Grin and Bear It set to jet this Saturday

Maybe no lake plunges though

by Than Acuff

Two weeks ago questions swirled as to where the turnaround point for the 36th annual Grin and Bear It mountain run might be on Saturday, July 13. Typically, the race turns around at a Ponderosa Pine on the shores of Green Lake at the base of Axtell Mountain. But with snow still settled into the dark timber and up around the lake, reaching the usual high point was uncertain.

One week later and some man hours of work put in, though, the green light is on for Green Lake.

“It’s on,” says Crested Butte Nordic events director Andrew Arell. “The trail was cleared by the CBCC [Crested Butte Conservation Corps] so we’re good to go. There may be a little snow tromping to touch the Ponderosa.”

However, the Green Lake plunge and swim out to the buoy for a prize is off the table, as the lake is reportedly still holding some slush.

“We’ll come up with something else,” says Arell. “Maybe if someone brings down a pound of snow or something we will have a prize.”

The Grin and Bear It course is 9.3 grueling miles from the town of Crested Butte to Green Lake and back with 1,700 vertical feet of elevation gain and loss. Participants will start at the Crested Butte Nordic Center and climb up to Journey’s End Road on the Bench, where they will then turn onto the Green Lake Trail. The 4.5-mile trail winds its way up and over Gibson’s Ridge, across Trapper’s Road, ending at Green Lake. Runners then return on the same route, finishing at the Nordic Center.

While the out-and-back format could lend itself to some midcourse collisions, those have been remarkably avoided, for the most part. That said, there have been some weary-legged runners who have clipped a root or rock and gone tumbling, but that’s all part of the mountain running experience.

As of press time this week, registration is lagging a bit behind prior years but Arell believes now that the course is clear and the word gets out, that number will grow as race day approaches.

“We’re about half of what we want to see right now,” says Arell. “We’re pushing hard to get it up to 100. We always get a nice number of participants to keep it a quality race.”

While Arell does ask that anyone wishing to do the race register online, they will take registrations the morning of the race at the Crested Butte Nordic Center during the bib pick-up time starting at 8 a.m.

In addition, while it is a race, it does not need to be raced. The Grin and Bear It is a fundraiser for the Crested Butte Junior Nordic Team and so if you wish to support that cause but not run, walking the course to Green Lake and back is also encouraged.

The Grin and Bear It is the first of four events in the Eddyline trail running series and for all of you Grand Traverse mountain run participants, the Grin and Bear It is a great way to put your mountain running legs to the test and see where you stand in your current training regimen.

Complimentary Camp 4 Coffee and BoBo’s Oat Bars will be served to participants at bib pick-up. Upon your arrival at the finish, you’ll be treated to a French toast breakfast and post-race libations provided by Eddyline Brewing.

Registration and information about the Grin and Bear It race can be found at

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