Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe of Missoula, Montana, started The Rut 12K & 50K in 2013 at Big Sky Resort. For 2014 they added the Vertical K on Friday, Sept. 13. More than 1,000 racers will be at Big Sky Resort this weekend to participate in The Rut and 50K Skyrunner World Series Ultra Final. Here's what Foote had to say about The Rut and ultramarathons:
How was The Rut conceived? Give us a bit of the back story.
Mike and I both have travelled and raced extensively in other parts of the world, especially in Europe, and we were inspired but the challenging and technical mountain terrain where these events took place. We were also impressed by the amount of celebration around these events by the local towns and the culture in general. We are excited to bring that energy back to our home turf in Montana and the US. There are few races in the states which have the severe terrain The Rut 50K and VK showcase. We also just wanted to have fun with this and have a reason for folks to come run in some of the best mountain terrain Montana has to offer.
So Big Sky Resort was always in the top running for an ultramarathon for you and Mike Wolfe?
Lone Mountain and Peak had the terrain we were looking for, mixed with the infrastructure of trails to use and the amenities of a world-class resort to host thousands of runners with their friends and family. It was an easy decision.
The Rut was such a hit last year, what can you tell me about the 2014 course? Any updates?
We had so much fun with the race in 2013 that we didn't want to change the atmosphere too much. With that said, the race has more than doubled in size and we made the course harder. Yes, that has been the goal all along. We have added some stunning ridge line terrain on the Headwaters Ridge and a brutal climb up a steep 45 degree scree slope to gain the ridge. It's going to be awesome.
Also, we are now the final of the prestigious Skyrunner World Series Ultra category. This has attracted many of the best mountain runners in the world.
About how many hours have you worked on The Rut trails?
*Laughs Good questions. We have worked a couple days on the Headwaters section. It is the most technical sections of the course so we wanted to make it flow better through certain sections to provide more safety in the exposed terrain.
We know there's a lot of physical preparation for any ultramarathon, but how does a runner mentally prepare for The Rut?
Every runner is different. I think I would recommend accepting the suffering that will occur on the course as opposed to fighting it. I would also recommend working to be relaxed the week of the race. It's easy to get overworked and overstressed. Lastly, focus on the positive. It will help you perform to your potential.
You both are also well-known for competing in Ultramarathons (not just directing one), what was your favorite race of 2014 besides The Rut?
For me, I really enjoyed the Lavaredo Ultra Trail 120K mountain race in the Italian Dolomites I participated in this June. It had all the elements we want to have at The Rut. It was well organized, went through incredible mountain scenery, and was a celebratory atmosphere with thousands of runners and spectators.
Any other comments?
We have Elk Hides branded with the Rut logo for finisher awards this year. Finishing this race is quite the accomplishment and we are excited to honor that with some Montana flare.
Big Moon Rising Music Festival took place during Labor Day weekend of this year and brought the funk to Big Sky Resort. Although the weather did not play in Big Moon's favor, Friday and Saturday nights were high energy crowds with lots of love for Keller Williams with More Than A Little, Dumpstaphunk, Andrew Gromiller and the Organically Grown, and, of course, The Family Stone. The Family Stone played all the hits: "I Want to Take You Higher," "Stand!" and "It's a Family Affair," and Keller Williams started his set on the floor of Whiskey Jack's among the crowd. But don't let me do all the convincing, check out the highlights from Big Moon Rising:
Video: Michael Jezak
The Family Stone began touring a few years ago as quasi-tribute band quasi-Sly and the Family Stone reunion band. The Family Stone boasts three original members from Sly and the Family Stone including saxophonist Jerry Martini, aka Papa J, drummer Greg Errico, and trumpeter Cynthia Robinson. Needless to say this is more than your average funk band this is rock greatness coming to Big Sky Resort.
In 1969, Sly and the Family Stone played perhaps their most memorable show at Woodstock in Bethel, New York. A band as vital to rock history as The Family Stone deserves more than just a little praise as they promise to bring the funk and fun this weekend and preserve that memorable psychedelic funk sound. And that's just Saturday night at Big Sky Resort's inaugural Big Moon Rising Music Festival August 29-30.
Friday night promises just as much funk and improve as Saturday with New Orleans' best funk band Dumpstaphunk.
"Dumpstaphunk has grown from a small side project into one of New Orleans' most prestigious modern funk ensembles," said Benjy Eisen of Rolling Stone in the late-May 2013 issue. This is no ordinary funk band, but a 5-piece blues, soul, and rock ensemble that attacks and entertains. If Rolling Stone's street cred isn't enough, The New York Times called Dumpstaphunk the best funk band from New Orleans. Enough said.
