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Snow King Runners Hill Climb Race (A Racer’s Review)

{This is an interview with Spencer Nelson, the son of one of Flat Creek Inn’s owners. He has worked at the Flat Creek Inn and lived in Jackson Hole for two different summers. He is currently a student at Utah Valley University.}

Tell us a little about you and your experience with running…

My name is Spencer Nelson, and I am from American Fork, Utah. I’ve run 3 marathons, two Ragnars, and a Red Bull 400. I like running because it’s fun to do and it feels great. It’s the best exercise in my opinion. I typically run 3 times a week.

Spencer at the Hill Climb Race. (He’s the one on the far right.)

What enticed you to run the Hill Climb? And when did you run it?

I have been running for several years and I really enjoy trail running. I lived in Jackson for a summer and while I was there I would go running on Snow King several times a week. I decided I wanted to be able to run to the top of Snow King without stopping so I started conditioning myself to be able to do that. Not long after that I found out about the Hill Climb.  I went and watched the event and decided it was something I wanted to do. A year later I ran in the 2017 Hill Climb. I enjoyed it so much I did it again in 2018.

How long is the race?

The race is 2.3 miles. The first half mile is the road leading up to the mountain. And it has a 1571 foot elevation climb. It starts at Town Square and finishes on the summit of Snow King.

How long did it take you to train?

I trained for a year before I did it the first time.

What did you do to prepare yourself?

I have always lived close to mountains so my training consisted pretty much entirely of running up and down mountain trails.

What was your experience running the race? How did it go for you?

Well the first time I did it I actually felt really nauseous the whole time so I didn’t do as well as I thought I would. It was still a good experience, but I knew I could do better so I did it again in 2018, and I did a lot better.

How did you feel when you reached the top of Snow King?

The race finishes at the summit just under the top of the ski lift. The first time I felt terrible. Like I said I was super nauseous, but I was really glad it was over. The second time I did a lot better and I felt really accomplished that I had improved so much.

About how many people ran the race? Did most people walk or run?

In both races there were about 70-80 people. Just about everyone ran all the way to the base of the mountain, but once everyone started running up pretty much everyone started walking. Very few people ran the whole thing without stopping. About half would switch off between running and walking until they made it to the top.

Would you do the race again?

I would definitely do it again. It’s a long drive up to Wyoming [from Utah] and I have started training for different races (I am currently training for the Park City Red Bull 400 on June 1st), but if I’m in town I will definitely do it.

What would you do differently if you ran it again?

If I do it again I will run up without stopping. The first time I had to walk most of it. The second time I only walked part of it. So it would be nice to do the whole thing without stopping.


What would be your advice to others who are thinking about running the Hill Climb?

Just be consistent in your training and really push yourself. Also don’t do anything or eat anything out of the ordinary in the days leading up to the race.

**The next Snow King Hill Climb Runners Race will be held on July 27th, 2019! (This will be the 51st Annual Hill Climb.) It is sponsored by Teton Parks and Rec and you can check with them for more information!**

Call now to book your room at the Flat Creek Inn if you plan on running the Hill Climb this year! 🙂

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