During winter, Mountain Run at Palisades Tahoe can be a bit hairy at times. The snow-covered trail spans 3.6 miles from High Camp to the base area. As the ski day winds to a close, it becomes a congested freeway as skiers head downhill for some après fun. Come July, Mountain Run takes on a new identity, with hundreds of runners taking the route in reverse for the Palisades Mountain Run.

For more than four decades, the event has been a summertime staple. Some run, others walk, many hit a hiking pace somewhere in between — but they’re all on the same mission to take it to the top. It’s more than just a race, however. With half the proceeds benefiting the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center, over time it has become a pilgrimage to honor loved ones who have fought or are fighting cancer. For some, it’s personal, and they are facing their own battle.

“One of the best parts of this event is how it supports both Far West Nordic Ski Education Association and the Tahoe Forest Cancer Center,” said Far West President Spencer Eusden. “Each year we have many individuals and teams participating in support or memory of people who have fought cancer. In line with the community focus of this event, the Palisades Mountain Run has been, and continues to be, so much more than just a running race.”

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For the first time since its inception, the Palisades Mountain Run will have a new organizer as Auburn Ski Club passes the baton to Far West Nordic Ski Education Association.

“The PMR has always brought together people from across the Far West region,” Eusden said. “Many Far West members and Nordic racers do the race and help volunteer, so it makes a lot of sense for Far West to step in and take over as ASC focuses on other projects, such as their lighted night-skiing and work on their trail system this summer.”

The mountain run is more vertical than your average running race, yet it always draws participants with varied athletic abilities.

“The best way to prepare is to go hike a nearby hill or mountain,” Eusden said. “Race if you’d like, or just come for a hike. The course is challenging but approachable for all ability levels, just listen to your body as you head up the mountain.”

Far West is excited to bring in a few new partners that will help make for a fun and family-friendly event. At the finish line, racers will receive commemorative pint glasses, free beer courtesy of FiftyFifty Brewing Co., a raffle, live music, and lots of snacks for hungry finishers. There will also be a variety of vendor booths from race sponsors, medals for category winners, and free yoga classes on the High Camp deck overlooking Lake Tahoe.

Don’t feel like running all the way up to High Camp? A less intense option is the flower walk. Ride the tram up to High Camp, enjoy a guided walk of the wildflowers around the finish area, and enjoy the same afterparty with all of the racers. Another way to be a part of the action is to lend a hand as a volunteer: hand out bibs, set up the finish line party, or man the aid stations. Folks with a pickup or SUV are also welcome to help get supplies to and from High Camp.

“As with all of the events we run, the best part is bringing the community together in an incredible place,” Eusden said. “Whether you are a seasoned PMR veteran or 2023 is your first year doing the race, you will find a festive and welcoming afterparty with many new friends to be made.”

Info: Find full details and register online at farwestnordic.org.

~ Juliana Demarest/Moonshine Ink    

Author

  • Juliana Demarest

    Juliana Demarest is a Jersey girl with ink in her blood. She fell in love with print journalism at a young age in the '80s when her Uncle Tony would take her to "work" at his weekly paper. In 1997, she co-founded a weekly newspaper in North Jersey. One day, she went to photograph a local farmer for a news story. She ended up marrying him and leaving journalism to become a farmer's wife. In 2010, they packed up their two children and headed to Truckee in pursuit of the outdoor life. She didn't realize just how much she missed journalism until she joined Moonshine in 2018 after taking time off to be mom. Connect with Juliana juliana@moonshineink.com

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