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about vertical drop

Silver State Hotshot Captain, Justin Cutler started this ski competition and community fundraising event back in 2008 and ever since it has been an extremely successful annual affair, running for over 10 consecutive years. In 2018 Black Mountain Hotshots generously offered to co-host the Vertical Drop event and we look forward to the years ahead working co-hosting this event.


The Vertical Drop can be teams of 3-6 or as individuals. We compete to safely ski as much vertical feet as possible in a 4-hour time period and in short, the team with the highest average vertical feet skied wins. There is a team prize for 1st place and individual prizes for males and females who

finish in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. 


The Vertical Drop has been held locally at Mt. Rose and Diamond Peak over the years; more recently, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood Mountain Resort. This years event will again be held at Kirkwood Mountain Resort Saturday, April 8.


There will be food and drink for all Vertical Drop VIP competitors—tickets are limited! This is the 13th year that the event will be running and the FIRST at Kirkwood. Food generally comes from local delis, such as Sierra Meats or Minden Meats and Deli, and local grocers. The beer is donated from Coors, Great Basin Brewing Company, and Brewer's Cabinet. After the race, there will be a silent auction and raffle.  

All proceeds from the Vertical Drop go to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation—a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides support to firefighters and their families in times of crisis. Today, the Vertical Drop is the longest running fundraiser that supports the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Additionally, the Vertical Drop's early relationship with Coors sparked a nationwide campaign every summer in which a large portion of their profits from Coors Original beer is donated to the Foundation. 


silver state


This BLM crew was established in the late 1960's in Carson City, Nevada and originally consisted of emergency firefighters. They became a hotshot crew in 1977 and an Interagency Hotshot crew in 1980. Now based out of Minden, Nevada and Kevin Kelly has been their Superintendent since 2006. Their Captain, Justin Cutler started this event in 2008, making the Vertical Drop the longest running fundraisers for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

black mountain


This USFS crew was established in the fall of 1988 and had their first fire season in 1989. Black Mountain IHC is hosted by the Carson Ranger District on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and are based out of Minden, Nevada. 

2020 sponsors


past sponsors


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