Big­foot chal­lenge is only for the ski ex­trem­ists

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE -

A MARATHON in the snow, peak­ing at about two kilo­me­tres above sea level, 1882 me­tres of descent and more than a mile of climb­ing.

This is the Big­foot Snow Trail – an ex­treme event even for the most ex­treme ath­letes and all in Falls Creek in mid-Septem­ber.

Al­ready there are 100 con­firmed starters for the event that will start at Cloud 9, travel out to the Jaith­mai­tangs and then re­turn drop­ping down Road 24 to be­low How­mans Gap and then re-sum­mit­ing to Cloud 9 be­fore the fi­nal stretch to the fin­ish line at Slalom Plaza.

Run­ners will carry a raft of manda­tory equip­ment in­clud­ing snow­shoes, not the ten­nis rac­quet on your feet style, but high-tech car­bon fi­bre de­signed units that will help on un­groomed snow, run­ners with spikes for the hard-packed trails.

Moun­tain Sport’s Mel Michael says like so many other ex­treme events the only way is up.

“We run the Four Peaks chal­lenge around Bright on the Mel­bourne Cup week­end and this seemed like a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion,” she said.

“The guys were talk­ing about be­ing hard­core run­ners and we thought what bet­ter chal­lenge than to run the moun­tains when they were be­ing moun­tains – when they were un­der snow.

“No pun in­tended but it snow­balled from there.”

Michael es­ti­mates the field will grow to at least 300 in the com­ing years.

“We are see­ing a boom in this sport and with ours the break down is about 60/40 men to women,” she said.

“There is of course a shorter op­tion as well that is only 27.7km.

“But peo­ple are re­ally into test­ing them­selves and with run­ning like this all it takes is two feet and some spirit.

“We also find that events like this take peo­ple to places that they would never dare to ven­ture alone – but with aid sta­tions and a planned run they get to the back coun­try of Australia’s Alps in the win­ter sur­rounded by snow.”

En­tries for the Big­foot Snow Trail close on Septem­ber 1.

For more de­tails visit www. snow­trail.com.au.

ON THE RUN: Or­gan­is­ers held a train­ing camp for the Big­foot Snow Trail in July to test com­peti­tors and the course.

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