Following the main acts at Big Moon Rising will be after parties at Whiskey Jack's featuring Cure for the Common on Friday night and Andrew Gromiller and the Organically Grown on Saturday.
Opening acts include more jazz and funk with multi-instrumentalist Keller Williams and Bozeman's own Andrew Gromiller. It's a weekend not to be missed.
Purchase single day and weekend tickets for Big Moon Rising Music Festival here.
Big Moon Rising Music Festival features:
The Family Stone
Keller Williams (with More Than A Little)
Andrew Gromiller and the Organically Grown
Cure for the Common
Forrest and Friends
Keller Williams with More Than A Little
Vine & Dine 2014 at Big Sky Resort featured more than 30 wineries, delicious food from a dozen amazing chefs, including Google's Global Program chef Scott Giambastiani, and music from jazz extraordinaire's Anna Wilson with Jazz Your Azz Band and McTuff. The weekend was also full of amazing wine education from sommeliers Fred Dame and Jay Fletcher. Take a look at the photo highlights from luncheons, tastings, and The Wine Stroll. Join us next year for Vine & Dine on August 13-16, 2015.
Photo: Michael Jezak
Kent Torrey (left) and Scott Giambastiani (right) Photo: Jezak
Plate of Asado BBQ. Photo: Anna Husted
Beef, Lamb and Pork sliders as the final course in Scott Giambastiani's Food Revolution Luncheon. Photo: Husted
Lotus Pad's Buddha Bundle at the Brooks Winery Vintner Dinner on Friday, August 15. Photo: Husted
Bunchgrass Winery at The Wine Stroll on Saturday, August 16. Photo: Jezak
Anna Wilson and Jazz Your Azz Band at Whiskey Jack's After Party. Photo: Jezak
The Wine Stroll comes to an end. Join us next year on August 13-16, 2015. Photo: Jezak.
I've been working on Vine & Dine Festival at Big Sky Resort alongside Steve Merlino, event foodie extraordinaire. The event takes place August 14-17, and it's a smorgasbord of world-renowned chefs, sommeliers, and vineyards. Here are the highlights from one of the organizers, and it's not too late to grab tickets at the door for any of these:
Asado is a traditional Argentinian beef dish cooked on a "parrilla," or campfire grill for us Montanans, and the Thursday night feature event for the inaugural Vine & Dine. Not only is Asado a unique Barbeque experience, but it's close to sold out so stop reading this and get a ticket now. (I'll take this out if I can't post this afternoon, I think Asado is still interesting even though it's sold out).
After Thursday the heat gets hot at Vine & Dine with food from Google's Global Program Chef Scott Giambastiani who will be serving lunch and sharing a little bit about what he calls the "food revolution." As Google may one day take over our entire society (and the world), I suggest this lunch for THE lunch to attend on Friday (ok it's also the ONLY lunch on Friday). Needless to say it's going to be delicious, informative, and I may just ask Giambastiani to autograph my napkin.
Friday also consists of two seminars (remember, this isn't the average sit-in-an-auditorium-and-fall-asleep seminar, but a drink-wine-and-enjoy-life seminar): Tasting the Master's Way and Touring the Italian Countryside. Tasting the Master's Way features World-renowned sommeliers Fred Dame and Jay Fletcher (both featured in Jason Wise's "Somm" documentary which won Best Documentary at San Luis Obispo International Film Festival). Dame and Fletcher will take us on an "entertaining tasting of carefully chosen wines." One seminar with these two and I'm hoping to be able to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier Exam. Kidding! That exam has one of the lowest pass rates of any exam in the world, which means who better to learn wine from than two of the top ranking somms?
A few more things must be mentioned. Friday night featured Vintner dinners all around Big Sky including Lotus Pad, Olive B's, Buck's T-4, and Saturday night features the headline event: The Wine Stroll. The Wine Stroll takes tasters through the Mountain Village at Big Sky Resort and through the vines of Oregon, South America, Washington, and countless other places. If there's only one event to go to, it's The Wine Stroll.
Before The Wine Stroll tasters can take to Lone Mountain and explore the pinots from 11,166 feet or while ziplining through the forest. Then enjoy any number of seminars and lunches such as Cheese & Wine: One Stinky Good Time or Jay Fletcher's Old Vines of Northern Spain. Essentially we've made it so no taster can go wrong at any of these events.
Last, and certainly the least amount of wine, is Sunday's "Where's the Wine" Brunch, featuring bellinis, mimosas, and Bloody Marys, and, ok, wine.
I'll be enjoying Vine & Dine all weekend, join me for wine and food from around the world.
A traditional Argentinian-style Asado.
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