By Alicia Dziak

In the mood for some friendly competition? How about a chairlift ride, some snowmakers, a bunch of fun obstacles, lots of laughs, and oh yeah, did we mention MUD? It’s all back and it’s better than ever as the Holiday Valley Mudslide returns on Saturday, June 16.

What sets the Mudslide apart from other area obstacle races? Well, first of all, it’s at Holiday Valley. The courses start by Spruce Lake and participants get to ride the Spruce chair to the top. That in and of itself is pretty unique! Another standout advantage of HV’s obstacles is that they’re focused on fun and nothing dangerous like barbed wire or fire.

From the starting line at Spruce Lake, competitors can choose from two distances—a 3.5 mile or a 5.4 mile course. Runners must navigate numerous obstacles, ending with the famous mudslide down the bottom of the Yodeler slope.

The 3.5 mile course goes along the ridgeline then down the hill over 11 obstacles. The 5.4 mile course with 14 obstacles adds quite a bit of uphill running, just in case you’re feeling especially tough. The route is slightly different from years past because of logging on the trails.

This year, the Mudslide will feature three new obstacles. “The first one you’ll get to is at the top of Tannenbaum. It is a series of two giant rollers that spin, so you need to be agile so you don’t end up in the mud!” explained Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley’s marketing director.  “Next is the balance beam in the ‘big ditch’ area between Tannenbaum and Morning Star and third is the ‘great wall’ rope climb on Foxfire for the long course.” Eshbaugh noted that new obstacles come from a brainstorming session by many of the resort’s departments such as lodging, mountain ops and marketing, and then mostly carried out and designed by the mountain crew.

Want to make it even more fun? Costumes are encouraged, and prizes will be awarded to the most creative.

Also new this year are competitive waves. Anyone who is serious about trying to win the overall prizes (1st, 2nd, 3rd male/female/short/long course) should sign up for the first wave of the long course at 10 a.m. or the first wave of the short course at 11:15 a.m. Runners in all waves will still be timed.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Jim Kelly’s Hunter’s Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to giving hope through education and awareness, research, and family care for Krabbe, Leukodystrophies, and Newborn Screening.

The Kids’ MiniMudslide course is 1/2 mile long and will include several obstacles plus the mudslide, with start and finish lines at the Training Center. The Kids’ Race is $10 (ages 3 to 12) includes a t-shirt, register for kids online or at the Yodeler Deck on the day of the race.

After all your hard work completing the course, join the fun at the post-race party. Tunes, games and plenty of liquid refreshments await on the Champagne Sundeck, just outside the Yodeler Lodge. The Vendor Village will have several local shops and related booths. Friends and family are welcome to purchase food and beverages (featuring sausage, veggie burgers, beef on weck and more) and join in the fun, and a DJ will be spinning the tunes.

Didn’t get a chance to sign up yet? No problem! You can register through Saturday, June 9 for $60 or though Friday, June 15 for $65, and even register last minute for $70 through 10 a.m. on race day at Yodeler. There is a max of 1,200 competitors. All competitors will receive a goody bag and a super cool finisher’s medal plus a hot dog or pulled pork sandwich and two beers (or beverages). Children as young as 7 years old can run on the 3.5 mile course, but they must be accompanied by an adult.


Immediately following the Mudslide, head back up to Spruce Lake for Adventure Bound Onthefly’s Paddlefest, the kickoff to the summer water activities at Spruce Lake. On Saturday afternoon, enjoy SUP and kayak paddling, music, food and fun. On Sunday morning, there will be SUPs and kayaks on hand at Spruce Lake for demo along with paddle clinics, seminars, SUP yoga and kids events. Paddlefest runs from 12 to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Come spend a beautiful weekend on the slopes and enjoy some unique Ellicottville events! For more info, visit

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