Friday, September 15, 2023 | 11:00 AM START

In 2023, due to Lone Peak tram construction, the Rut VK will not finish at the summit of Lone Peak. It will still follow the historic VK course up Bone Crusher and Alto ridge where it will finish 700 ft below the summit. The course will gain almost 2800 ft in 2.5 miles. After crossing the finish line, runners will have a 1 mile & 1050 ft descent walk down the ski run Marx to the top of the Swiftcurrent Lift where they will then download back to the Big Sky Base area. We are excited to provide a great race that challenges our Rut runners and gets them high up on the ridges of Lone Peak!

OnX Backcountry VK Map

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Runners will begin in the Big Sky Resort base area at an elevation of 7,534 ft. It is ALL uphill from there, gaining 3,632 ft., to the lofty summit of Lone Peak at 11,166 ft. in altitude. (In 2023 the race will finish 700 ft below the summit of Lone Peak. The elevation gain will be close to 2,900 ft still)

The first half of the course will head up the ski runs known as Huntley Hollow and Calamity Jane. The steep roads going straight up these runs will be the most direct route to the base of Bone Crusher and Alto ridge, and the top of Swiftcurrent lift.

The second half of the race along Bone Crusher ridge and Alto ridge to the summit is EXTREMELY STEEP & TECHNICAL with sections of exposure and potential rockfall hazard. We will have safety personnel along the ridge keeping an eye out for runners and assessing any objective hazards, but the responsibility falls on you the race participant to be aware of your surroundings and other runners. This is a true mountain course so please treat it with the respect it deserves!

Course Cut-offs

For the safety of our volunteers and Big Sky Resort employees on the mountain, we will have two cutoffs for the Lone Peak VK.

  • Cutoff #1: 1 hour cutoff at the top of the Swiftcurrent chair before runners head up onto Bonecrusher and Alto ridge to the summit of Lone Peak. The top of the Swfitcurrent chair is approx 1.7 miles from the start.
  • Cutoff #2: 90 minute cutoff for the top of Bone Crusher Ridge which is the first pitch of the alpine section.

The overall race course cutoff in 2023 is 2 hours

Aid Stations

There are no aid stations along this course. in 2023 we will have limited refreshments that our volunteers will hike to the finish line for runners to replenish before hiking down to Swiftcurrent Lift.


We have doubled our prize purse for the top three male and female finishers in 2023 for the VK!

  • First: $1000
  • Second: $500
  • Third: $250

We will also have Age Group Awards for the top three in each age group. (16-19,20-29,30-39,40-49, 50-59, 60+)

Finally, we have a Jorts Division and will be awarding custom denim vests to the fastest male and female to summit lone peak in cutoff jeans! To enter into the jorts division, wear jorts.

Drop Bags (Adjusted for 2023)

VK participants may leave drop bags at the race start/finish area which we will then shuttle to the top of the Swiftcurrent lift for you to grab on your way down the hill.  This means you will run/walk/crawl to the top of the course (700 ft below the summit of lone peak), and then walk down 1000ft and 1 mile to the top of Swfitcurrent lift to get your drop bag before descending down the lift. At packet pickup, we will provide you with a drop bag which you must use if you choose to have a drop bag at all. VK drop bags must be dropped between 9:00-10:30 AM.

Finish Line

In 2023 the finish line will be at the base of alto ridge, 700 ft below the summit of Lone Peak.  The finish line will be staffed with volunteers and we will have limited refreshments that we will hike up for our runners.

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. VK course markings will be Pink!


Please be prepared for any type of weather. Though the 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.

VK 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 for others, please do not use speakers for music that other people can hear. Not everyone loves your music.
  • Downclimbing: VK’ers may not hike/run down the VK course, but instead must take the flagged descent down Marx due to the narrowness and exposure of the ridge trail to the summit.
  • 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 to other runners, or waitlists for any Rut race. No exceptions.
  • Rut Runners who must drop out due to unforeseen circumstances may do so by June 1st and will receive a 50% refund.
  • Rut Runners in some races may also move down in distance. This must be done no later than August 15th.
  • For example, the 50K can move to the 28K, 20K, or 11K, but not the VK.  The 28K can move to the 20K, or 11K, but not the 50K or VK. The 20K can move to the 11K, but not the 50K, 28K, or VK. The VK can move to the 11K only. The 11K cannot transfer to another event. A transfer in distance will be charged a $5 processing fee.
  • Questions? Check out our Rut Registration FAQ's page.