Patrol Race

Ski from Snoqualmie Pass to Windy Pass to Yakima Pass over Stampede Pass to Meany Lodge following the historical patrol race course.

GENERAL RACE INFORMATION:

For the latest banter go to the Patrol Race Facebook page

What:

A three-person-team backountry ski race (not a relay) -  See the patrol race history for prior years results. 

When:

Saturday February 24th 2018. Start time: 6:00am to 8:00am.

Where:

Snoqualmie Pass (Summit West) to Meany Lodge near Stampede Pass (over 19 miles and nearly 4500 feet of elevation gain/loss)

How to Register:

Signups for this year's patrol race are via lottery.

LOTTERY IS CLOSED FOR 2018 RACE.

To register visit Patrol Race Lottery Signup Page and fill out the form with your team name and team members. We will notify teams in January of the results of the lottery and further instructions on how to register.

Please read the event information carefully below before registering for the lottery and make sure you have the right experience level in backcountry skiing. For questions, contact: patrol.race.coordinator@meanylodge.orgThe registration fee for winners of the lottery will be $65 per person for Mountaineer members, $75 for non-members.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

In the 1920’s adventurous Mountaineers scouted an 18+ mile ski route between their two mountain lodges (one near Snoqualmie Pass, the other near Stampede Pass). In 1930, they inaugurated a race over this route. This race was the first of its kind in North America. Three-person teams would start at intervals from the Snoqualmie Lodge over a trail broken by a party that left before dawn. Each person was required to carry a ten-pound pack of emergency provisions and the three team members had to finish within a minute of each other at the Meany Ski Hut (near Stampede Pass). The race ran for twelve years and produced tales of both misadventure and great ski prowess.

Some history written by Lowell Skoog, Mountaineer Historian:

ROUTE MAP:

IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE RACE

  • This is a team race in which all three team members must start, race and finish together.
  • This is a true backcountry race where you and your team need to be fully competent in route finding and moving safely through avalanche terrain. Excellent snow safety skills, backcountry skiing skills, equipment and fitness are required on this challenging route.
  • Your team should have the equipment and ability to erect a shelter and bivouac in winter conditions over night if it is necessary.
  • Each team member must have a minimum of a completed AIARE Level 1 course, or The Mountaineers Avalanche Awareness Course .
  • The route is from the base of the ski resort at Summit West, roughly following the Pacific Crest Trail and finishing at Meany Lodge (Near Stampede Pass). See map link above for details.
  • There will be two manned checkpoints, but there will be no aid stations along the way - your team is responsible for all of your food, water, clothing and well being for the duration of the race. There is no cell service on most of the route.
  • Total on-course times are usually between 5 and 10 hours at a good race pace under good weather conditions. This can be significantly longer if weather or complications get involved. There will be specified cutoff times at the two manned checkpoints that have to be met for teams to be allowed continue. Teams that fail to make the cutoff times will be taken to Meany Lodge via snow machine.
  • Race volunteers will do their best to break a skin track on the route as close to race day as possible, but winter weather is unpredictable. Losing the skin track or having it become covered in blowing or falling snow is a very likely possibility. Therefore it is critical that your team is equipped and capable of doing your own route finding to the destination or exiting via a bailout route if necessary. There is no guarantee that you will be able to follow a marked trail or skin track. You must be responsible for your own navigation and route finding in the event that conditions make this necessary.

RACE DAY LOGISTICS (PARKING, ACCOMmODATIONS, START TIME, ETC)

