Get Tough: Not Your Average Mud Run

Published on 10/30/2012

By Erica Feucht

Tough Mudder

You have, no doubt, seen or been part of the mud run and obstacle race craze this year. From Mudders to Spartans, thrill-seekers have tripled at these events in 2012 alone. As winter approaches and mud becomes frozen ground, we’ve found a list of events that rival the pure adrenaline of Spain’s “Running of the Bulls” without surrendering to its utter chaos. So, Mudder, it’s time to change gears and immerse yourself in a whole world of new and unusual races and competitions. In chronological order, we present 11 fall and winter events that will keep you moving until the mud returns.



November 2012: If you can’t get out of the cold, ya might as well embrace it to the fullest extent. The Antarctic Ice Marathon takes place on the most extreme continent our planet has to offer guaranteeing you exclusive bragging rights for the rest of your life! Registration for the 2013 race has opened, so don’t take to the treadmill this winter, hit those icy roads to prep for some quality time at the South Pole. While you’re there, why not tack on a guided trip to Antarctica’s tallest peak, Vinson Massif?

Antarctic Ice Marathon


Ice yachting may sound like a summer pastime gone horribly wrong, but this brilliant combo of wind-surfing and a large expanse of ice is quickly gaining momentum in the Northern USA. Adapted with speed in mind, these boats clock in around 90 mph for pros. Events and competitions are hosted and managed by ice yachting clubs. Montanta Kite Sports offers lessons to people of all skill-levels while The Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club in Madison, Wisconsin organizes a large base of ice-yachting enthusiasts.

Ice Yachting



Replace your beloved mud pits with endless amounts of snow in snowshoe racing! We’ve found a catalog of all the known snowshoe races organized by region across the northern United States. Snowshoe races begin in December and continue for the remaining winter months with as much diversity and flare as road races in the summer. One of our favorites is the night-race put on by the town of Frisco, CO. The February race date is still tba, but keep an eye on their website and get ready to participate in 2013’s Moonlight Snowshoe 5k Race.

Snowshoe Racing



Get your snow bikes and fat tires ready to race! Grand Targhee will be hosting the Great Snow Fest on January 12, 2013 showcasing the annual snow bike race. Ride along groomed trails of snow on your trusty mountain bike. For those interested in a night-time snow bike race, head to Cooper, CO for the Tennessee Pass Night Jam Bike Race in February 2013. Mountain the dark...on snow. Seriously!? Yes. Keep an eye on the website as details become available.

Snowbike Racing


Ice Climbing race

Ice climbing enthusiasts, get off your axe and head over to Ouray, CO for their annual Ice Fest from January 10-13, 2013. The Ice Park in Ouray opens in December, so you don’t have to wait for the festival. This is the ultimate pilgrimage of any ice climber looking for new heights to ascend. Northeasterners can easily go to the Michigan Ice Fest in February. Challenge yourself during the day out on the ice and spend the evenings among pros and at seminars to take your climbing to the next level.



Take our advice and put the Patagonian Expedition Race on your bucket list. And then thank us at the finish line. Registration requirements are rigid...and entirely worth it. This 10-day team race takes competitors over every imaginable terrain in Chile from February 12-22, 2013. Dubbed the last wild race, it lives up to its name by taking adventurers to some of the most isolated and un-traversed locations on earth. Trekking, climbing, mountain biking and kayaking are par for the course on this true expedition adventure where the obstacles are not man-made, but drawn from nature’s vast repertoire. This is no measly mud run, this is the real deal that adventure races imitate.

Patagonia Expedition Race

Strap your skis on and don’t forget your dogs if you’re participating in the niche sport of skijoring that smushes together water skiing and dog sledding until you have a winter sport. The American Birkebeiner ski race extravaganza brings skijoring to the stage of competitions in the February 22nd Barkie Berkie. Be part of the American rendition of Norway’s famous race to commemorate the 54-km ski-out rescue of the Norwegian prince during Norway’s civil war. Take part in the 50-km skate ski race, or the 54-km classic race among competitors from all countries. If you’d rather see the real deal, head over to Norway for the actual Birkebeiner 2013.

Birkebeiner Race

Who doesn’t wish for a desert heat-wave during the dead of winter? If you’re asking the same question, hop on over to the Sahara Marathon in North Africa on February 25th, 2013. It’s like Bikram for runners. Replace the snow and muck with sand and heat to run amongst international athletes for the Saharawi people who have been living as refugees in nearby Tindouf for 35 years. Run for a cause and raise awareness in a race in and for Africa. This international collaboration is a truly unique experience as well as a setting unlike any other marathon.

Sahara Race



What makes a race more exciting than turning navigation into part of the challenge? For some of us out there, it might be best to bring a buddy who is gifted in topographic map navigation, others might see this as the perfect opportunity to shine. The Frigid Infliction participants will use topographical maps to navigate the course as they showshoe, cross-country ski, posthole and perform tyrolean traverse to reach the finish line of this 10-hour race. Sign up on their email list for info about upcoming races.

The Frigid Infliction



Are you the ultimate mountaineer? The CopperMan 3k obstacle race will help you find out. Copper Mountain ski resort in Colorado hosts the Sunsation weekend in April to bring together the best of skiing and ridiculous fun. The final obstacle for the race is a hot chocolate pit. Now, that’s better than any mud run we have ever heard of.

CopperMan Race



Washington state’s Ski to Sea race is exactly what it sounds like. Start the competition on a snow-covered mountain and finish in the ocean. Let your XC skis, downhill skis/snowboard, running shoes, road bike, canoe, mountain bike and sea kayak carry you across the 93.5 miles of terrain to the ocean below. This extreme relay race is the perfect way to wrap up your winter season and make your way (quite literally) back to the beckoning of summer. Mark your calendar for Memorial Day, 2013 for the 112th anniversary of this historic event. 

Sea To Ski Race

This world is full of amazing things for explorers and adventurers to find and do in all seasons, so, let the mud-run-oasis of summer percolate on the back burner and check out what winter has in store for mudders and active junkies like you.


Need some more exciting adventure ideas? Explore 10 Secret Swimming Holes or check out 11 Amazing Hot Springs 


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