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FasterSkier FasterSkierFebruary 5, 2009

Ultra Marathon Opportunities on the Western US Calendar

The 2009 calendar offers a variety of ultra-marathons for skiers in the Rocky Mountains this spring. These events are a great way to conclude a season, have some fun and try something that might not mesh with our schedules during the peak racing season. In short, you get to ski farther than you ever have and then kick back with some beer.

In the rolling hills north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado is the 5th Annual North Routt Coureur des Bois event on March 14th. Competitors can choose between a 45km loop or a 90km loop both of which are groomed and marked only once a year for this distinctive event. The 90 km course has about 6,500 ft of climbing and there will be long stretches where solitude and great views will be your only company. You will be required to carry appropriate clothing, food, water and gear to keep warm and fed in the case of emergency. Aid stations are located about every 15 km and will be well stocked. As well, a post race feast awaits all finishers, and rightfully so.

Also on March 14th and a few hours to the south is the inaugural 12 Hours of Crested Butte. This is the latest, zany, fun filled Crested Butte event. The goal is to complete as many laps as possible on the variety of 8-10 km loops, in 12 hours. Costumes, beverages and prize booty will flourish. With a 7 AM start time, a 7 PM finish, and civil twilight concluding at 6:40 PM, racers will enjoy sunshine for most of the event. This is a fundraiser for the Crested Butte Nordic Center.

On March 21st and 22nd is the Equinox Ski Challenge at the renowned Rendezvous Trails in West Yellowstone, MT. Soloists or relay teams can challenge themselves to ski as far as they can in 6 hours, 12 hours or 24 hours. A trailside bonfire and a potluck with beverages make the Equinox an experience in both determination and camaraderie to the break of dawn. Last year a women’s relay team skied almost 400km and two soloists approached 300km in the 24 Hour division! The traditionally great spring skiing in West Yellowstone is complemented by mid race grooming to keep the two 9km courses in top shape. As well, Toko is supplying on-site waxing for free this year to help skiers adapt to the varying conditions throughout the 24 hours. Madshus, Rudy Project, and Patagonia have graciously donated prizes for this event which benefits the West Yellowstone Food Bank, Manaia Youth Programs and the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation. Lodging is available 100 yards from the start finish area.

All three of these events join the likes of The 24 Hours of Telemark and the Arrowhead Ultra 135 among the growing contingent of endurance races that emphasize fun, teamwork and camaraderie alongside the adventure and challenges associated with skiing for such extended periods of time.

Make use of that hard earned fitness and finish the season strong.

Complete details for these events are available at:

www.steamboatxcski.org (North Routt Coureur des Bois)

www.12hoursofcresteedbutte.com (12 Hours of Crested Butte)

www.equinoxskichallenge.com (Equinox Ski Challenge)

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