Prime Total Archery Challenge

The Prime Total Archery Challenge – The greatest archery experience in the nation!

Prime Total Archery Challenge

by Tim Neal

My Prime Total Archery Challenge Experience – The first time I shot one of the extreme 3-D courses at Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah I showed up quite unprepared. I had my normal setup. My bow, a 3-D belt quiver and a few arrows. I wore tennis shoes, shorts and a t-shirt. I took the lift to the top of the mountain and started down. Five hours and 20 targets later I limped into the lodge, cold, wet, and thirsty. Ultimately lost two toenails. To recover, I spent the rest of the weekend in the pool and hot tub at the lodge planning for the next year. Though I felt the mountain had beat me, I had a blast. In my opinion, the Prime Total Archery Challenge was the closest representation of actual hunting conditions of any shoot I had ever attended.

I did return the following year–more prepared. Along with my bow, I carried a number of arrows in a tube inside my light day-pack. I had a rangefinder, water, and a few protein bars. I wore my hunting boots, hiking pants, and a light, waterproof jacket. This time, I made it to the bottom of the mountain in a lot better shape. Sure, I was worn out, but not beat up. I shot one of the more traditional courses the following day, and then hit the mountain again on the final day. I still lost one toenail!

I’ve shot Snowbird a few times and Big Sky Montana once, so I cannot speak for all venues, but from speaking to a number of the Prime staff the shooting is similar everywhere, the terrain just changes. On the extreme courses, you can expect: 1) shots approaching 100 yards, 2) steep uphill and downhill shots, 3) cross canyon shots, 4) shots through trees, and 5) more extreme shots; the same that you face in hunting conditions.

There is no formal scoring; whatever you and your group decides. Rangefinders are not only fine they are recommended. When you walk up to a cliff and have a 70 yard shot at a 70-degree angle, I for one need an angle compensating rangefinder to have any chance of making a good shot. I personally approach the shot as if hunting. I try to get a quick range then try to get an arrow into the vitals in a reasonable amount of time. If I do, I’m happy. Others might be shooting for 12’s or just trying not to lose an arrow.

In addition to the extreme courses, the Prime Total Archery Challenge also offers family-orientated courses, and novelty shoots with prizes for the winners. At Snowbird and Big Sky, you have great hotels, restaurants, and activities for the family. In 2017, events will be held in Texas, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Michigan, Utah and Montana. It’s worth the drive to experience one of these events. For more information check out

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