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The Snowy West

Posted Jun 17 2011 11:52pm
"Snow condtions in the Bighorns continue to present multiple challenges for our course team. Alternate courses are being explored and prepared for this year's event."

The above message is what can be seen on the website for the Bighorn 100 Mile Ultra. This weekends race also includes a 50 mile and 50K option. All three races, being run out of Dayton, Wyoming; have been re-routed because of the snow conditions across the Rocky Mountains. For those who have Facebook, you can take a tour of the videos on the races Facebook Page . Many videos recently uploaded include videos of the crews attempting to reach the courses many aid stations.

This isn't the only race preparing for snowy conditions. Next weekends Western States 100 is dealing with snowy conditions of their own in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Their website states:

"Snow situation. Currently most of the first 30 miles of the course is still covered by snow. It is very likely that we will use a "snow course" route. The exact route is yet to be determined as the conditions are very dynamic. Crew access may be limited or eliminated at Robinson Flat, Duncan Canyon and Dusty Corners. A final decision will be announced about five days prior to the race. There was additional snowfall above 6000 feet during much of the month of May, and the current snow content at Squaw Valley is twice what it was at this point last year."

An e-mail went out to Western States runners this week where they finalized their plans for the snow course. It's hard to imagine there being any more snow at Squaw then the 5' that existed there last year. But I guess with my own experience with the current snow pack in the Rockies, it's hard to be surprised. The new snow course tells the runners that the first 20 miles of this years race will be run almost entirely on the white stuff. Also.. no crews will have access to their runners at Duncan Canyon, Robinson Flat or  Dusty Corners. This means, runners must run without the assistance of a crew for the first 55 miles of the race. All the way to Michigan Bluff with no crew.

This August, Leadville Colorado will play host to a 100 mile race of their own. An e-mail went out to runners back at the beginning of may describing the snow depths at Hope Pass and everything else above 10,000'. The good news is that snowpacks are now limited to elevations above 11,000' though it's still very deep. I don't doubt that even though the snowpack will be much less for this months races across the mountainous west, there'll still be some snow on our climb up and over Hope Pass.

Either way... here are a few pictures of the Colorado Snow that still sits up high. They're repeats to this blog but in the spirit of the post.. I can't resist.

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