Saturday, September 3, 2022

WARNING: This is not your normal 28K!

There are sections of this course, including the ascent and traverse of Headwaters ridge, as well as the ascent and descent of Lone Peak, which are EXTREMELY STEEP & TECHNICAL with sections of exposure and potential rockfall hazard. The result of a fall in these sections could be injury or death.  We will have safety personnel along these sections, but the responsibility falls on the participant to have the skills to traverse these areas safely. This is a true mountain course so please treat it with the respect it deserves! We strongly encourage you to become familiar with the course terrain before registering for this event.

OnX Backcountry 28K Map

Aid Stations & Cut-off Times (We are a cupless event)

There are 3 fully stocked aid stations & 1 water only station located along the 28K course. Each aid station will be supplied with water, Skratch Labs goodies, sweet and salty snacks, first aid, and energetic volunteers!

  • Headwaters Bowl: (Mile 3.9) (Cut off time of 10:15 AM)
  • Swiftcurrent: (Mile 9.0) (Cut off time of 12:15 PM)
  • Summit: (Mile 10.7) Water Only Station (Cut Off Time 1:30)
  • Moosetracks: (Mile 14.5) (Cut off time of 3:15 PM)
  • Finish Line: (Mile 17.8) (Cut off time of 4:30 PM)
  • Cut-off times will be strictly enforced for the safety of the runners and the volunteers.

By the Numbers

  • 17.6 Miles | 28 Kilometers
  • 7800  ft. | 2375 Meters of elevation gain! (Includes all the steep and technical sections of the Rut 50K)
  • Low Point: 7,500 ft | 2286 Meters
  • High Point: 11,166ft | 3403 Meters
  • 3 Aid Stations, 1 water station.
  • 1 really good/hard/painful time!

Due to the alpine and exposed nature of our 28K course,  race organizers reserve the right to change the course in order to limit risk to Rut Runners in the event of severe weather.  Here is a map of the Plan B 28K Course.

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We will have $4500 in cash prizes for the top 10 overall men and women of the 28K!

  • First: $1000 (USD)
  • Second: $500 (USD)
  • Third: $350 (USD)
  • Fourth: $250 (USD)
  • Fifth: $150 (USD)

All 28K finishers will receive a unique finishers award.

Also, we will have unique and fun handmade awards for top three overall men and women as well as top 3 in each age group. (20-29,30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+)


To limit congestion at the start line, we will have three waves of 5-minute rolling start windows for our 28K this year. (A rolling start means that you can begin anytime within the 5-minute window of each wave.)
We did not offer wave options when you registered for the Rut, therefore, you must self-select and join the appropriate wave on race day.
If you hope to be in the first third of finishers, please join Wave 1, in the second third of finishers, Wave 2, and the last third, Wave 3. Self-selecting appropriately reduces unnecessary passing on the trail.
Lastly, overall awards and prize money will be based on the time from when the gun goes off with the first wave. Age group awards will be based on chip timing.

Drop Bags

There are no drop bags for the 28K.


Crewing of runners is not allowed. You are, however, highly encouraged to get out on the course and see your runners as much as possible and cheer for them!

Dropping out:  You must inform a race official if you drop out of the race.

Course Markings

This is not an orienteering race. The race organizers will do everything they can to have the course marked well for race participants the day of the event. Off-trail sections of the course will be marked in a way that race participants should be able to see from each course marking to the next to help guide them along the course. During the on trail sections of the course, runners must stay on the trail. No switchback cutting! The 28K will be marked with BLUE FLAGGING.

Course Scouting

Although they are part of the 28K course, please be aware that you may not run or hike on the downhill mountain biking trails of Big Sky Resort as they are built specifically for downhill mountain biking and are used by downhill mountain bikers. Not only is it not allowed, but it also is not safe during lift operation hours when those trails receive a lot of use. We understand this makes it challenging to scout the course, but if you are to get out on the course we recommend getting into the terrain on the summit as well as some of the nice single track on the North side of the resort, as well as some of the single track trails on Andesite mountain. Those are open to hikers and runners. Lastly, the course will not be marked until a day or two prior to the race, so finding your way around the course will be quite hard. Again, we recommend getting a general understanding of a flow for the course and the type of terrain you will encounter instead of dialing in the exact route.


Please be prepared for any type of weather. Though weather in Big Sky is relatively mild and stable in mid-September historically, we are still in the mountains and conditions can quickly change. This is a challenging run on challenging terrain and the race organizers reserve the right to stop the race at any time, should they deem the course unsafe due to weather. The race organizers will have a 28K Plan B course, which will not take race participants into exposed alpine terrain, should extreme weather exist on race day.


28K Fine Print

  • Pacers and dogs: Not allowed.
  • Trekking poles: Allowed
  • Headphones: highly discouraged due to areas with rockfall hazards and potential wildlife hazards along the trail.
  • Crewing: Not allowed
  • Speakers: Out of respect of others, please do not use speakers for music that other people can hear. Not everyone loves your music.
  • Course Changes: Due to the mountainous and technical nature of this course, race organizers may choose to make course changes on race day due to severe weather with the race participants safety in mind.

Rut Registration Policy

  • There will be no deferrals, credits, transfers, or waitlists for any Rut race.
  • Rut Runners who must drop out due to unforeseen circumstances may do so by May 15th and will receive a 50% refund.
  • Rut Runners may also move down in distance. This must be done no later than August 1st.
  • The 50K can move to the 28K or 11K, but not the VK.  The 28K can move to the 11K, but not the VK.  The VK can move to the 11K. A transfer in distance will be charged a $5 processing fee.
  • Questions? Check out our Rut Registration FAQ's page.

The Rut 28k 2018 Highlights – Skyrunning