While summer sports tend to dominate the racing scene in Salida, it’s a year-round wonderland. clip into your alpine skis for downhill racing at Monarch, snap into your cross country skis for the Cosmic competitive cross-country ski series, and strap on your snowshoes for snow runs throughout the winter. And when you’re done with all that, pick yourself up a sled dog or 10, and sign up for some skijoring or sled-dog races. Here’s a few races to look out for if you like rosy cheeks and icicles in your beard.
The Town Challenge Ski Race Series – The Town Challenge Ski Race Series is a series of team slalom races that run January through March at Monarch Ski Area just down the road from Salida. The races feature races for all ages and abilities, including telemark, A-league skiing, B-league skiing, snowboard, masters divisions, and super seniors. Compete in individual events, or as a team with other racing enthusiasts.
Monarch Mountain Race the Divide – Part of the Cosmic series mountaineering competitive ski racing series, the Monarch Mountain Race the Divide is a grueling cross country ski race over the continental divide in the middle of winter, covering miles of challenging terrain and over 3,000 feet of elevation gain on Monarch Mountain. And if you’re into that kind of thing and want to more Cosmic Series fun, the Wolf Creek Rando and the Griggs Orthopedic Ski Mountaineering Ski Race are over the hills and through the woods in the neighboring San Luis Valley.
Christmas Mountain Run – If you can’t get enough trail running in during the summer, there are a number of snow runs in the area, most sponsored by the Chaffee County Running Club. The Christmas Mountain Run in mid-December is one of our favorites.
The Dryland Mush – Okay, so it doesn’t technically take place on dog sleds, but it does feature sled dogs. The Dryland Mush in Buena Vista is held in November each year and features teams of dogs participating in cart races as well as modified skijoring (a single dog or two pulling a contestant on skis – or in this case, a bicycle since it’s a dryland event).
Salida was already known as a cyclist’s paradise before mountain bikes hit the scene. The long, lonely, wandering blacktops that weave their way through the surrounding valleys and mountains make for some of the most beautiful and challenging road biking in the country. Throw the thousands of miles of dirt roads, doubletrack, and mountainous singletrack into the mix, and it’s easy to see why Salida has become a bucket list destination for roadies and trailhounds alike. Feel like rubbing cassettes with some other riders while you spin the grinders and bomb the downhills? Here’s a list of road races, enduros, cyclocross, and trail races for bikers of all shapes and sizes!
Salida Bike Fest – This annual bike festival held annually in September in Salida includes the Chainless Bike Race, the Banana Belt Mountain Bike Race, and the Monarch Crest Crank road race, among others. Experience great racing, and even better times, over the course of this three day fall fest.
Salida Classic Time Trial, Criterium, and Road Race – Now in its 13th year, this is a three-day winner-take-all celebration of road racing in, around, and through Salida, Colorado.
Vapor Trail 125 – This invitation only, 24 hour enduro mountain biking race starts at 10 p.m. and finishes the following day, having covered 125 miles, over 17,000 feet of elevation gain, and is known as one of the most brutal, demanding, and rewarding mountain bike races in the country. Participants bike, walk, and carry (yes, carry) their bikes across some of the most challenging and beautiful country in Colorful Colorado.
FIBArk Mountain Bike Races – Yes, it’s a whitewater festival. But it has mountain bike races too.
The Whole Enchilada Enduro – A tiered mountain biking race out of Salida, the Whole Enchilada Enduro features races ranging from 13.5 to 37 depending on your personal penchant for pain and levels of biking experience.[Top]