, she says, on her studies.

“School’s getting really busy,” she says. “I want to, but school is first.”

Cooper’s final results included first place in the Women’s 800 Stock and Women’s Modified and third place in Women’s Improved Stock. She also took the overall title of Queen of the Mountain.

Cooper is sponsored by Sundance State Bank, Hughes Law Firm, Hoby Hughes, Matt and Denise Ebzery, Hall Widdoss Company and her family. Factory sponsors include Skidoo, Star Valley Skidoo, Ray Carter Race Team, Trygstav Motorsports, Crank Shop Performance, J&T Performance, SCS Wraps, Klim, Straight Line Performance and Fox Shox.