Billy Dutton Uphill: Annual race to benefit Tahoe Nordic Race Scholarship Programs |

Billy Dutton Uphill: Annual race to benefit Tahoe Nordic Race Scholarship Programs

Sun File photoDebbie Dutton, sister of the late Billy Dutton, raises her arms as she reaches the top of the 2007 Billy Dutton Uphill at Squaw Valley USA. This year's Billy Dutton Uphill will be held on Easter Sunday, April 12.

Each spring hundreds of Nordic skiers, snowshoers and fit bodies race to the top of Squaw Valley USA in the annual Billy Dutton Uphill, a race held in honor of the late Billy Dutton.

This year’s 20th annual race falls on Easter Sunday, April 12.

The original “run what ya brung” race is an uphill answer to the famous “Chinese Downhill” of the 1970s, sending participants 2,000 vertical feet in 3.2 miles from the bottom of KT-22 to High Camp at 8,200 feet.

The Billy Dutton Uphill is open to Nordic skiers, snowshoers, runners and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. Registration begins on race day at 7 a.m. in the Olympic Plaza; the race starts at 8 a.m. at the Funitel. The $20 entry fee includes a T-shirt and goodie bag and proceeds benefit the Tahoe Nordic Race Scholarship Programs. Prizes are awarded to the top finishers in all age categories.

The always-smiling Billy Dutton helped establish Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue (TNSR) in 1976, based on his passion for cross country skiing and his vast knowledge of the Tahoe Basin and the surrounding backcountry.

“Bill was our strongest skier,” says Doug Read, Dutton’s friend and fellow original member of TNSR. “I was always sure to be with the likes of him when we teamed up on searches.”

Read recounts the time when Dutton herringboned 8 miles up and out of a canyon near Diamond Crossing, carrying a hurt woman on his back to safety and recovery.

“All he asked was if I would carry his poles,” Read says. “He was the type who made our community such a wonderful place to live.”

It has been two decades since Billy Dutton passed away, but his spirit lives on through the Annual Billy Dutton Uphill, and through his wife, children and grandchildren.

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