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Mountain Resorts Heat Up With Summer Fitness Events

Killington's Race to Peak (Chandler Burgess)Health, fitness, and well-being are hot topics today. Once ski season winds down, the active outdoors lifestyle trend heats up at mountains resorts. Events like Spartan races and Tough Mudders challenge participants to be fit and mentally tough.

Other festivals like the Wanderlust tour promote well-being and physical fitness through a gentler form of exercise and array of outdoor activities. There are events for kids, too, and some for girls who “just wanna have fun.”

Wanderlusts take place at ski resorts around North America, beginning at Snowshoe, Va., June 3-5 and continuing with stops at Stratton, Vt., June 16-19; Aspen-Snowmass, Colo.; June 30-July 3; Squaw Valley, Calif., July 14-17; Whistler, British Columbia, July 28-Aug. 1; and Tremblant, Quebec, Aug. 11-14.

A Wanderlust Festival includes Yoga classes taught by top professionals, music, meditation sessions with renowned teachers, presentations on topics like food and zero waste, and outdoor activities — hiking, stand up paddle boarding, adventure runs, kayaking, slacklining, and more, Wanderlust spokesperson Kim Small told SnoCountry.com. 

“Wanderlust has grown exponentially since the first event in Squaw Valley (2009) where attendance grew from 700 into the thousands,” Small said.

The concept of Spartan Obstacle events is to overcome mental and physical obstacles to develop mind, body and spirit. Getting outdoors and dirty to test your body’s limits is a good antidote to sedentary lifestyles, Spartan founder Joe Desena believes. Almost one million enter the hardcore worldwide events annually. Ultra Beast, Beast, Super, and Sprint Spartans differ in numbers of obstacles, difficulty, and course length. Kids Races are offered at all ski resorts hosting Spartans.  

Mountain Creek, N.J., kicks off ski-area Spartans April 30, May 1 (Ultra Beast, Beast) followed by Tuxedo Ridge, N.Y., June 11-12, (Sprint); Welch Village, Minn. (Sprint); Blue Mt, Pa., July 16,17, 23 (Super, Sprint); Powder Mt, Utah, Aug. 13 (Super); Breckenridge, Colo., Aug. 27, 28 (Beast, Sprint); and Killington, birthplace of the Spartan, Sept. 17, 18 (Beast, Ultra Beast, Sprint). Blue Mt. and Breckenridge are part of the championship series with $100,000 in prizes.

Dirty Girl Mud Runs are untimed 5k obstacle-course runs for women of all ages and athletic abilities. Designed to gently challenge one’s comfort zone, they emphasize teamwork — helping fellow Dirty Girls jump, hop, bounce, run, crawl and splash to the finish is encouraged; excitement, laughter, camaraderie; partnership — Bright Pink to raise funds for breast and ovarian cancer prevention. Killington (Vt.) hosts July 9 and Copper Mt. (Colo.) Sept. 10. (also in 17 cities)

Tough Mudders feature 10-12 mile mud and obstacle courses designed to test physical strength, stamina, and mental grit. Not about speed (no winners/podiums), they emphasize teamwork, camaraderie, and accomplishing a tough challenge. This summer at Northstar, Calif., June 11, 12; Whistler, BC, June 17, 18, 25; Mount Snow, Vt., June 17, 18; and Snowmass, Colo., Sept. 10, 11. 

Want a “fiendishly filthy 5K that will crush your quads but not your spirit?” Try the July 9 Loon Mt. (N.H.) Monster Mud Run. You crawl through culverts, drag snowmaking hoses through mud, and swim across a snowmaking pond — 20 obstacles, 1,000 feet vertical over 3.1 rugged miles. 

“You can definitely train for races,” Beth Roberts, a certified personal trainer who operates Killington Boot Camp said. She works with men and women to improve their strength and endurance, including classes for those wanting to participate in the Race to the Peak, a challenging 5k (Aug. 20) she sponsors at Killington.

Polly Lynn trained “Big time . . .  every chance I could” for the 2015 Spartan Fittest Bride challenge. Her 24-plus practice runs — up 878 stone stairs with 1,000-foot vertical and back down a rocky mountainside for 2.5-mile workouts — paid off. She beat Elite Spartan winners by 12.5 seconds for a $45,000 wedding. 

Check your favorite areas as many like Jay Peak, Vt. — Trail Fest, Sept, 3, 4; three 5k's, 25k, 50k, kids trailhost races/events for all ages. 

Get fit, have fun!

Photos: (Top left) Race to Peak start line at Ramshead, 2015 (Chandler Burgess); (Center) Wanderlust at Squaw Valley 2015 (Ali Kaunas)

Wanderlust at Squaw Valley (Ali Kaunas)

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