Race Traces Tracks of Father Dyer Postal Route
“Can I get an Amen please?” Sounds just like the type of thing high-alpine racers will be saying as they take on the Father Dyer Postal Route Ski Race in Lake County on Saturday, Apr. 8. But you’d better hurry up and make the commitment, as registration closes tomorrow, Wednesday, Mar. 15.
Backcountry enthusiasts and event organizers, Alex Lee and Heather Glyde invite athletes to “test their mettle in this ski race in the Mosquito Range east of Leadville!” The course will include groomed mining roads, alpine skin tracks and the summit of Centennial 13’er Dyer Mountain at 13,855′. The event is dubbed as the highest ski race in North America!
The course is roughly 25 miles long and includes approximately 6,500 ft. of vertical gain (and loss). The route is subject to change as organizers finalize permission details. However, racers-in-training should note the disclaimer on the race’s website:
- This race is UNSUPPORTED in terms of sustenance. This means that you are responsible for your own food and water for the duration of the race. DO NOT rely on aid stations for food.
- Disclaimer: Please note that we have obtained special permission to cross several sections of private land. Legally, anyone who wishes to preview the course will need to obtain their own permission. Please also note that several sections of the course involve technical skiing, high altitude, avalanche terrain and serious mountain commitment. Plan accordingly.
- There will be emergency personnel and check stations at various locations throughout the course. Check station personnel will not be feeding you or helping with broken or lost gear.
- All in all, plan as if you were going skiing 25 miles on your own. If you need help deciding what to bring please drop us a line.
The race’s namesake, Father Dyer was a Methodist preacher, and Leadville’s best “circuit rider.” More formally known as John Lewis Dyer, this Minnesota minister became the legendary “Snowshoe Itinerant” when he brought his message to Colorado. Carrying the word of God and cherished postal letters from home over the mountains, he crossed 13,000 foot Mosquito Pass several times per week in a variety weather conditions. This regular trek eventually prompted the invention of his unique footwear that carried him safely across the top of several feet of snow, without sinking.
The present-day Father Dyer Postal Route takes racers up 3 peaks over 12,000′ including Centennial 13er Dyer Mountain (13,855’) and involves three demanding backcountry ski lines. And if spring snow storms continue to roll through, the same snow-laden high altitude basins once traveled by the one-and-only Father Dyer could present similar conditions for modern-day challengers.
This race is a non-profit event partnered with the Lake County High Riders Snow Trails Association, a 501c3 and supported by local businesses and volunteers. Proceeds from the race will go towards the development of Leadville’s winter trails network. Read More about Leadville’s Winter Trails, including a trail map: STORY.
The Father Dyer Postal Route includes a weekend of activities, however the 5 a.m. start time on Saturday, Apr. 8 will have mountaineering fanatics up and at it before the sunrise! Race organizers are also looking for volunteers to assist with course marshaling, check stations, timing and “morale” stations. Check their site for all the details.
Remember, this is an unsupported team race. There is a mandatory gear list. Registration closes this Wednesday, Mar. 15, at high noon so adventurers better get it done today: LINK.