Ski Mo, Randonée, Skinning…You Gotta Go Up to Get Down

24 Hours of Bolton


Images provided by RJ Thompson

What could be more fun than a 12-hour sufferfest on skis? A 24-hour sufferfest on skis! If the suffering part leaves a little to be desired, invite your friends and make it a team sport. Or go it alone – at your own pace – without any thought to racing.

On March 19-20, 2016, Vermont’s own Bolton Valley is hosting the 24 Hours of Bolton, New England’s first 24-hour backcountry event. Those fond of sleeping can opt for the shortened, 12-hour version. We at Ibex LOVE these endurance-o-ramas. They’re challenging, but wicked fun, at least as defined by endorphin junkies. Plus, if Merino wool were to design its ultimate event, a massive endurance race with temperatures ping ponging all over the place would be it.

There’s no getting around the fact that a 12- or 24-hour endurance race is going to kick your butt. The drooling, lactic acid fueled, muscle burning, lung-wrenching element is an ode to what the human mind and body can endure. There’s a perverse poetry to the grit. Pure genius.

“The beauty of this race is that it’s the most challenging winter race in New England this year,” says RJ Thompson, the founder and event director. “It’s going to bring together hardcore athletes who are focused and dedicated to their sport, with folks who are simply trying to see what their body is capable of, and to have a blast and enjoy a community event.”

RJ is a longtime friend of Ibex. We humbly refer to him as an endurance god, which he didn’t know…until now. (Hi, RJ.) He’s also the man behind Native Endurance, his guiding and coaching company that is producing the race.

Here’s the lowdown of the event:

  • There is a daylight course and a nighttime course, because backcountry skiing in tree glades in the dark doesn’t constitute a wise decision. The 2-mile night loop is on the ski area at Bolton Valley.
  • The daylight course is a 3.5-mile backcountry loop through thick stands of trees and wide open, Green Mountain vistas.
  • You can go solo for 12 or 24 hours, or you can join your best buddy for a team of two, or three compadres for a team of four.
  • Your sweat can be put toward a good cause. Every registrant is automatically set up with an account, plus all the tools, to orchestrate a fundraising effort to benefit Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports. It’s not mandatory to participate in this, but why not shoot out a few emails to raise money for a good cause? One hundred percent of the monies raised through the fundraising effort go to Vermont Adaptive.

Right now, all of New England may be dreaming of snow to slide down, let alone skin up. Not to worry: the 24 Hours of Bolton has a contingency plan in place should the course lack snow or be deemed unsafe (presumably due to too much snow). Choose your team now or build a killer playlist for long, solo hours. We may as well take advantage of this mild training weather while we wait on the white stuff. Happy trails.

Come back to the Buzz soon for RJ’s Tips on Training for an Ultra-Endurance Event.