Runners Brave Mud and Snow in Sunday’s Pajarito Trail Festival Races

Racers take off in Sunday’s 10K and 15 mile races. Courtesy photo
Winner of the Big Kids Race, Gabe Katko, 10, runs in the lead.  Photo by Jim Stein 
Staff Report

Participants faced grueling climbs, snow and mud to earn spectacular views and fall colors during Sunday’s 7th Annual Pajarito Trail Festival. Pajarito Ski Hill hosted the festival, which included four separate races around the ski hill.

Racers were subject to the early winter weather earlier in the week, slipping and sliding through four inches of snow on the downhill and mud all along the course. There were many falls in the snow, but no serious injuries. EMT Gina Ortiz treated one person for a bee sting.  

All runners circumnavigated the ski hill, climbing their way to the top of Pajarito Mountain for views of the Valles Caldera and the Los Alamos town site. Three aid stations provided a vast array of goodies coordinated by aid station director Dave Dogruel.

Erica Baron of Los Alamos, winner of the 10K Loop Race. Photo by Jim Stein

The shorter 10k distance was somewhat more popular, with 58 finishers, while the 15 Miler had 31 finishers. The Trail Fest also included a 100 yard dash and the Big Kid’s Race. Gabe Katko, 10, of Los Alamos won the Big Kid’s Race, which runs directly up the beginner slope to the top of the beginner lift and back through the woods to the lodge. The kids run up a slope that is actually steeper than the adult race.

Visitors from Breckenridge, Colo., Scott Archer and Lacy Wilson took the men’s and women’s overall wins for the 15 mile race. Archer was closely followed by Clay Mosely, Matt Felton, and Scott Muggleton of Los Alamos. 

Erica Baron and Mike Engelhardt of Los Alamos won the 10k loop course. 

Jim Stein photographed the participants, and all proceeds from his photos will be donated to the race. Visit to see the photos.

Proceeds from the races will benefit the following local non-profit organizations: Pajarito Environmental Education Center, Pajarito Mountain Ski Club, Southwest Nordic Ski Club and the Los Alamos Triatomics.

To volunteer or sponsor the race next year, contact race director Zack Baker at

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