Monday, April 20, 2009

Billy Dutton Uphill

Last Sunday, I finally took part in a local event I've always wanted to do: The Billy Dutton Uphill. The race celebrates the life of Billy Dutton, who used to hike to the top of the mountain every day before work during his days at the Squaw Valley Resort. Athletes are invited to ski, run, snowshoe, or, as the event declares, just "run what 'ya brung!" in your attempt to climb 2000' to High Camp.

Runners Gather at the Start

Squaw Patrollers run in memory of fellow patroller Andrew Entin

Ascending the initial slope

I had a blast doing this race, and I have to admit, the 3.2 miles were harder than I'd expected. I opted for running shoes with YakTrax on. These "chains for shoes" mak
e running over ice and hard-packed snow a breeze. Conditions were firm, and snow shoes were definitely not necessary.

The runners and skiers seemed fairly evenly divided, and I wondered which would prove the quickest up the hill. The director signaled the start, and we
headed up the Mountain Run (the easiest way down from the top). My heart rate soared, and I was immediately reduced to a walk. When the incline relaxed a bit, I was able to run again, and thus began my slow slog to the summit: run-walk-run-walk.

Runner Peter Fain leads the skiers up the hill

The day was gorgeous, and I was appreciating this unconventional time on the slopes before the hordes of downhill skiers would invade. Conditions were perfect for running! A mere 51 minutes later, I was at the top.

It turned out that the first two finishers were skiers, with Peter right behind them. The last stretch is downhill, so a runner would have to have a good lead to avoid being caught by a pursuing skier at the finish. Full results can be found here.

My friend Ben and his band provided live music on the deck, while people sipped beer, relaxed in the sun and gazed out at the stunning view. Just another day in Paradise.

Skiers gain the advantage on the slight downhill into the finish

The view from the top--well worth the climb!

The tram ride back to the bottom

Check back tomorrow for my report on a much different race: this weekend's adventure at Diablo!


  1. Makes me think of Western States. Trying to picture the hills without the snow. From the snow of Squaw to the heat of Diablo. Looking forward to reading about your race experience yesterday.

  2. What a cool race! I've done the Mountain Run a couple times in the summer, but that looks like more fun. And what an awesome day for it!

  3. Wow-ah-ha-how! Those are awesome pictures! Beautiful day, and sounds like a great fun run, and a nice shift from the norm. :)

  4. Cool race format--sounds like a fun one.

  5. hi Gretchen,

    What a beautiful race! I've been enjoying your race reports a lot this year.

    I just wanted to drop a line to mention that my friend Theresa and I decided to come up from Berkeley for the Escape from Prison Hill half based on your blog. Looking forward to a great run and to seeing you there! We met briefly in 2007 at the Tahoe Rim Trail race.