The 2011 Equinox Ski Challenge will be held March 19-20 at the Rendezvous cross-country ski trails in West Yellowstone.
Racers complete as many laps as they can and may enter as soloists or as members of a relay team of up to 8 members in 3-hour, 6-hour, 12-hour and 24-hour divisions. Kids 12 and under can race for free in the 24-minute challenge.
Bozeman resident Andy Gerlach, who raced on a 5-person team in the 24-hour division in 2010, said that “skiing at night is fabulous.”
“The reflections, the light…everything moves faster.”
Gerlach also noted the race went easier than he expected.
“The first lap was the hardest, and then it got better,” he said.
Gerlach added that having Toko ski wax representative Eric Mittelstaedt working on participants’ skis throughout the event went a long way in keeping them fast throughout the 24-hour ski race.
Wilson Dippo, who races for Bowdoin College in Maine, skied the Equinox for the first time in 2010 on a two-person, 24-hour team, and had a little less time to rest in between laps.
“I went out too hard for a 24-hour race,” he said.
Dippo said his first “bonk” hit around 8 p.m., after skiing with teammate Ian Anderson for nearly 10 hours.
Still, they rested, ate and recovered to ski through the night and win their division with 289.1 kilometers skied.
Dippo said he’s planning to return home to Salt Lake City over spring break and make the trip to West Yellowstone again, this time to ski the 24-hour solo division.
Melissa Alder and Kelli Sanders, owners of Free Heel & Wheel in West Yellowstone, thought first about entering as a two-person team for the 24-hour race, but instead opted to ski the 12-hour individual category so they could ski together.
“The costumes were great. The festive atmosphere was positive, energizing and made me want to keep skiing,” said Alder.
Proceeds from the race benefit the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation (WYSEF) and Manaia Youth Programs. Participants are also encouraged to bring food donations for the West Yellowstone Food Bank.
The event includes a Saturday evening potluck and an all-night bonfire at the start/finish line.
Before March 1, registration is $55/adult or $30/junior. Between March 1-March 15, the fee is $75/adult and $50/junior. Race-day registration is $90/adult and $60/junior. Registration discounts are available for racers who also volunteer at the race or who bring someone along to volunteer for them. Registration is free for kids under 12 participating in a 24-minute kids’ race.
For more information, visit www.equinoxskichallenge.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.