You may still be picking tomatoes from the garden and getting ready for spending Labor Day weekend at the beach, but at Denver International Airport they’re already thinking about snow.
The airport’s annual Aviation Snow Roadeo takes place Wednesday, August 28 and, to compete, airport employees must complete a written test on the rules of the road (and airfield), a diagnostic vehicle inspection and a timed obstacle course.
Before they even get that far, workers complete more than a month of training, including courses on the snow removal plan, priority routes, severe weather awareness and specialized equipment training.
What happens during the snow roadeo?
According to the airport, “obstacles test the operator’s ability to maneuver their vehicles by simulating roadway barriers or hazards. Some are tests of skill and agility that include using the blade under a grader to knock a softball off a holder into a basket, placing a bucket into a barrel with the bucket of a loader, mirror clearance maneuvering, plow target and backing into an alley dock.”
The top three winners in four separate individual and team events go on to compete in the 33rd Annual Western Snow and Ice Conference and National Snow Roadeo in Estes Park, Colorado in September.
It sounds like lots of fun, but let’s all root for everyone competing to do well:
Last year, from October 2012 through May 2013, there were 33 snow ‘events’ at Denver Int’l Airport totaling 78.4 inches of snow. (The year before, there were 24 snow events with a total of 55.6 inches of snow).
So, come winter, the competitors in the “snow rodeo” could be the deciding factor in whether you make that connection in Denver – or end up stuck at the airport.