Snowshoe Mountain is returning to its timbering ways – at least for one weekend in June. The Stihl Timbersports Woodsman Weekend will be June 13 through 15, featuring events testing the skills of lumberjacks of all levels.
Arden Cogar, Jr., of Charleston, a 36-year veteran of lumberjack sporting competitions, said the weekend will feature axe and saw competitions.
“On Saturday, there are six events for the Timbersports Series,” Cogar said. “Three axe related – the springboard chop, the standing block chop and the underhand block chop and three saw related – the Stihl Stock saw, the single buck and the Hot Saw.”
The US Woodchopping Championships will be the focus on Sunday. The events include the underhand block chop, the standing block chop, the Hot Saw and the axe throw. See sidebar for event descriptions.
“There will be four US titles up for grabs for the best athletes from around the country,” Cogar explained. “The US title events are different than the previous day’s Timbersports events. The wood will be larger and more challenging. The competitors will have to do a time trial to eliminate down to the fastest eight competitors.”
The eight competitors moving on to semifinals will be divided into two groups based on their qualifying time. The two with the fastest times in the semi-final heats will then advance to the finals.
“Here’s the kicker with the US Title, as the athlete advances, the race becomes more difficult as the logs they are chopping and sawing are larger in size,” Cogar said. “Thus, at the end of the day, the true US Champion will be crowned, and the athlete will receive what he deserves.”
Information courtesy of http://www.stihlusa.com
Hot Saw: The competitor uses a customized chainsaw with a modified engine, usually taken from a personal watercraft or snowmobile. At the signal, the competitor starts the saw and makes three cuts. With only six inches of wood to work with, precision is key. If the competitor saws outside of the designated six-inches or fails to saw a complete “cookie” (term used to describe the circular piece of sawed-off wood), he will be disqualified.
Single Buck: The competitor makes one cut through 19 inches of white pine using a single man cross-cut saw. The competitor may have a helper wedge his cut into the log to prevent the saw teeth from sticking. Times ends when the block is clearly severed. The primary challenges of this event are technique, brute strength and stamina. The single buck is referred to as the “misery whip” because of the physical toll a body endures while using it.
Standing Block Chop: Mimicking the felling of a tree, the competitor races to chop through 12 to 14 inches of vertical white pine. The competitor must chop from both sides of the log. The time ends when the block is severed. Precision is the key to success in this event. Stamina is the primary challenge because this is one of the most physically exhausting events.
Stihl Stock Saw: The competitor uses an MS 660 Stihl Magnum chainsaw and begins with both hands on the log and the chainsaw idling on the deck. At the gun, the sawyer makes two cuts through 16 inches of white pine. With only four inches of wood to work with, precision is key. If the competitor saws outside of that or fails to saw a complete cookie, he will be disqualified.
Underhand Chop: The competitor stands with feet apart on a 12 to 14 inch white pine log. At the signal, he begins to chop through the log with his racing axe. Before chopping all the way through he must turn and complete the cut from the other side. Time ends when the log is severed completely. The challenge in this event is precision, as well as the location of the cuts.
A competitor uses a variety of cutting patterns and varies the number of cuts based on skill level and wood conditions. This can be one of the more dangerous disciplines because a competitor is swinging a razor-sharp racing axe at approximately 70 miles per hour between his feet.
Springboard Chop: A discipline based on the need for old-time loggers to establish a cutting platform above the massive root bases of old growth trees, the competitor uses an axe to chop pockets into a nine-foot poplar pole and then place six-inch wide springboard platforms into the pockets.
Climbing up on the springboards, the competitor chops through a 12-inch diameter white pine log at the top of the pole. This discipline is a true challenge of strength and dexterity, because the competitor must power through the chop while balancing seven to eight feet in the air.
Axe Throw: Competitor stands 20 feet away from a target with five rings for scoring. Using a double bitted axe of at least two-and-a-half pounds, the competitor tosses the axe toward the target. Each competitor is given a practice throw and three throws for score.