For some die-hard skiers and snowboarders, Nov. 22 was the start of something big. Actually, it was the start of something Epic.
Nov. 22 marked the beginning of the inaugural Epic Race, a four-country, 26-mountain odyssey to ski every mountain accessible via Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass. The globetrotters will compete during the entire season, and the first 10 racers to finish will win an Epic Pass for life. More than 300 contestants signed up, including a family from Eagle.
The Vega family – Christian, Erin and their 12-year-old daughter Cloe Vail – were chosen to participate in the once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The adventure was likely in the stars for the family, considering “Vail” is a middle name for only-child Cloe. She is a student at Eagle Valley Middle School, where teachers are allowing her to work on projects while traveling. Cloe and dad Christian are working together as a parent/minor duo, while Erin is competing as a single entry.
“We are enjoying the trip and it will definitely be a memorable experience, traveling the world with the family with a focused goal,” Christian said.
The family mascot, Epic Eddy, is also along for the ride.
“He adds a zany element to the daily routine because he is new to the sport and is trying to figure everything out – usually with a few mishaps along the way,” Erin said.
The stuffed snowman sports a cozy yellow scarf and can be seen in the family’s videos through the Epic Race’s website.
So far, the Vegas have remained in the top half of the racers according to the leaderboard, but the results mean less to Erin than the actual experience.
“My family is thrilled to be participating in this adventure, and we look forward to experiencing all 26 Vail Resorts mountains during the next few weeks,” she said.
The family considers themselves fortunate to live so close to world class skiing.
“The participation in the Epic Race has completely exceeded our expectations,” said Vail Resorts chief marketing officer, Kirsten Lynch. All racers must ski or ride all 26 resorts on the Epic Pass and document and share their experience at each stop. After racers report they have visited all 26, all content will be verified. Winners will be determined upon completion of the race and verification of compliance with the official rules. Epic Racers are responsible for their own expenses in undertaking the Epic Race and they are not permitted to ski or ride more than one resort per day in the U.S. and two resorts per day in Europe, to ensure they capture and enjoy the full experience of each mountain.
Sold in all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries across the globe, the Epic Pass gives skiers and riders access to 26 iconic mountains in four countries. Vail Resorts is offering the season pass at $729 for adults and $379 for children (ages 5-12).
Anyone and everyone can follow the race at http://epicrace.epicpass.com and each racer will need to ski or ride all 26 resorts on the 2013/14 Epic Pass, which are:
Colorado: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Eldora
Utah: Canyons Resort in Park City
Lake Tahoe Region (California and Nevada): Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood
Minnesota: Afton Alps
Michigan: Mt. Brighton
Austria: Arlberg – St. Anton, Lech, Zürs, St. Christoph and Stuben
France: Les 3 Vallées – Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens and Orelle
To be elible to win, Epic racers will document and upload two photos and one video detailing their experiences at each resort, then they will share the information via social networks. At each of the resorts in Verbier, Switzerland; Arlberg, Austria; and Les 3 Vallées, France, racers will also be required to obtain a unique Epic Race stamp as further proof of participation.
Erin has been surprised to find that the Epic Race experience was completely different than what she had expected.
“At each mountain we have several locations to visit; usually these are ‘hidden treasures/local favorites’ that might be missed by skiers focused on bagging the most runs in a day. It is a treat to experience the best the mountains have to offer, while we are sharing this racing adventure with our family.”
A sample of some of the other competitors include a couple of father-son teams from Park City, Utah, and Louisville, Colo., who want to spend serious bonding time over their shared passion; a man from Denver who has run for president of the United States, holds multiple Guinness World records and has been SCUBA diving with sharks; a student from Colorado State University who is currently studying abroad in France; an Odessa, Fla. couple of 32 years that skipped hosting Thanksgiving at their house to participate; a 47-year-old airline pilot from Atlanta, Ga., who is out to prove that older guys still have it by doing a boardslide in the terrain park of every mountain; a family from St. Paul, Minn.; a couple from Lake Tahoe who got engaged at Heavenly and is using the race as the honeymoon they never took; and a woman from New Jersey whose second date with Mr. Right will be the Epic Race.
The contestants didn’t meet before the race, so they have no idea who their competition is up on the mountain.
“We only know the other racers by the names listed on the Epic Race website. We can’t help but wonder if every person we pass on the slopes is also racing in the Epic Race,” said Erin.
“So far, the race has created a new element of excitement to our skiing.” Christian added. “Our schedule is to be at the last opening resort, Brides-les-Baines, on opening day. It will be interesting to see.”
Check out the Vega Family’s adventure, along with other racers at https://epicrace.epicpass.com/.