Large snowpack, avalanche debris force cancellation of Hardrock 100 endurance run

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SILVERTON, Colo. — This year’s Hardrock 100 endurance race, one of the most difficult ultraruns in the world that attracts athletes from around the world, was canceled Monday because of high snowpack and avalanche debris, organizers said.

The race, which includes a lottery for would-be competitors, features runners who must climb and descend 33,000 feet over 100.5 miles in less than 48 hours in the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado.

This year’s race would have been the 26th running.

But historic snowpack levels and avalanche debris along the course forced the cancellation. The race was canceled in 2002 because of wildfires and in 1995 because of heavy late-season snow.

“Here’s an [avalanche] field right next to an aid station with 6 to 8 to 10 … who knows how many feet of snow,” Bryon Powell, a past Hardrock participant, pointed out in a video he captured of the area.

Powell captured some footage of the massive snowpack on his website.

Organizers said an inability to reach 10 of the 13 aid stations and uncertain conditions on more than 40% of the course led to the decision.

“This decision, while difficult, adheres to the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run’s overall commitment to land stewardship and the safety of the Hardrock community,” organizers said in a statement.

“While snow and snow water equivalent levels looked to be dropping to manageable levels, other issues such as unprecedented avalanche debris, unstable snow bridges and high-water levels all contributed to us reaching the tough final decision that we did,” race director Dale Garland said.

The race begins and ends in Silverton and goes through Ouray, Telluride and Lake City.

More than 2,200 people applied for one of the 145 slots, which are determined by a lottery.

Those entered into the race as of Monday can roll over their entry to next year’s run or withdraw their slot and receive a full refund. Garland must be notified by Wednesday.

There will not be a lottery for the 2020 race and no additional applications will be taken.

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