AURORA — The installation of the new, high-speed chair lift “Sarajevo Express” at Giants Ridge made things easier for those on the slopes, but it also proved to be inspiration for a new event coming to the resort this weekend.

Last winter, Giants Ridge season pass holder Zach Johns decided to see how much skiing he could get in with the brand new lift.

“I thought to myself, ‘Gosh, it’s so much faster than the old lift,’” Johns said. “And I thought that maybe a person could get 100 runs on the hill in just one day.”

Johns did just that on March 18 of last year, skiing down the Sarajevo slope 100 times in one day. Immediately after, Giants Ridge took notice and decided that the Sarajevo Century would be on the mountain’s schedule beginning in 2019.

On Saturday, skiers and snowboarders of all ages can take the Sarajevo Century challenge and attempt to the be the fastest to complete 100 laps down the hill.

The event will be used to raise money for the ARC Iron Range organization, a way for the Ridge to give back to the local communities.

“We are thrilled to be able to implement the Sarajevo Century event that was originally rooted by local season pass holders,” said Director of Mountain Sports Benji Neff in a press release, “We’re even more honored to be able to give back to our local communities through donation, with a portion of event proceeds being given back to ARC’s Iron Range organization.”

“The ARC Iron Range organization has been a long-time user of Giants Ridge, as it continues to ensure full-participation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities within our very own Iron Range communities,” Giants Ridge said in their release.

“It’s a really cool celebration of the lift,” Johns said. “It’s right in front of the chalet and it was part of a hill I never really skied on before. It’s a whole new appreciation for it all and the lift really is a game changer for the Ridge.”

One key to the event will endurance on both a mental and physical level.

“I didn’t think it was that hard until I took a break after 60 last year. As soon as I clicked out of my skis, I could feel it in my legs.

“It’s also a mental game. You have to know how to be conservative on your turns and do thing to keep you entertained. It’ll wear you out and it’ll be interesting to see how people approach it. Strategy will definitely be a big part of it.”

The event, which requires a $25 entry fee (plus lift ticket or season pass and signed waiver, obtainable at the Giants Ridge Admissions/Guest Services desk) will take place from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. and will offer three age categories, 7-12 years; 13-17 years; and 18+ years of age.

The first-place finisher (or have the most laps at the end of the day) in each category will be the recipient of a 2019-2020 Giants Ridge season pass. Second-place finishers take home a $100 Giants Ridge gift card; third place finishers win a $50 Giants Ridge gift card. The event is limited to the first 50 participants – all of whom will bring home a goodie bag filled with Giants Ridge swag, plus an inaugural Sarajevo Century T-shirt.

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