Krabloonik takes the reins of K-9 Uphill |

Krabloonik takes the reins of K-9 Uphill

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
The hounds head up Buttermilk in the 2015 K-9 Uphill. The event has been held for 21 years to benefit Aspen Animal Shelter.
Steve Kelly / Courtesy photo |


What: K-9 Uphill

When: Start at 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Base of Buttermilk

Cost: $35

The new owners of the Krabloonik restaurant and dog-sledding operation in Snowmass Village took over this year as organizers of the K-9 Uphill — an event that’s benefited the Aspen Animal Shelter for the past 21 years.

This year’s uphill is Saturday at Main Buttermilk with a start time of 10 a.m.

The event combines two passions of Roaring Fork Valley residents — traveling uphill at a ski area and companionship with a pooch. The event has been held at Main Buttermilk every year. Erik Skarvan of Sundog Athletics was the longtime organizer. He handed over the reins — make that the leash — to Krabloonik owners Danny and Gina Phillips.

“This is an opportunity for us to step up in the community and start paying it forward,” Danny Phillips said. People in the community have provided them with a lot of support as they changed some of the procedures at Krabloonik, he said.

The couple joined the operation in 2013 as managers for the former owner, Dan MacEachen, who died this winter. MacEachen reached an agreement to sell to the Phillipses, and the transfer occurred in December 2014.

Since then, they have made several alterations, some suggested by organization Voices for the Krabloonik Dogs, which was critical of MacEachen’s practices. The Phillipses also have worked with Aspen Animal Shelter on a spay-and-neuter program for its sled dogs.

Any proceeds of the K-9 Uphill after costs will benefit the Aspen Animal Shelter, Danny Phillips said.

The registration and check-in on Saturday is from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. at Bumps Restaurant at the base of Buttermilk. Preregistration is possible online at or in person at the Aspen Animal Shelter and Ute Mountaineer.

The cost is $35. There is a mass start at the bottom of Buttermilk at 10 a.m. Many participants have a harness for their dog. All dogs must be harnessed or leashed.

Participants can bring their own canine or team with a dog waiting for adoption at the animal shelter. Krabloonik also has some dogs it has available for adoption that would love a run up Buttermilk, Phillips said.

The course takes teams up 2½ miles with a vertical gain of 2,000 feet. After reaching the summit area by the Cliffhouse, the teams will return to a party at the base. There will be music, food catered by the Krabloonik restaurant and a prize giveaway.

The event typically attracts around 100 participants. The Phillipses want to see that grow.

Krabloonik’s mushers participated in the K-9 Uphill last year, using it as an end-of-season party, Phillips said. This year about four mushers will hike up while other staff members will serve as volunteers.

“It was a good fit,” Phillips said. “It’s something we do all the time — run up the mountain with dogs.”

“We hope to run this for the next 20 years,” he added.