Mitch Snow began watching the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race as a youngster, and throughout his childhood spent time memorizing facts about the race and his racing heroes. Now 25, Snow is the director of promotions and legacy for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and hasn’t missed a race since he was a child.
“It was tough at first because it was trying to find a way to draw a line between being a fan and being a professional,” Snow said.
“It has been a very surreal experience. Because I have been a fan for so long, one of the hardest things is not wanting to let my heroes down. You end up becoming someone that has an impact and influence in how they do build their legacy,”
Snow is working on a promotional YouTube video for the race titled “Climbkhana,” with viral video creator Ken Block. It will pay tribute to a ’90s French film, “Climb Dance,” which featured footage of some of the Hill Climb’s famous racers and the original dirt road that is now paved.
He is also working with a Swiss company, MatchSports, to livestream this year’s event.
Trying to implement new tactics is a challenge for Snow and his co-workers since they only have one race a year.
“Other organizations have multiple races throughout the year. For us, we only have one shot to try new things and get it right,” Snow said. “We don’t get two weeks’ time to adjust and fix things. Pikes Peak will throw things at you that you never expected.”
Are you a native of the Pikes Peak region?
I’m born and raised in Colorado Springs. I officially became involved in 2012 as an intern, but I’ve been attending the race ever since I was 4 or 5 years old. My family has been involved with the race for 50-plus years.
My grandfather actually owned a local automotive shop, and he was on the technical committee for a number of years. He would host competitors from out of state and out of the country and kind of give them a home away from home. … My father raced in 1990 before I was born.
Why did you decide to stay in this area?
I would read the history and try to memorize who won the race this year and who has this record and so on and so forth. I saw it as something unique to Colorado Springs, and something that can’t be replicated in any city in the world. It’s something that is just pure that we need to show the respect it deserves and really put Colorado Springs in the national and international spotlight. I wanted to be part of that.
Did you always want to work for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb?
My main goal was to be a journalist. I started at [Colorado State University in] Fort Collins at the journalism school and did an internship after my first year at KKTV 11 Sports. I was able to gear our coverage for that, and I realized that this was a niche I needed to take advantage of and help grow behind the scenes instead of in front of the camera.
What’s it like going from a little kid watching the race to now working for it?
It’s like if you were to be a huge Broncos fan growing up and all of a sudden, at age 23, you’re in charge and have a say in how your heroes are going to add to their legacies. It’s like if you were telling John Elway what he needed to do to be ready for the next season. It has been so rewarding as a fan and to get to know these people I look up to, as a professional.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
The most difficult part is caring too much. We are so limited on how much time we do have in a year and the resources to be able to get things done. We really take a huge emphasis in trying to do everything we possibly can. When you care so much about if the race succeeds, when something doesn’t go quite how you wanted, it can just be gutting, but you need to roll with the punches.
What advice would you give other young professionals?
To chase their dreams and not follow the status quo. If someone tells you that you need to chase this opportunity or that, just follow your heart. I use every day as a learning experience. If you’re learning, you’re developing.