Arapahoe Basin Alpenglow Ascent Rando Challenge series starts Saturday
Randonee racing returns to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area this weekend with the second annual Alpenglow Ascents Rando Challenge spring series.
As part of the ski area’s push to continue supporting uphill travel and ski mountaineering, Alpenglow Ascents joins the 3-year-old Rise and Shine Rando series held earlier in the season.
“We’ve seen a significant jump in uphill travel over the past several seasons,” A-Basin spokeswoman Adrienne Saia Isaac said of the ski area’s inspiration to expand its offerings.
“It’s everyone from the hardcore skimo guys to people taking a casual skin with their dogs before work.”
The increased uphill travel is part of a nationwide trend toward Alpine touring and ski mountaineering. Snowsports Industries America, the trade association that monitors trends in the industry, has reported that sales of Alpine touring gear are growing faster than those of other segments of the market.
While the Rise and Shine Series embraces early-morning uphillers with 7 a.m. start times, the late-season Alpenglow races target the apres crowd and take advantage of longer spring days.
“Even though we have a large contingent of elite skimo athletes joining us for these races, everyone is really just there to get their sweat on and have a good time,” Isaac said of the event, which is geared toward all ability levels. “We keep the vibe fun and loose.”
The series will include two Saturday races with 4:30 p.m. start times after the lifts close. The first will be on Saturday, March 21, with a second race on April 18.
MORE UPHILL, BY POPULAR DEMAND
“People wanted more uphill events, and we listened,” Isaac said.
The ski area polled its uphill pass holders after the 2012-13 season and found a desire for more ski mountaineering activities. A-Basin does not charge for uphill access, but it asks that users register at the ski area and sign a release for a pass.
Both Alpenglow races will offer long- and short-course options. Participants can register online or on the day of the race. The entry fee for each race is $20; for $30 racers can also enjoy a post-race appetizer and a free beer.
The shorter “Try It” course will start at the base area and include roughly 1,300 feet of elevation gain as skiers climb past mid-mountain before turning around.
The long course will include approximately 2,300 feet of gain and two transitions. Racers will follow a course that turns around at the patrol headquarters at the summit of the ski area. Both courses finish on the deck of the A-Frame lodge at the base area.
More information is available on Arapahoe Basin’s website at http://www.arapahoebasin.com.
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