Between scaling steep ski slopes to jogging through aspen groves, mountain trail runs challenge participants with hard breathing climbs and free fall descents (though there are some races which are uphill only.)
The long tradition of mountain running races worldwide, has its appeal in trail running through pristine terrain while experiencing absolutely stunning views from lofty altitudes.
The challenge of the race itself, the jovial social scene and camaraderie with the other people involved, combined with courses that show off raw, natural beauty only accessible by trails, keep participants coming back for more.
This mountain course will challenge you physically and stimulate all of your senses while connecting you to the energy of the magical Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This is both a challenging and exquisitely scenic climb that peaks with breathtaking views of Kachina and Wheeler Peaks.
If testing your endurance at high altitude for future mountain races is on your current agenda, the Taos Ski Valley Up & Over 10K trail run should be at the top of your bucket list.
In fact, why not bring the family and make a weekend of it!
Tempted to give the trail run a go for yourself, but want to get in as much practice as possible first? Some people find that completing an adventure course similar to one of these challenge course design options helps them to mentally and physically prepare for the demands of the trail. Committing to the trail is not a decision to be taken lightly and this race is not for the faint-hearted, so ensuring your fitness levels are up to the task first is in your best interests.
There are so many great deals on hotels, ski chalets condos and other lodging all through the summer, so do check Taos Ski Valley for all the options available to you.
Getting to Taos can be an adventure in itself. Whether you fly into Albuquerque or Santa Fe, do take the High Road to Taos, so that you can experience the delights of the small rural communities still extant in Northern New Mexico. Have lunch in the charming village of Chimayo and visit the renowned Santuario there to pick up some Holy Dirt for good luck and healing.
Keep some in your pocket while on the trail. You never know.
Be sure to get to Taos Ski Valley early enough to join the Up & Over organizers and other participants on Friday August 4th, the night before the race, for race bag/swag pick up and a healthy carbo loading meal at the new restaurant 192 at The Blake.
The restaurant, which already has a reputation for the best oven-fired flat breads and pizza around – is named after the numbers on Ernie Blake’s plane, as he surveyed where the Taos Ski area would be located.
While you are on the course, there is plenty for non-participants in your party to do; from hiking, rafting and horseback riding to visiting the dramatic Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. A day trip to the Town of Taos and the Pueblo are sure to be on your itinerary as you explore the area.
The course itself is challenging, competitive and will not only boost your powers of endurance, but also afford you the experience of being in nature with the wildflowers in full bloom. The heavy snowmelt from winter’s run off makes for glorious waterfalls among the rolling green hills and alpine groves of aspen and pine.
Wild life is all around you. Birds, bighorn sheep, marmots and more are all spotted along the trail, making for spectacular memories long after the race has been run.
What makes this race unique is the total elevation gain of 2612 feet with runners climbing to an elevation of 11,812 feet before descending mid-mountain.
To gauge the course and get a feel for the times, check out the results from last year’s Up & Over event.
Each participant gets a hand-made pottery medal made in Arroyo Seco. Every year the medal is a different color so each runner can collect all the colors over time. Each medal also happens to be a beer coaster, and after exerting as much energy as you will on this course, a long cold draft will be highly welcome!
In Taos Ski Valley , history, tradition and sport combined with breathtakingly beautiful terrain, make this summer event one you’ll never forget or regret participating in, even as you catch your breath.
All images c/o Taos Ski Valley