Ski mountaineer rejoices in reaching the summit. Image: Red Fox
The Red Fox Elbrus Race Festival is an international event of extreme sports, including skyrunning, climbing, ski mountaineering, and snowshoeing. The festival is held annually on Mt. Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia, Europe’s highest peak, and is a true test of athletic ability.
Ski mountaineers have been participating in expedition races since the start of the Red Fox Elbrus Race in 2008. The festival has hosted sky running races to the summit of Mt. Elbrus at 5,642 meters, but until this year had only hosted ski mountaineering races at the mountain’s lower elevations.
Racers start the climb. Image: Red Fox
2018 marked the 10 year anniversary of the festival, and organizers decided to add a new race for the occasion – the Red Fox Ski Monsters Race. The course covered a 31-mile (50km) distance with 16,404-feet (5,000 meters) of climbing, and the summit was right in the middle of the route.
17 teams of 2 began the high altitude expedition at 5:00 AM on May 2nd, 2018. The dormant volcano, known for it’s nasty weather, cooperated with the racers, bringing only low winds and sunshine. Ski mountaineer racing is an interesting thing to see at 5,000 meters- among the civilian climbers decked out in heavy duty gear are racers in spandex suits and race bibs with lightweight equipment.
A team reaches the summit of Mt. Elbrus. Image: Red Fox
With around 10 hours of skiing and climbing, the Red Fox Ski Monsters Race was an extreme demonstration of the racers’ mental and physical strength.