  • Teams will be started between 6:00AM and 8:00AM from Summit West. More specifics on the race start and the course in general will be given to the team leader prior to the race start. Here is a link to the start of the race (near the base of Little Thunder chair): Race Start Map
  • We will have a vehicle at the race start for your team’s gear that you would like taken to Meany Lodge at the finish.
  • There are a total of 20 overnight parking spots available at Summit West for racers the morning of the race. You should carpool as there are only 20 spots for about 20 teams. See this map for parking location. Please print out this Dashboard Card and place it on your dashboard with a contact phone number.
  • There will be a shuttle option for you and your gear back to the start Saturday night after the awards ceremony, or you may arrange for your own car to be parked at the Crystal Springs Sno-Park. Be sure to have the required Sno-Park passes as described here.
  • You are encouraged to stay overnight, relax, and enjoy everything Meany Lodge has to offer! As a racer, you will be able to reserve an overnight space at a discounted rate. In addition to a bunk, this includes Sunday breakfast, lunch, and all the skiing/riding you can handle on our rope tows.
  • Meany Lodge is accessed from the Crystal Springs SnoPark, about 10 miles east of Snoqualmie Summit. If you park there, you will need the appropriate parking passes as described here.
  • Race Starting "Waves" - We will be staggering teams by about 6 minutes and your actual team start time will be recorded as the actual time you depart. However, we would like to divide the teams in to three separate "waves" (team starts will be staggered within the wave, but consider this the earliest time your team will start). Getting the slower teams out first gives them the best chance to make the cut-off times and finish the race while it is still light out. 
  1. Turtle Wave 6:00 AM - "We are just hoping to finish this beast."
  2. Super Worm Wave 6:40 AM - "We know we can make it to Checkpoint 1 before 1:00 (this is a firm cutoff time), but we are not looking to set a course record."
  3. Mach Wave 7:20 AM - "We are fast and we like to win (or we secretly just want to do the first half of the course, miss the cutoff time, and then take a snow machine ride to the finish)."

OFFICIAL RACE RULES – SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS NECESSARY:

The intent of this race is to follow the format of the original race as close as reasonably possible utilizing modern backcountry travel gear and safety equipment.

  1. Each team must consist of 3 members. The team members must start, race, and finish together (within one minute of each other). Team members must stay within earshot of each other the entire time. Any deviation from this rule will result in a disqualification, and for safety reasons, this rule must be followed.
  2. Teams will set out from the start at Summit West staggered by between 5-10 minutes. All three members of each team must start together, race together and arrive together at Meany Lodge within one minute of each other.
  3. Teams that fail to arrive before 1:00PM on race day to Checkpoint 1 or 4:00PM to Checkpoint 2 will be taken to Meany Lodge via snow machine. Any allowances to this rule is at the sole discretion of the race director. These “cutoff times” are for the safety of the racers and the volunteers on the course.
  4. Teams must not accept any assistance outside of their own team members.
  5. Each team member must carry the required equipment

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT

  • The 10 essentials (very important)
  • Headlamp/illumination
  • Steel-edged ski or snowboard touring gear (ski crampons may be recommended pending conditions)
  • Map of the route, compass, altimeter and/or GPS
  • Avalanche beacon, probe and shovel
  • Extra food and water. This is a self-supported race so each team must carry all hydration and nutrition needed to complete the race.
  • Ice Axe and Boot Crampons (pending conditions on race day)
  • Hand Held FRS/GMRS Radio (at least one per team) and extra batteries (Meany Lodge monitors channel 6,0). (radio such as: http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-MR350R-35-Mile-22-Channel-Two-Way/dp/B001UE6MJ8
  • First Aid Kit (one per team)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  • Can my team have an alternate? You are welcome to have alternate(s) fill in on your team as long as we know well in advance of race day. Let us know at patrol.race.coordinator@meanylodge.org as soon as you know of a roster change so we can get the new team member registered.
  • What does the $65 (Mountaineers member) entry fee get me? It gets you dinner at Meany Lodge and a ride back to your car at the start after the awards ceremony Saturday night and helps us cover the costs of running the race. Any and all proceeds left over go to help keep the lights on at Meany which is an entirely volunteer run operation of The Mountaineers.
  • Can I stay overnight at Meany? YES! and we encourage it. As a racer, you will get a special discount code e-mailed to you that will allow you to stay overnight for $45 on the bunks of Meany Lodge and enjoy any and all the skiing/riding that your legs can handle on the oldest continuously operating ski resort in the Pacific Northwest (the “Mach Tow”). Breakfast, lunch and transportation back to your car at the start are included. Reservations can be made here (you must be logged in to the website).
  • General Meany Information Click here for more in depth information on general Meany Lodge information.
  • What is an average race time? Team race times are between 5 and 10 hours at a good race pace, under good weather conditions.
  • Could the race be postoned due to poor weather or avalanche danger? Yes - if the conditions are unsafe we will pospone the race. The current thinking is it would be the 2nd weekend of March.
  • How do I get more information?  For additional questions or more information you can contact Nigel Steere or Pat Boyle (race coordinators) at patrol.race.coordinator@meanylodge.org