What does “The Drift” mean?

The Drift has local significance to this area. It is named after the Green River Drift, which is the oldest continually-used cattle drive in the United States. Since the 1890s, local ranchers have been driving cattle along this 58-mile territory, and The Drift is the first ranching-related Traditional Cultural Property listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the nation. Check it out! This recreation event is authorized under a Special Use Permit with the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

What will race conditions for The Drift be?

Look, the Green River Drift exists because the cows want nothing to do with this winter wonderland-our racers don’t have that same sense of self-preservation. Racers will experience Wyoming’s winter under Wyoming’s terms, in Wyoming style. The temperatures can be sub-zero, the wind can be relentless, and the snow ranges from fast and firm to soft and soul-sucking. If you want a fast, manicured course with aid stations full of hot chocolate and happiness every few miles, this isn’t your race. If you want a true challenge in magical untamed wilderness, join us in March.

Is this a triathlon?

No. Racers must choose to travel on foot, bike or ski. There are not different legs to the race-once a discipline is declared, “Drifters” must stick with it.

Is this an adventure race, like Surly Pika?

Nope! This is an individual race on a mapped race course. You do not need to gather punches or find flags.

Can I bring my dog, pacer, or personal snow machine?

Nope, nope and nope. This is strictly an individual, human-powered race. Although your entourage may cheer you on out on the course, having non-racers pace, follow or otherwise assist you will result in disqualification. Outside assistance is not allowed. You may accept help from another racer, if needed, or provide help to another racer in need.

Should I skate or classic ski?

Personal preference. The ski division will not be further divided based on classic or skate. Trails are groomed for snow machines and wide. Skating is theoretically possible. However, don’t expect the course to be like skiing  along a course in West Yellowstone.  Expect everything from ice, bare ground, hero snow and drifts and plan accordingly.

Is the entire course bikeable?

This is obviously condition dependent. With average conditions most will be able to bike the entire 13. A few will be able bike the 28. For most there will be some pushing. The initial climb will be challenging to ride in its entirety. All 100-mile racers should be prepared to push for some of the race. The mileage, terrain  and time on this course allow for a wide range of conditions.  The trails are groomed, but again, trail conditions can vary and Drifters should expect them to change during the race. Be prepared to push.

Do I need a fatbike to race?

Yes.

Do I need snowshoes if I am in the foot division?

Probably not, but they are allowed, should you desire to use them. Without snowshoes, there is a possibility of punching through a few times or walking through a drift, but with all the snowmachine travel the trails should be set up enough so that snowshoes are not necessary. On soft snow or years with large amounts of forecasted snow, the 100 mile racers may want to consider them. 28- and 100-mile Drifters may benefit from small running crampons such as Kahtoolas. Again whatever gear you start with you must finish with-you may not drop them if you are not using them.

Why the mandatory gear list? Do I really need any of the recommended gear?

When it comes to the recommended gear: know thyself. Keep in mind this is a remote winter, wilderness race. All racers need to be prepared to stay out longer than anticipated and avoid dehydration, hypothermia and frostbite. Evacuation is not necessarily timely or possible. A change in trail conditions, weather or a gear problem may keep even the fastest racers from the finish line. Although groomed, the trails are not the quality of typical groomed Nordic ski trails. Plan on being out longer than you think. Race Directors reserve the right to refuse any racer, without refunding registration fees, who shows up on race day inadequately prepared. The Mandatory Gear is REQUIRED. All of it. But, bear in mind that he mandatory gear list does not guarantee  you are adequately prepared for all conditions or situations.  Remember you must start and finish with all gear. There are no drop bags, outside assistance or gear drops. You may drop trash at the check-in stations ONLY. DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING ON THE COURSE. There will be food and water available at aid stations. Check out the full gear list.

Is there cell phone coverage?

Largely no. Depending on your service provider and your phone you may have spotty coverage at the start/finish only.

Is the course marked?

Yes. But despite best efforts put forth in marking,  someone will likely end up off course. Don’t let it be you. Course markings may be blown over, covered in snow or stolen. Pay attention and know the course. Maps, GPS etc. are allowed.

Can I wear headphones?

Yes, but in one ear only. You must be able to hear snowmachines, other racers and other trail traffic.

Dropbags?

No. Drifters need to plan on carrying everything they need from start to finish.

What happens if I can not finish?

Keep working toward the nearest aid station and let race staff know you are not able to continue. If you are past the first aid station you will leave the course via snow machine evacuation. If a Drifter drops out before the first aid station, they will be permitted to leave the course on their own, under their own power.

  • 13- and 28-mile Drifters: In the event of snow machine evacuation, a $50 donation to Tip Top Search and Rescue is required.
  • 100-mile Drifters, your required drop-out fee is $200. And no, we’re not kidding.
  • So, one more time: drop-out fees are required. Have your money on you and don’t be a butthead about paying if you need a ride out. Although we will do our best to get you out as quick as possible, be prepared to wait! Racers (especially 100-mile racers on the north end of the course) may have to wait at an aid station for a bit before we can get you to the finish line.
  • Leaving the race course without alerting race staff is a violation-racers must be accounted for in some capacity at each aid station. Missing racers means a search party is sent out immediately. DO NOT LEAVE THE RACE COURSE WITHOUT INFORMING RACE STAFF.

What if I miss an aid station cut off?

Cut-off times are strict and exceptions will not be made even in the event of gear failure, fluke etc. If you miss the first aid station you will return to the start. If you miss other aid stations you will leave the course via snow machine evacuation, and will be expected to pay your drop-out fee.

But I don’t want a snow machine ride out…

By showing up to the starting line and signing our race waiver you agree to accept a snow machine ride out in the event you are not allowed or not able to finish the course beyond aid station 1. We cannot leave anyone on the course. This is not negotiable, so quit bitching. Make the checkpoints, or get a ride out. Finish the race, or get a ride out. Those are your options.

But I like to argue about rules set in place by others. What should I do?

Sign up for a different race.

Is that quote from the Shackleton Expedition? Long hours of complete darkness? Hazardous journey? Bitter cold? Isn’t comparing your race to the most epic adventure/survival story/ “race” of all time a little extreme?

Well you are right-this is not an early 20th century Antarctic expedition. However, you are racing for 13, 28, or 100 miles in the least populated county in the least populated state at elevations just shy of 10k feet in typically formidable winter conditions. The 100-mile race is capped at just 50 racers for 2020 – it is possible to go hours without seeing anyone on the course. For your success and safety, it is not to be underestimated. The part about no wages and honor and recognition in the event of success are absolutely applicable. So, you know…have fun out there, champ.

How do I sign up?

Registration opens October 1, 2019. The race will be capped per division, so don’t dawdle! Registration fees go up as race day approaches, so take advantage of early-bird pricing and sign up soon! Register here.

What if there’s a weather-related cancellation?

No one knows what Wind River Range weather will be from one day to the next. In the event of a severe and potentially catastrophically dangerous weather-related issue, race directors will postpone the race to another weekend. Full race registration refunds will not be given unless the race is completely cancelled with no option for a later race date. In the event of a postponement, registrations will automatically roll into the new date. Should a registered racer be unable to participate during the postponement dates, racer registration may be rolled into the next year’s race. Know this upon registration: Wyoming’s weather is unpredictable, and roadway conditions and/or closures may happen at any time. The Drift is a winter race, and participants run the risk of encountering winter weather prior to, during, and after the race itself.  The Drift organizers are not responsible for your choice to travel or not travel, nor are we responsible for the weather itself. This is a risk you take when signing up for this type of race, and refunds will not be given to those unable or unwilling to make it to the race. Contact us with any questions.