Xterra national trail races boosts Ogden tourism

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The beautiful mountain scenery of Ogden, Utah and Snowbasin Resort will once again receive national attention as they host more than 1,500 racers for the national championship XTERRA triathlon and trail races, the world’s leading off-road triathlon organization.  The races will take place Saturday, Sept. 21 and Sunday, Sept. 22.

Ogden has hosted various XTERRA races for the last seven years, which has helped the city build credibility throughout the world as a leader for various outdoor activities.  The national attention the city receives from hosting a well-known event has boosted local tourism and opened up the doors to hosting similar activities such as the Dew Tour and USA Cycling events.

“XTERRA has been an excellent partner in showcasing our community,” said Sara Toliver, CEO of the Ogden and Weber Visitors Bureau.  “From the beautiful scenery at Pine View reservoir, to biking up Snowbasin, it helps showcase our trail system.  It adds that third party endorsement so instead of us banging our own drums, we have this well respected organization hosting their championships here.”

Outdoor enthusiast Mike Caldwell, now the Mayor of Ogden, reached out to XTERRA back in 2006 in hopes of negotiating a lease that would allow Ogden to become a host city for an upcoming XTERRA Point Series Race.  XTERRA hosts various regional races throughout the year where racers earn points based on their finishing.  Racers who win their region or qualify with enough points are then invited to participate in the national race.  Those qualifiers move on to Maui for the world championships.

XTERRA moved the regional mountain championship to Ogden in 2008, after overwhelming success with the 2006-2007 events. “Folks from XTERRA came out and were blown away at how the community came together,” Toliver said.

In 2010 Ogden was awarded the USA championship.  Throughout the evolution of the relationship between XTERRA and the city of Ogden, the community north of Salt Lake City has noticed the positive effect on their economy.

“We have seen exponential growth in our trail use and taking advantage of recreational activities,” Toliver said.  “XTERRA is a founding piece of being recognized as a recreational area.”

A major reason XTERRA has continued to use Ogden as a host city is the incredible volunteer base the community provides for these events.  After the 2002 Winter Olympics the G.O.A.L organization, which stands “For Get Out and Live, was formed to give all the trained volunteers from the Olympics an opportunity to provide service to the community.

“The foremost thing we like about Ogden is the incredible community and volunteer support we get,” said Trey Garman, Vice President of XTERRA.  “They have an incredibly strong base that rallies community support.  We only have ten staff at XTERRA, and it takes hundreds to put on these races.”

The timing of Ogden’s annual Harvest Moon Festival coincides perfectly with the hosting of the XTERRA races.  While racers are climbing throughout Snow Basin, historic 25th Street in Ogden transforms into a festival full of activities, concerts, food and shopping.

“Xterra loves that they can have their events in the morning and then come downtown and have this big party and celebration,” Toliver said.

Participants of the races certainly agree.  After Max King of Oregon won his fifth consecutive Trail Run USA championship in 2012 he praised the city of Ogden.  “I love coming back,” he said. “This is actually one of the best courses for a trail run I’ve ever seen. It’s a beautiful course and XTERRA keeps putting on a great race. It’s a phenomenal event.”

On top of the credibility Ogden has gained from the off-road running community, the city will also receive major television exposure to help boost their tourism economy.  According to an XTERRA press release their events “will be filmed for nationally syndicated TV programs exposing the beauty of Utah to millions.”

The City of Ogden hopes its beneficial relationship with XTERRA can continue for years to come and bring continued visibility to the various activities the city offers.  XTERRA President Janet Clark said the future of the Ogden-XTERRA relationship is bright.

“We love bringing the XTERRA Tribe together in Utah, the energy level is off-the-charts,” said Clark in an XTERRA news release.  “Ogden and Snowbasin are simply the best- between the facilities at Snowbasin, the great restaurants and atmosphere and the unbelievably supportive community, we can’t ask for a better venue.”

The off-road triathlon nationals will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21 along with full and half distance triathlons open to everyone.  The following Sunday, Sept. 22 the trail run nationals will take place accompanied with 5k and 10k trail runs.  Registration is open online until Wednesday Sept. 18 along with live registration in Ogden before the races.  College student discounts are available.

 

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