Mad River Glen and Sugarbush are once again teaming up to host New England's oldest United States Ski Mountaineering Association (USSMA) sanctioned mountaineering race. The Mountain Hardware Ski Mountaineering Race is part of the Randonnee Rally Ski Mountaineering Race Series.

The Mad River Valley event will take place on Sunday, February 8.

"The Mad River Valley is the original race on the East Coast and you couldn't ask for a better area to host a USSMA race," said John Scott, director of the USSMA.

The Randonnee Rally Race Series is a series of ski mountaineering races held at some of the premier resorts in North America. The race series test the competitor's endurance, equipment and skiing skills while skinning up and skiing down some of the toughest terrain that these resorts and their surrounding mountains have to offer. This year's race series includes stops in Sunshine Village, Canada; Crested Butte, Colorado; Kirkwood, California; Alpental, Washington; and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The Mad River Valley Randonnee Race is a cooperative effort among the Mad River Valley's neighboring ski areas.

Participants will begin the race at the base of Mad River Glen, skinning up Antelope to the top to jump onto Long Trail, following it to the top of Mount Ellen. Racers will descend down to the base of Slide Brook, skin up Slide Brook to the top of the North Lynx chair and ski down to the finish line at the base area.

"The Mad River Valley is home to the Monroe Skyline, one of the most spectacular stretches of Vermont's Green Mountains. The rally is a great way for Mad River Glen and Sugarbush Resort to show off the Mad River Valley's amazing natural beauty and challenging backcountry terrain," says Eric Friedman, Mad River Glen's marketing director.

"We're really psyched to be the only eastern hosts of a rally series," remarked adventure skier and the head of Sugarbush Resort Ski and Ride School John Egan. "The terrain that lies between Sugarbush Resort and Mad River Glen is extremely challenging; it ranks up there with some of the most technical descents I've done around the world."

There will be several categories for both men and women -- race, heavy metal (full course recreational) and recreation (shorter course) class -- and a Youth Division for those under the age of 17.  The racing division competitors will be able to earn points towards the overall series championship.

Registration will take place at the Mad River Glen Basebox from 8 to 9 a.m. with the start scheduled from 10 a.m. For more information about the United States Ski Mountaineering Association's (USSMA) Randonnee Rally Ski Mountaineering Race Series visit www.ussma.org.