9th Annual Vail Mountain Winter Uphill coming up February 21

Written by Jen Mason. Photo by ninetyseventy.com.

9th Annual Vail Mountain Winter Uphill coming up February 21

(Vail, Colo.) – What better way to celebrate American Heart Month than with a challenging trek up Vail Mountain on Sunday, February 21. The annual Vail Mountain Winter Uphill Race and Hike welcomes runners, hikers, skiers and snowshoers as they tackle 2,200 vertical feet of groomed trails to reach Eagle’s Nest at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead. The event is ideal for all ages and abilities, and honors the memory of Vail local Lyndon Ellefson, pioneer of the U.S. Mountain Running Team. All of the race/hike entry fees support the U.S. Mountain Running Team.

For the past nine years, the Vail Mountain Uphill has proven to be a challenging midwinter competition for some, and a fun, non-competitive community hike for others. It presents an opportunity to support a worthy organization, while also paying tribute to Ellefson, who lost his life in a 1998 accident near the Matterhorn while training for a mountain race in Italy. Ellefson was the foreman for the Lionshead Gondola. Ellen Miller, along with fellow mountain runner and Vail local Hooker Lowe, started the race in 2008 to spread their passion for mountain running and uphill skiing (skinning) and to pay homage to Ellefson.

“Through this race we can honor Lyndon and contribute to a sport he so loved,” said Miller, Vail Mountain Uphill founder.

Miller, who coaches athletes year-round primarily through the Vail Vitality Center and also serves as the women’s team manager for the U.S. Mountain Running Team, reminds participants that this is more than just a snowshoe race.

“Most folks wear running shoes with stabilizers and some wear skis,” said Miller. “If it snows a lot participants might wear snowshoes, but I don’t see too many at this race unless we see a lot of snow the night prior to the race start.”

The event begins at 7 a.m. in the Lionshead base area, adjacent to the Eagle Bahn Gondola. Categories include ski and non-ski options and 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, 70-79 and 80 plus.

Online registration is available prior to the race on IMathlete. Electronic/digital registration on the day of the race is also available at the Blue Moose in Lionshead prior to the race. Race entry fees are $30 through February 20, and $40 the day of the race.

The 2016 Vail Winter Uphill is presented by the Vail Vitality Center, Vail Mountain, Blue Moose Pizza and the Vail Recreation District.

For information visit the Vail Mountain Winter Uphill page or call 970-470-0001.