The start of the second annual VAC Vail Mountain Winter Uphill kicks off at 7 a.m. Feb. 21. Runners, skiers, and snowshoers will head up the race course which includes 2,000 feet of vertical gain from the 8,000-foot-base to the summit of Vail Mountain at Eagle’s Nest at over 10,000 feet. The approximately two-mile course is on groomed ski trails.
The event organizers pay tribute to a former foreman on the Eagle Bahn Gondola who was instrumental in starting the U.S. men’s mountain running program and was a member of the U.S. Mountain Running Team which is one of the beneficiaries of race proceeds. The event is also a fundraiser for Jack’s Place, a cancer caring house at the Shaw Cancer Center.
The inaugural event drew nearly 150 participants, and race organizers anticipate a larger field this year. The uniqueness of the event is evident in the varied categories of participation. Athletes will “pick their grip” when registering for the event. The categories include Open – running shoes, stabilizers, or snowshoes are permitted; Track Skis – any light weight ski equipment; and Heavy Metal – heavy metal edged skis including Telemark gear. Registrants receive a post race party with breakfast at Eagle’s Nest, T-shirt, awards, and prizes. Prizes will be awarded by overall place and category by gender age group including 18 and under, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70 plus. Online registration is now available. Race entry is $35 through Feb. 20 and $40 race day.