After racing for 28 days across 26 different resorts in four countries, the first 10 finishers in the Vail Resorts Epic Race to Ski the World were awarded lifetime Epic Passes. The Epic Race is a season-long competition to ski or ride all 26 resorts on this season’s Epic Pass.
Father-son team Scott and Nick Annis of Loveland finished second and first respectively, checking in Dec. 20, 2013, at Brides-les-Bains in France. The racers could only visit one resort per day in the U.S., and only two per day in Europe. The racers had to time their arrivals to ski resort openings and plot the best course to reach the finish line on the first available day.
Russ Pecoraro, Vail Resorts communications representative, said it was exciting to see how many different people participated in the race, which is in its inaugural year.
“We saw a group of people who did this to spend time with families, like the father-son team,” he said. “It’s a cool bonding opportunity for a dad and son, we had couples on extended honeymoons — it speaks to the overall coolness of skiing and snowboarding. That’s what it’s all about, spending time with family. No other sport allows you to do something like this.”
Pecoraro said while he can’t predict the future, as long as some iteration of the Epic Pass exists at Vail Resorts, these winners will have that pass for life. Race winners receiving an Epic Pass for life will be able to ski or ride only the resorts accessible via the Epic Pass in that given year. Racers had to provide for the cost of their own travel, passes and accommodations.
The race began Nov. 22, 2013, and brought participants to five U.S. states — Colorado, Utah, California, Minnesota and Michigan — Switzerland, France and Austria. Epic Racers were required to document and share their experiences with photos and videos at each resort to be eligible to win.
“With any competition you have to cut it off somewhere,” Pecoraro said. “If it’s not No. 11, it’s No. 21. Ten was a really generous number on our part, and it gave people hope they could win.”
Pecoraro said while he thought perhaps 30 people might register for the race, more than 300 actually ended up registering. Everyone who completes all 26 resorts this season will win a 2014-15 Epic Pass, as well as a chance for weekly prizes from Helly Hansen and GoPro.
“This was our first year with the race and there is no question there were several learning curves along the way for everyone involved,” Pecoraro said. “But we’re definitely going to take the feedback from our racers for next year.”
After the final day in Brides-Les-Bains was complete, Vail Resorts threw an European après party for everyone, where one racer, Kela Pinto, proposed to his girlfriend.
“This race embodies the spirit and adventure of our pass holders,” Pecoraro said. “We heard it was an overwhelmingly positive experience, an experience of a lifetime, for everyone who competed.”