Recreation & Destinations

Start Training for this Year’s Abominable Snow Race


After a successful launch last year, the Abominable Snow Race returns, drawing competitors to a new venue with bigger, more challenging obstacles.

Last year’s inaugural Abominable Snow Race was just practice for this year’s 4.4-mile course, which takes competitors through 20 wintry obstacles.

Last year’s inaugural Abominable Snow Race was just practice for this year’s 4.4-mile course, which takes competitors through 20 wintry obstacles.

The Midwest’s premier winter obstacle race has something for every type of participant, whether they’re competing to win or looking for a fun, unique experience. After a successful launch in Crystal Lake last year, the Abominable Snow Race is back with an even bigger set of obstacles.

This year’s race is scheduled for Jan. 28, 2017, at Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, where it winds through 4.4 miles of hilly, snow-covered terrain strewn with more than 20 winter-themed obstacles. Race coordinator Bill Wolfe, of ASR Events, expects twice as many participants at this year’s snow race – in part, a reflection of national trends.

“In 2016, more people participated in obstacle races than in marathons,” says Wolfe.

With many adventure races available around the country to choose from, those who join “Yeti Nation” at the Abominable Snow Race choose the event because of its fun, lively atmosphere.

“Yeti Nation fans know that the Abominable Snow Race provides them with an alternative to other indoor winter activities,” Wolfe says. “It’s a chance for all of us, no matter what the age, to re-connect with our inner child/Yeti and get out and play in the snow.”

Obstacles at this year’s race include The Blizzard, a 300-foot climb and descent through simulated blizzard conditions; the Polar Vortex, a 15-foot slip wall that participants attempt to climb; and a 100-foot rope climb up Grand Geneva’s double-black diamond ski hill. Some obstacles are more fun than challenging, like the Avalanche, which is a downhill tube run, or the Snow Thrower, where racers launch snowballs at a Yeti target.

Wolfe says nowhere else can racers do all that and then grab a free beer or hot chocolate at the finish line, party with participants and pose for a picture with the Yeti himself.

Individuals can register on the Abominable Snow Race website, but Wolfe encourages racers to sign up as a full team, instead.

“Our race is best run with friends, so we make it easy to create a team,” he says.

After forming the team, members need to decide if they are competing to win or to have a good time. If entering the competitive Elite Heat, racers should come prepared for a grueling, snowy challenge.

“Cold-weather conditioning, a significant amount of hill training, and a consistent strength training program – both upper and lower body – are essential for an Elite to win the 2017 Abominable Snow Race,” Wolfe says.

Dressing for the conditions is a must. Because this event is scheduled for late January, Wolfe suggests wearing layers that provide warmth and are easily shed. He suggests proper shoes, too.

“Having some form of running spike will help you navigate the snowy terrain with ease,” he says.

Only a fraction of participants will be in it to win it. The majority, says Wolfe, are racing for fun, so they enter the Open Heats.

“It’s all about finishing,” Wolfe says. “For nearly all, obstacle course races are a way to challenge ourselves beyond the daily grind, a way for us to prove to ourselves that we can accomplish great things with personal effort and teamwork.”

To sign up for this year’s race, visit

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