While snow is melting in town, it is holding strong on the trails for the Equinox Snow Challenge. In its sixth year, this event will again welcome the spring and host an exciting finale to the winter season on March 24th and 25st at the Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone, MT. This is the first year the event will be hosting races in Nordic skiing, snow biking and/or by foot. This event is ingrained with camaraderie, challenge, and commitment to the well being of our communities. Skiers, snow bikers and runners will try and complete as many laps as they can in the 3 Hour, 6 Hour, 12, Hour or 24 Hour divisions. You are welcome to enter the race as a soloist or as a relay team with up to 2-8 members and take turns doing laps with your teammates. You or your team may choose to ski, bike or run at any point. It is all up to you. Changing disciplines is allowed and in not mandatory.
Last year 90 participants enjoyed the spring sun and festivities at the Equinox Ski Challenge. The event has grown consistently over the last few years as skiers from around the West come to either push their limits or just catch some of the last groomed skiing for the season. For the past five years the event has been the Equinox Ski Challenge. The 6th annual Equinox event will invite more than just the Nordic Skiers. The Ski Challenge has changed into the Snow Challenge inviting runners and snow bikers to enter the fun. The Equinox Snow Challenge provides participants with the opportunity to tackle a substantial physical and mental challenge in a team setting unlike any other race in the Rockies. The mix of camaraderie, challenge, outdoors, teamwork, accomplishment and being plain old tired is at the core of the Equinox event.
As previous years, The Equinox will benefit the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation and to Big Brother Big Sisters of Gallatin County in an effort to support organizations keeping our communities mentally and physically healthy. There will also be a food drive for the West Yellowstone Food Bank. The event gathered over 100 pounds of food for the West Yellowstone Food Bank at the 2011 race and raised $250 each for Wysef and Manaia, bringing our total to around $1000 for each organization since the race began in 2007.
The course will be different for each of the three different categories, but the start and finish of all legs will be hosted in one area with a ongoing bonfire for warmth and light. The race course will be located just 200 yards from several hotels facilitating easy logistics as teammates take their turns resting. The current 24 Hour soloist record is an incredible 326 kilometers set in 2007 and the 24 Hour team record was recently set in 2009 at 401 kilometers. The skier who set the solo record slept only 45 minutes and looked like he slept even less by the event conclusion on Sunday morning! Plenty of other skiers have contributed 45 kilometers to their team total, eaten three square meals, and slept eight hours. These folks appeared much more alive on Sunday. The 2011 participants skied 6304.7 Km total as they pressed-on through snow squalls and warmer temperatures. So, anything is possible. This year participants will get to choose their challenge from three different categories; snow biking, by foot or ski. The goal is to have a lot of fun and also complete as many laps as you can in the 3hour, 6 hour, 12 hour or the 24 hour division. The race will have two different starting times for the 12 hour race. One will start in the morning of the 24th and the second race which will be called the night owl race will start in the afternoon so participants can race throughout the night. Participants can enter as a relay team of up to 8 members or as a soloist. Whether you and your team choose to ski, bike or participate by foot is up to you. Changing disciplines is allowed by is not mandatory.
If participants would like to choose snow biking we strongly recommend using floatation bikes such as the Surly Pugsley, 9:zero:7, Fatback, Salsa Mukluk, Twenty2 Cycles Bully, Vicious and others which have 60-100mm rims and 3.5-4.5 inch tires. Other bikes will be accepted if they are not impacting the trails more than a flotation bike. This may be the case during the depth of the evening, but is very unlikely during the typically warm spring daytime. Rent, borrow, share with teammates, or sleep and ride when it fast.
The festivities include a costume contest, prizes, a potluck with beverages on Saturday evening, and the requisite all night bonfire at the start/finish line. Complete details, race updates and online registration are available at www.equinoxsnowchallenge.com. We look forward to seeing you all out there!
How far can you go?
For more information contact:
Sam Newbury and Kaley Bjornsen
Equinox Ski Challenge
P.O. Box 184
Bozeman, MT. 59771
(406)-209-3533- Sam (253)-569-0883 – Kaley