Tunnel, sled and shimmy at the Abominable Winter Obstacle Run in Como Jan. 28 | SummitDaily.com

Tunnel, sled and shimmy at the Abominable Winter Obstacle Run in Como Jan. 28

Obstacle racers run through knee-deep snow during the 2016 Abominable Obstacle Run in Como. The event returns to Como for a third season on Jan. 28 with walls, snow tunnels, sledding and more on a four-mile course.
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2017 Abominable Winter Adventure Run

What: The third edition of a four-mile winter obstacle run in the woods near Camp Como, with 20-plus obstacles like sledding, snow tunnels, snow runs, climbing walls and more

When: Saturday, Jan. 28 at 10:30 a.m.

Where: Camp Como, 11117 Pine in Como

Cost: $60 solo, $55 per person for teams

Teams and solo racers are welcome (9 years old or older). Online registration closes on Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. On-site registration is available at the race for $65 per person or $60 per person on a team. Fees include a long-sleeve Abominable Race top, finisher’s medal and hot chocolate or coffee. For more information or to sign up, see abominablerun.com.

There’s a yeti roaming the woods near Como this weekend, and the only way to escape is by climbing, crawling, sledding and post-holing your way through four miles of Colorado winter.

“Beware of the yeti,” says Lauren Jones, co-founder and marketing director for the Abominable Winter Adventure Run. On Jan. 28, the family-friendly event returns for its third year to Camp Como, an outdoor camp located a few miles past Fairplay on the edge of a long-gone mining and railroad town, with 20 snowy obstacles and, of course, the namesake snowman.

Like Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder in the summer, the Abominable Winter Adventure Run spices up a traditional race with obstacles and other oddities. First and foremost, Hones says, is up to three (or more) feet of snow on the course, which roams from wide-open meadows to foot-packed trails and back. This year’s course also includes a sledding section, 60-foot snow tunnels, and plenty of walls to scramble up and slide back down. One wall is nearly 30 feet tall with ropes and footholds — not for the faint of heart.

As for the yeti in the woods? That costumed critter is more of a diversion than an obstacle. He’s there to remind runners what it’s like to be a kid all over again.

“You do it in the summer, why not try it in the winter?” Jones said. “The only difference is you have snow instead of mud.”

Registration for the event is available online for $60 per person of $55 per person for teams. The price jumps to $65 for on-site registration. It’s open to runners of all abilities, but the age is restricted to kids 9 years old or older. After all, those waist-deep snowfields are more like neck-deep snowfields for youngsters.

“Playing in the snow and sledding and getting a little cold — it’s just like being a kid again,” said Jones, who has participated in every run since she launched the event in 2015. “But it’s also a challenge. You have to persevere and push through that knee-deep snow, and this is different from all the mud runs out there.”

Wild in the woods

Fittingly enough, the run begins not far from the Camp Como lodge with a tromp through snow. Jones expects about 130 to 140 runners this year, and since everyone begins at the same time in a mass start, her crew buried flags in a massive field for the first obstacle. This should help spread people out over the next four miles.

“We’re smaller than a lot of obstacle races, but even if people are hardcore about obstacle races, they’re wimpy about the snow and cold,” Jones said. “That itself is an obstacle.”

After retrieving a flag, runners power up a hill to the sledding section. It’s Jones’ favorite part of the event — again, this is all about your inner child — and makes for a nice reward after huffing up the hillside.

From there, runners filter through the snow tunnels and over several wall features. Snowshoes and skis aren’t allowed, and Jones recommends dressing in waterproof pants and jacket, plus a beanie, gloves and boots or trail shoes with gaiters. Just don’t wear your ski gear — it gets hot wading through all of that snow.

“It’s brutal to get up to the top o the hill — you haveto earn your sled — but I really like that sledding section. At the end, camp como has this epic playground that acts as the end of the course.”

The finish line lies just past the playground at Camp Como lodge, and then it’s time for the post-race party. There will be hot cocoa, coffee and food, along with activities in and around Camp Como.

The yeti isn’t the only costumed critter. There is also a “mountain man” competition for runners dressed in their best flannel and beards. Last year’s winner was woman with a homemade axe and foot-long beard.

“This race is just too much fun,” Jones said. “It brings out your inner child, you know, the one who used to play out in the snow and not be afraid to get a little cold and wet.”

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