Meany Patrol Race Viewing – March 19

Learn about the Meany Patrol Race, and how you can watch the race this year both beside the trail and at the end-point of Meany Lodge.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
March 14, 2022

The Meany Patrol Race is back for another year! Join us as we watch teams race along the historic track and celebrate their accomplishments at The Mountaineers Meany Lodge on March 19, 2022. 

Watch the race

There are two easy access points for the patrol race course. Both the access points are on the Summit Nordic trail system, so anyone wanting to see the racers will need to be traveling on skis and should have a trail pass. These points cover the area behind the Summit Central and East (Hyak) ski resorts.

NEAR ROCKDALE CREEK (LOCATION CIRCLED IN RED BELOW):

The Pacific Crest Trail crosses a groomed road here where “fans” could cross paths with the racers. Racers to cross here between 7am-9am.

WINDY PASS OR OLLALIE MEADOWS (LOCATION CIRCLED IN GREEN BELOW):

The Pacific Crest Trail crosses a groomed road here where “fans” could cross paths with the racers. Racers to cross here between 8am-10am.

Windy Pass.jpeg

It would be easy to weave around the cross country trails between these two points or even just ski along the PCT (which is also where the racers will be traveling - please be courteous).

PCT.png

Other than these two options, the course is tough to access without a snowmobile, as it occasionally links up with groomed roads. One option at the south end of the course is to get to Stampede Pass (circled in Blue) where we will have a manned checkpoint. This would require a traveling several miles from the Crystal Springs parking lot on groomed roads frequented by snowmobile traffic.  Racers will likely cross here between 12pm and 4pm.

The other (and most fun!) choice is to enjoy watching the racers finish at Meany Lodge between 1pm and 5pm.

History of the Meany patrol Race

From 1930-1942 the Meany Patrol Race was the premier ski race in the Northwest, with participants traveling over 18+ miles in the mountains before arriving at Meany Lodge. 

This Mountaineers tradition is run entirely by volunteers. One individual in particular, Nigel Steere, has made the modern Patrol Race what it is today. Read on to hear Nigel's account of what it was like revitalizing the race, and what participants and spectators can expect. 

The Modern Patrol Race

by Nigel Steere

In 2014, The Mountaineers revived its classic patrol races for the first time since 1941. After learning of the historical Patrol Race from photos and notes in an old photo album at Meany Lodge, I floated the idea to restart the race to the Meany Lodge Committee. After getting unanimous support to “go for it,” it was on.  With a marketing campaign of little more than word-of-mouth that we planned to rekindle the 70+ year old tradition, the 2014 race saw eleven teams try the course, seven teams finish, and one snowmobile that had to be towed from the spot of its mechanical demise. Despite inexperience and blind optimism, history was made with both men and women racing the course for the first time since its inception, and proved to be a wild success. 

The following year, we were skunked by a lack of snow and were unable to run the event. Despite the spotty start to the modern race, by 2016 we had acquired a Forest Service permit and had run a first-come-first serve registration process which resulted in the race being at capacity fifteen minutes after opening registration. Twenty teams endured a rainy 2016 event, and experienced enhanced race features such as optional target shooting exercises at the checkpoints and an “award” for marksmanship.

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Competitors leaving checkpoint one. Photo by Rick Meade. 

By 2017, the Patrol Race had become so popular that entries were selected by lottery because of the demand to compete. This growing interest also enabled us to include a dedicated women’s division and set a new course record by the fasted team. 2018 unleashed mounds of snow on race day and our unprepared trail breaking crew fell short of our duties. This left the lead teams with portions of the course void of a skin track, making an already grueling course that much more punishing.

i-VHSDr93-X3.jpgPatrol Race participant battling heavy snow conditions with a smile. Photo by Rick Meade. 

From the very beginning of the modern race, we strove to keep the intent and route as close to the historical track as possible, which unfortunately placed the race on what is now a groomed road for five miles of the twenty-mile route. The historic course contained no groomed roads of course, so starting in 2019 we varied the route in that section to keep it off-road, through the forests, and along a route more in line with the original spirit of the race, albeit more lengthy and difficult.

20210313-REM_5757.jpg2021 participant weaving through the forest. Photo by Rick Meade. 

Enthusiasm for this event - the oldest continuing ski race in the Northwest - has only grown. In 2021, 30 teams (13 of which were all women) participated in the 20-mile epic along the snow-covered Pacific Crest Trail. The route contained two manned checkpoints with ax throwing and archery activities, all of which is only possible thanks to the support of over 50 volunteers and access to the historic Meany Lodge, operated and maintained by The Mountaineers. The winning team of each division receives a custom plaque made from a sliced log round divided into three pieces; one section for each team member, who start together, race together, and finish together. 

Winners!.jpg2018 Women's Division Winners. Photo by Rick Meade. 

Lead image by Rick Meade.