Eaters compete for pastry dominance |

Eaters compete for pastry dominance

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
AE snowballs 1 KA 12-06-07

VAIL, Colorado ” Carlos Rodriguez tackles a burning question during a break from skiing: How many pink, coconut pastries can he eat in three minutes?

The 24-year-old from Maryland manages to scarf down three-and-a-half before the time runs out.

“My strategy was not to throw up,” he said.

Skiiers and snowboarders gathered on the deck outside Mid-Vail Village lodge Thursday to participate in a contest that pitted man against Hostess Snoball.

The competition will take place on Vail Mountain each afternoon from noon to 2 p.m. through Saturday as part of Snow Daze.

“Vail is a competitive mountain so we wanted to bring a serious competition like the world Snoball-eating contest to Mid-Vail,” said James Deighan with Highline Sports and Entertainment, the company promoting Snow Daze.

Some of the most serious eaters were Gypsum Elementary School students.

Ten-year-old Juan Maldonado dominated with five Snoballs. The prize was free junk food and bragging rights.

Cinthya Anancio, 9, said she thinks she ate three or four Snoballs. She said the contest was fun ” but things got a bit messy.

“It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever done in my whole life,” she said.

Seventeen competitors downed a total of about 75 Snoballs as live music played in the background. Most of the eaters said they had been relaxing at the lodge when they decided to participate in a spur-of-the-moment decision. Snackers crowded around a table and grabbed from a plate piled high with the pink treats.

The source of the pastries inspired jokes. “The executive chefs created a special Snoball that is lighter and fluffier than the packaged variety,” Deighan said.

“We flew to Jamaica and got our own coconuts and then we shaved them down – I’m kidding,” Mid-Vail’s executive chef Scott Dodd said. In truth, Hostess provided about 500 Snoballs for the event, kept in storage in an outdoor shed according to Mid-Vail General Manager John Bailey.

This is the second year for Snoball eating. Last year, about 100 people scarfed 400 Snoballs over the course of three days, Bailey said.

Inspiration for the contest came from a hot-dog-eating competition that took place about five years ago at the Dog Haus below Chair 11, he said.

Organizers chose Hostess Snoballs because they match Mid-Vail’s wintery atmosphere and the title of Snow Daze, Bailey said. So why not just use real snowballs?

“Brain freeze,” Dodd deadpanned.

Though brain freeze is unlikely from the faux variety, pounding Snoballs has its challenges. For one thing, the chocolate winds up smashed all over the face. Plus, housing them can test the gag reflex.

Historically, children have had an edge over adults when it comes to eating Snoballs, Deighan said.

“The adults have been washing it down with Coors Light and the beer really tends to foam up when mixed with Snowballs,” he said. “The kids have the right path with just wolfing them down.”

Indeed, 24-year-old Rodriguez said he was impressed by his adolescent competitors.

“I was surprised that kids half my size could eat as many Snoballs as me or more,” he said. “Those kids are tough competition. They were focused.”

Although no one in the history of the contest has ever vomited, some contestants experience side effects. Like swearing off Snowballs forever.

“If I ever see a Snowball again, it will be too soon,” Rodriguez said.

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