NEWRY — “Heads up for those 12 snow guns — they’re going to blast 5,000 gallons of water in your face,” said announcer Boss Hog on Saturday at the eighth annual Tough Mountain Challenge at Sunday River.
He was referencing Hurricane Valley, one of the 21 obstacles on the Tough Mountain Challenge course that over 4,000 people signed up to conquer.
Becky Doehla of Connecticut participated in the challenge for the first time this year. She said the hardest part for her was the obstacle aptly named WTF — an agonizing, steep hill climb.
“I’ve always worked out, and I wanted something more challenging,” said Doehla’s friend, Jennifer Michaud of Hope, who has participated for four years in a row. “It’s like a big playground for adults.”
Sunday River Communications Director Darcy Lambert said that in its first year, the event attracted only 200 participants, and the course had about a dozen obstacles.
“Every year, we increase the challenges, and I think we’ve hit the sweet spot,” she said.
This year, some of the obstacles included Haug Av Sno, which is Norwegian for “big pile of snow,” and that’s exactly what it is — a nice cool down about halfway through the course. There was also a giant slip ‘n’ slide, as well as the shredder mud crawl.
“After years of experimentation, we’ve perfected our mud recipe to ensure you won’t be able to pass too quickly, and don’t forget about the razor-sharp barbed wire just above your back. Head down, and watch those ponytails,” the event’s website reads.
For participants who like to party all the time, the traditional Shotgun Station was a favorite — a quick beer drank “shotgun” style, which is poking a hole in the can, opening the beer and drinking it through hole.
Reasons to tackle the ominous course ranged from “just looking for a challenge” to “a fun girls’ day.”
For Krystal Powers of Sanford, it’s a tradition that led to her upcoming wedding. In 2015 after crossing the finish line for the first time, her boyfriend, Christopher Parish, proposed.
The couple has participated every year since, and plans to get married at Sunday River in September.
“We plan on always doing it, every year,” Powers said.
For Melinda Robertson of Albany Township, it’s a challenge she has been working toward for two years, after an astonishing weight loss of over 100 pounds.
“I’m continuing my healthy lifestyle,” she said. “I’m also doing it to get muddy.”