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Aspen uphillers, get ready

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado
Aspen Times fileAndre Wille of Aspen, left, Anita Ortiz of Eagle, center, and Steve White of Vail head uphill at the start of last year's America's Uphill race on Aspen Mountain.
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ASPEN ” America’s Uphill, the annual race that separates the merely fit from the über fit, returns to Aspen Mountain on March 14.

The popular event typically draws hundreds of competitors who test their lungs and legs with a 2.5-mile trek up the ski area, from the base of the Little Nell run (next to the base of the gondola) to the finish area at the 11,212-foot summit. That’s a lung-bursting 3,267 feet of elevation gain.

In case you’re wondering, the fastest time posted last year was 45:04.516 (Ricky Gates) and 28 racers finished in less than an hour.



Racers begin at 7 a.m. and are divided into competition categories by gear. The open category includes snowshoes, running shoes and shoes outfitted with traction devices. Skiers are divided into three groups: track skis (lightweight skating/diagonal gear), telemark (metal-edged skis with a 3-pin or cable binding) and heavy metal (alpine skis with randonee bindings and plastic boots).

The course follows Little Nell to the Bell Mountain chair and then up Bingo Slot to Spar Gulch. The long, steep climb up Spar continues to the base of the Ajax Express lift. From there, competitors get a short break from relentless uphill in Tortilla Flats before the pain resumes in earnest as the course follows a maze of trails ” Deer Park to Pussyfoot, Silverbell and Easy Chair ” before finally topping out at the Sundeck restaurant.




The post-race celebration at the Sundeck features raffle prizes and awards, including overall awards for the top male and female finishers and teams, and awards for winners in various age groups, divided by gender and gear category.

Registration is $30 in advance (until 5 p.m. on March 13 at the Ute Mountaineer in Aspen) or online until 11 p.m. on March 12 at http://www.utemountaineer.com.

Registration on race day is $40 and takes place from 6 to 6:30 a.m. in the gondola building ticket office.

The registration fee includes a T-shirt for the first 325 registrants; $1 from each registration goes to Mountain Rescue Aspen.

Go to utemountaineer.com for more information.


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