By Alicia Dziak

This is no time of year to sit inside, especially if you live anywhere near Ellicottville. Coming up in a couple short weeks is an action-packed Saturday (June 18) you won’t want to miss.

Are you ready for the most fun race you’ll run this year? The Holiday Valley Mudslide is ready for you! Join other mud-minded racers for this fifth annual obstacle run on the slopes of Holiday Valley.

Eleven super-fun, not-scary, sure-to-get-you-dirty obstacles await. Crawl over “lily pads” in Spruce Lake, find your way through the over/under logs, splash around in mud puddles and slog as fast as you can through the rest of the mucky course. Runners can choose from the 3.5 mile or 5.4 mile races, both ending with the famous mudslide down the base of Yodeler.

According to Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley’s marketing director, Mudslide veterans will see some new elements this year. “We’re going to put the Outpost building near the Training Center and fill it with foam,” she said. “We’re adding a hand-over-hand ladder over a mud pit and a few other … surprises … are in the works.”

The event will start with waves of 100 people per wave, at 10 a.m. from Spruce Lake, beginning with the long course runners. (A ride to the start on the Spruce Lake chairlift is included in the entry fee, so don’t worry about tiring out before you even start! Spectators may ride for $5).

The 3.5 mile course goes from Spruce Lake, across the cross country trails to the top of Eagle, down Woodstock, across Explorer to Morning Star then through the woods and across Mardi Gras, down Holiday Run to Edelweiss and finishes at the Training Center. This short course has an elevation with a drop of 600 feet downhill! The 5.4 mile course adds a loop from Eagle across to Cindy’s, down a logging road to lower Bear Cub and back uphill to Explorer. This section is so steep they’ve installed ropes to help you scramble up.

Prizes will be awarded to the overall three fastest males and females. Chip timing and mat starts and finishes will be in place.

Don’t be shy—wear a costume! Dressing up is encouraged, and prizes will be awarded to the most creative.

Bring the kids! The Kids’ Mini Mudslide, at approximately 1:30 p.m., is a half-mile long course with several obstacles, plus the mudslide. Start and finish is at the Training Center. Register your child on race-day under the Yodeler Deck for $5.

After your run, you can rinse off under the ice-cold snow guns. Changing facilities will also be available.

Following the race, guests can head to the Champagne Sundeck, just outside of Yodeler Lodge, for tunes, games and plenty of liquid refreshments. A Vendor Village will showcase several local shops and booths. Starting at 11 a.m., competitors will receive a free hot dog and two beverages. Friends and family are welcome to purchase food and beverages and join the fun.

Register for $60 by June 16. If spots are still available, race day registration will be from 7 to 11 a.m. at Yodeler Lodge. All competitors will receive a goody bag, a super cool finisher’s medal and the post-race party. Children as young as seven years old can run on the 3.5 mile course, but they must be accompanied by an adult. More info and registration details at www.holidayvalley.com/mudslide.

After the Mudslide, head over to Paddlefest, presented by Adventure Bound OnTheFly. This event takes place at the seven-acre demo pond behind Tim Horton’s on Route 219, from 4 to 8 p.m. You’ll be able to try out a full selection of inflatable and hard stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) and kayaks.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for people to see what great paddle options there are in and around Ellicottville,” explained John Rounds, owner of Adventure Bound OnTheFly. It’s also an opportunity to “introduce people to the paddle sports community that is developing and growing in our area.”

In addition, and thanks to its new partnership with Orvis, Adventure Bound will be offering Tenkara clinics. Tenkara, which means “from heaven” or “from the skies,” is a Japanese style of fresh-water fishing that uses ultra long, flexible, light-weight rods.

All this fun will surely make you work up an appetite, so be sure to grab a taco from Dina’s food truck and some beer to go with it from EBC. Plus, Sister Molly and Brother John will perform live tunes from 6-8 p.m.

There will also be some fun events for kids, which, says Rounds, will include “kids paddling on SUPs and kayaks and a kids race.”

Parking will be available at the north end of the demo/paddle center, where there is an entrance and large parking area (across Rt. 219 from Groove Fitness center).

Don’t miss this chance to see all the paddling opportunities available and learn about another great way to enjoy the outdoors in Ellicottville this summer!