THE DATE OF THE GNARLY BEAR HAS BEEN MOVED UP TWO WEEKS THIS YEAR TO THE END OF SEMPTEMBER TO AVOID POTENTIAL SNOWFALL AND TO BETTER CAPTURE THE LATE AUTUMN BEAUTY. WE HAVE ALSO MADE SOME CHANGES TO THE COURSE FOR 2019 TO ELIMINATE SOME ROUGHER ERODED TRAILS, THE OUT-AND-BACK TO THE CAMPGROUND (which was not a FUN stretch), SOME CONFUSING JUNCTIONS THAT WERE DIFFICULT TO MARK, AND ALMOST ALL GRAVEL ROADS (along with the accompanying vehicle traffic). THE MARKING WILL BE GREATLY IMPROVED FOR 2019. PLUS WE HAVE ADDED SOME NEW SECTIONS THROUGH PLEASING AREAS OF THE MOUNTAIN WITH FANTASTIC VISTAS. THE RUNNERS WILL LOVE THE VIEWS!
The 12.5k, 25k and 50k course is a unique but challenging course that has something for every style of trail runner. The 50k is a two-loop course that starts and ends at the base of Kelly Canyon ski slopes.
The start is a half mile semi-flat beginning before a one mile steep climb to the backside of Buckskin-Morgan Ridge and turning into a double track section of trail we call "The Roller Coaster" for another 2 miles before entering the 218 gravel road. NEW FOR 2019, the gravel road is only a short section and now turns off onto a dirt road to minimize the motorized traffic and cut down on the gravel dust. The trail is slightly uphill for just over one mile until it reaches the top of Buckskin-Morgan Ridge and continues along the road. It then turns east onto a trail along the top of the ridge with SPECTACULAR VIEWS until reaching the gravel road where it crosses the gravel road onto a pleasing gradual downward foot trail. At this point is the initial aid station at the Y-Junction parking and restroom area. Family and friends can greet runners here, although parking is limited. THE DOWN-AND-BACK ON THE GRAVEL ROAD TO THE CAMPGROUND HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
THE COURSE HAS BEEN CHANGED AT THIS POINT FOR 2019 TO HEAD UP THE MOUNTAIN (except for the 12.5k runners who head down to the lodge) on a groomer road and ski run called CRYSTAL CRUISE which winds its way to the top of the east end of the ski mountain. This will be the most challenging part of the course as you climb to the top of the ski mountain. The course then follows the NEW TRAILS CONSTRUCTED FOR THE NEW MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK WHICH WIND THROUGH MODERATELY UP-AND-DOWN FOREST AREAS at the top of the mountain near the radio tower. Here the views of surrounding valleys and mountain ranges are BREATHTAKING. The second aid station at the top of Chairlift 4 will be available at this point. The course then descends underneath the chairlifts down some main sections of ski runs interspersed with trails through the tree islands. The final stretch down is a fun winding trail through the trees called Hunter Walker. The trail ends at the ski lodge thus completing the 25k loop and the halfway point of the 50k where music, food, and trail-running greatness will be waiting for you! The entire course map can be found on the Kelly Canyon website at skikelly.com in the Gnarly Bear section at the bottom of the home page!
We are able to accommodate wishes to change race distance up through the racer meeting on Friday night before the Saturday race. Please submit any wishes to change to our race directors who will be on hand. The race start times are 7:30a for the 50k, 8:30a for the 25k, and 9:00a for the 12.5k.
Suport Crews/Bag Drop
The course is a 25k loop starting and ending in front of the Kelly Canyon Ski Resort lodge. Crew support is allowed at the Y-Junction where there is limited public parking and a Forest Service restroom. There is also limited bag-drop at the top of chairlift 4. The last and best spot is at the lodge (halfway point) 25k into the race. A designated drop bag area will be provided at Kelly Canyon ski lodge. No pacers will be allowed for either distance.
Bag and Number Pick up
We will have the runner bag pick up at Kelly Canyon ski lodge from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Friday the night before the race. There will be a brief MANDATORY runner meeting at 6:30 pm at the lodge. Friday evening starting at 6:00 pm is the PASTA FEED (included in the registration fee) for runners and a guest. Swag giveaways will follow the mandatory runner meeting!
Runners with Benefits.....
We know what's on your mind...... What's in it for me?
Local time: 3:44 AM
-A mind blowing beautiful course with spectacular views during a cooler time of year
-Access to pleasing trails on a ski mountain with open and wooded terrain for alternating shade and sunshine
-Hefty amount of on-course support, including medical trained ski patrollers, to make your day great
-Music and food as you start and finish including the Friday night pasta feed
-Runner tech shirts, prizes, and swag including the highly-sought-after GNARLY BEAR LICENSE PLATE for each participant