By Kaley Bjornsen

The sixth annual Equinox Snow Challenge will be held on March 24 and 25 at the Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone. Skiers, snow bikers or snowshoers can enter as a relay team with up to eight members, or as soloists. Divisions are three, six, 12 or 24 hours. Changing disciplines is allowed. There will also be a 24-minute kids event on March 24.

The event has grown consistently since its inception, as skiers from around the West come to either push their limits, or just catch some of the last groomed skiing for the season.

Last year about 90 participants enjoyed the spring sun and festivities at the Equinox Ski Challenge.

This event is ingrained with camaraderie, challenge and commitment to the well being of our communities.

The Equinox will benefit the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation and the Manaia Youth Programs in an effort to support organizations keeping our communities mentally and physically healthy. There will also be a food drive for the West Yellowstone Food Bank. The event gathered over 100 pounds of food for the West Yellowstone Food Bank at the 2011 race and raised $250 each for Wysef and Manaia, bringing our total to around $1000 for each organization since the race began in 2007.

The festivities include a potluck with beverages on Saturday evening and the requisite all night bonfire at the start/finish line. Complete details, race updates and online registration are available at equinoxsnowchallenge.com.

The current 24-hour soloist record is an incredible 326 kilometers set in 2007. The 24-hour team record was set in 2009, at 401 kilometers. The skier who set the solo record slept only 45 minutes. Plenty of other skiers have contributed 45 kilometers to their team total, eaten three square meals, and slept eight hours. The 2011 participants skied 6304.7 km total through snow squalls and warmer temperatures. The goal is to have a lot of fun and also complete as many laps as you can.