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Mud, Sweat and Tears (of Happiness)



Annual Mudslide at Holiday Valley, June 20

By Alicia Dziak

Mud puddles? Hanging logs? Gooey paths? Yes, please!

I’m the type of person who’s always up for an adventure.  So when my friend Jamey asked me to join her in last year’s Mudslide, it didn’t take much convincing for me to say yes.

I pulled on my race costume—a tie-dye t-shirt and a rainbow tutu— and headed to Holiday Valley’s Yodeler Lodge. We had picked up our race packets the night before, so I didn’t have to do anything on Saturday except show up. It was an unseasonably chilly June day, and I really felt it as we headed up the windy Spruce chairlift to the race start by Spruce Lake.

There were and are two distances to choose from—3.5 miles (sign me up!) or 5.4 miles (not quite there yet!).

Everyone was friendly, sharing a common bond of being freezing cold, as we lined up at the start. When the horn sounded, off we went. Jamey and I started out at an easy pace, heading around the lake and to the first obstacle: “lily pads” lined up in a row in the water. To get over the lily pads, you could choose to do one of two things: run over them and hope you didn’t lose your footing and fall into the cold water, or crawl over them at a much slower clip. Being that this was the first obstacle in my first ever obstacle race, I opted to crawl, and slowly, but surely, made my way across.

From there, we navigated through the very mucky woods, splashing in puddles along the way to various other obstacles. Some were easy—giant logs across a mud puddle that you would choose to go over and stay dry or go under and get wet. Others were more difficult—heaving yourself over a hay bale using a rope. I was pretty sure the point of others, such as climbing through drippy tunnels, was just to get wet and muddy.

The course took runners in and out of the woods and along the ridgeline. I got a bit disoriented without snow on the ground, but I think we started to head downhill somewhere along the top of Eagle, meandering back toward the Morningstar lift, over Mardi Gras and ending up where we started at Yodeler. Yes, this meant very minimal uphill. (Looking for some uphill? Those choosing the 5.4 mile course get re-routed to a course that veers off for some vertical challenge.)

The last obstacle was not really an obstacle at all, but rather a giant Slip-N-Slide that sent people down the bottom of Yodeler into a giant mud puddle. If you weren’t covered in mud before that point, there was no escaping it now!

From there, the finish line was right there, and as you passed through, you were awarded with a very cool finisher’s medal, great for displaying at home.

Jamey and I weren’t taking the race too seriously, and we managed to get in lots of chatting during the (many) parts that we walked. But, for those who are in it for the competition, awards are given to the top three males and females in the chip-timed race.

After taking a break and telling my kids all about my adventure, it was their turn to compete in the half-mile-long kids’ race. With a registration fee of only $5, it was a bargain to enter. It included a couple of small obstacles and ended on the same Slip-N-Slide, where my kids could enjoy the giant mud puddle, as well.

After hosing off using the frigid snow guns, it was time to eat. We enjoyed a barbecue on the Champagne Sundeck and laughed about what we had just experienced.

Fair warning: don’t wear anything you’re too attached to. I wore some old sneakers that have never quite recovered, and that rainbow tutu—well, sadly, it had to be tossed after the race.

The Mudslide is wildly popular and for good reason—it’s insanely entertaining! Because of that, if you’re thinking about signing up, don’t wait. There is a maximum of 1,200 competitors. Register for either distance by June 1 for $60 or by June 19 for $80. Race day registration is not available. Registration also includes a goody bag, that awesome finisher’s medal, plus a hot dog and two beers (or other beverages) at the post-race party. The Kids’ Race is still only $5 (up to age 12) with same-day registration only at the Yodeler Deck.

Guests can also browse the Vendor Village with appearances by The City Garage, Do-Op Gear, Power Bar, Red Bull and more.

I knew it would be muddy. I knew it would be a workout. But I had no idea it would be so much fun! So much fun that this year, I’ve convinced my whole family to join me in the 3.5 mile race. As I climb over the rope ladder wall or slosh through puddles, I hope to see you next to me, covered in mud.

Holiday Valley’s annual Mudslide Obstacle Run is happening June 20, and it’s something you don’t want to miss! For more information, visit

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