The Mind-Set Behind Hucking a Mandatory 60-Footer | Class 6, Moonlight Basin, MT

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Words & video by Big Sky local and Liberty Skis athlete Chris Rennau

(editors note:  This is likely the most difficult line at Moonlight Basin.  It’s a steep line into a mandatory 60-foot cliff that Chris has gathered the mental focus to hit 3 separate times.  On April 8th, 2013, he hit it twice.)

I’ve been looking at this cliff since I started skiing at Moonlight Basin about 4 years ago. Class 6 to me has always seemed like an obvious line, It’s what my eyes are drawn to every time I look at the headwaters. Each time I’ve gone for this cliff it’s fairly impromptu. One hike in the morning delivers amazing snow conditions and I think, “today is the day.”

Class 6 at Moonlight Basin, MT
Class 6 at Moonlight Basin, MT

The hardest part about this line is dealing with the fear. The first time I hit it in 2011, I did some pretty hard bruising to my shins from landing in the backseat.

Class 6 is accessed via a 30 minute hike up the headwaters ridge at Moonlight Basin. The hike is difficult when you know you’re going up there to ski this line. It gets pretty quiet. Your mouth gets dry. Only a few people have gone over it before me. Scot Livingstone (a fellow Vermonter and former ski patrol at Moonlight Basin) sent it a few years ago on tele’s. He almost stuck it. Lost a ski and tore some ligaments in his knee. 

 

Class 6 is so gnarly, that it was excluded from the 2013 Freeride World Tour Qualifier competition
Class 6 is so gnarly, that it was excluded from the 2013 Freeride World Tour Qualifier competition

A tourist rode up to the edge of it once, took off his board and tried to hike out. He fell off backwards and broke his leg.

People might call me crazy or stupid for doing this, but Class 6 is very personal for me. No one has ever stuck it. To me that is a huge challenge and huge invitation. I had a couple “oh shit” moments with my health this past year which have helped shape my fear management strategies. The biggest fear to me is to live with regret. I’d hate to be on my deathbed looking back on my life and regret not going for it.

Moonlight Basin, Montana
Moonlight Basin, Montana

You gotta give a shout out to Moonlight Basin Ski Patrol. They keep us safe and let us get rowdy on some pretty big terrain. There are a lot of resorts where this cliff would be a permanently closed area. At Moonlight there is just a sign. Caution: Cliff


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18 thoughts on “The Mind-Set Behind Hucking a Mandatory 60-Footer | Class 6, Moonlight Basin, MT

  1. Very impressive Chris. Not many would ever go for a line like that. Strong work, buddy.

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  2. I would hit it a little more skiers left with direction going skiers right. I watched a number of times and the angle is off just a bit. I’m sure you could stomp it with 80-120cms of fresh in there. It has the right angle. A little more snow blown in there would make the tranny a little smoother.

    Bad ass attempts. Not falling, not getting better.

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  3. Ketschek cliffs as I like to call them. Adam Ketschek was the first person I saw huck this feature. It is truly a huge commitment, probably the ballsiest line on Lone Peak. Definitely impressive watching Chris’ footage.

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  4. Can’t imagine skiing all that way then hitting that thing. Every turn I’d be wanting to stop and hike out. Big ups to you for sticking to that. And to hit it twice? badass.

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  5. I could stick it on my mongoose. Just gotta pull the mattresses. Even if you do rotate far enough, you’ll never stick it with those mattresses there.

    For real though, I don’t see you, or anyone “sticking” this HUCK because it’s simply that, a Huck. The height of 60′ doesn’t seem to be so much the problem as the distance traveled take off to landing (forward motion) to clear the slope of the cliff.

    Props on the commitment. Looks to me the take off to landing slope ratio doesn’t add up to properly stomp this. Can’t wait to be proven wrong!

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    1. This is definitely a stickable air. You will stick it as Chris as you are very close. Be patient, wait for the perfect conditions, visualize the stomp and the celebration on the runout. I am looking forward to your footage of the first successful mission next year.

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