The UTMB World Series Makes Its Canadian Debut with the Ultra Trail Whistler by UTMB

Whistler's trail running scene gets more complex; two major events, one iconic location.


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Let’s talk about something that has us genuinely pumped; the UTMB World Series is bringing its first-ever event to Canada! Mark your calendars for September 28-29, 2024, because Whistler, British Columbia, is hosting the Ultra Trail Whistler by UTMB.

And you guys know how much we love Whistler, and UTMB events including my recent Kodiak 50K race in Big Bear, California (in order to gain stones for my UTMB qualification quest for 2024) and the OCC in Chamonix); we’ve been to Whistler five times already, albeit mostly in the winter for skiing – it’s just one of those destinations that always delivers!

Whether you’re a seasoned trail runner or looking to level up, this event has something for everyone with race distances of 100km, 50km, and 25km.

Why Whistler, You Ask?

Whistler isn’t just a winter sports haven; it’s an all-seasons destination that has been on our must-visit list for years.

Runners taking on the Ultra Trail Whistler by UTMB will get a hearty serving of what makes this place special: glacier views, creek flows, technical terrains, and of course a world-class resort to rest those tired legs post-race at Whistler or Blackcomb villages – we really enjoy both.

Photo credit Justa Jeskova | Image courtesy of Tourism Whistler for Ultra Trail Whistler by UTMB
Photo credit Justa Jeskova | Image courtesy of Tourism Whistler for Ultra Trail Whistler by UTMB

Belinda Trembath, the COO of Whistler Blackcomb, is just as thrilled as we are and she had this to say about the event:

“The world’s best trail runners will get to experience the natural beauty, stunning mountain views, and world-class terrain of the unceded territories of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation,”.

Related reading:

The Routes are No Joke

Photo credit Justa Jeskova | Image courtesy of Tourism Whistler for Ultra Trail Whistler by UTMB 1
Photo credit Justa Jeskova | Image courtesy of Tourism Whistler for Ultra Trail Whistler by UTMB

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty:

  • The 100km course, aka the queen-race (yes, sadly there’s no 100 mile race on the docket, yet..), packs nearly 5,000 meters (16,273ft) of elevation gain.
  • The 50km isn’t slacking either, challenging runners with over 3,300 meters (11,020ft) of elevation.
  • And if you’re just getting started with your trail running journey or just prefer to race shorter distances, the 25km offers a sturdy challenge with 1,500 meters (5,036ft) of elevation. So yeah, prepare to dig deep and find that inner grit!

Dates to Remember

For those of you keeping tabs, the priority registration opens on October 30, 2023, for UTMB Index holders. The rest of us can jump into the fray on November 1 at the official event website.

This Whistler event marks the 40th milestone in the 2024 UTMB World Series and is the eighth event to be announced for North America (details of all the races below).

So not only is this huge for Canada, but it also broadens the opportunities for runners globally to participate in a UTMB event closer to home.

Photo credit Justa Jeskova | Image courtesy of Tourism Whistler  for Ultra Trail Whistler by UTMB 2
Photo credit Justa Jeskova | Image courtesy of Tourism Whistler.

If you ever dreamed of being part of the UTMB World Series and this could be your chance, to make that dream a reality.

So who’s ready to hit those trails and maybe earn some Running Stones along the way? 🏃‍♂️🏔️

Navigating change, Gary Robbins shares his side of the UTMB Whistler story

As runners, we thrive on trails but also on the communities that make these trails come alive. So it’s only fair to discuss the complexities behind the exciting news about the UTMB World Series coming to Whistler.

Many in the running community might have caught wind of another story, equally important to the sport we all love. Gary Robbins, the race director for the well-known Whistler Alpine Meadows (WAM) races, has shared his perspective on the new UTMB event in Whistler.

Gary recently spoke out about the struggles he’s faced with Vail Resorts and Whistler Blackcomb, describing a lack of communication and a change in event approvals that have made it increasingly difficult to keep WAM alive.

It’s been a whirlwind of a journey, with miscommunications and roadblocks, all culminating in a sudden announcement of the UTMB Whistler event that came as a shock to him and his team.

For the sake of balanced reporting, we want to acknowledge that UTMB had previously approached Gary Robbins about potentially acquiring his Squamish50 races, but no agreement was reached. As of now, Gary is planning to launch a new race in BC in September 2024, with the aim to provide an alternative to the new UTMB Whistler event.

Fans of his WAM races will be very excited to hear this I’m sure, and we too would love to learn more about it when that information comes available so that we can write a post relaying all this information to our readers, and maybe even race it ourselves!

Gary also highlights the economic benefits that WAM brought to the local community—a whooping $1.3 million in combined spending, supporting nearly $1.9 million in overall economic activity in British Columbia.

What does this all mean for us, the running community? Well, we get more choices, more races, and perhaps even more drama to fuel our long runs and post-race conversations. But let’s not forget that, at the end of the day, the trail running community thrives on respect, inclusivity, and a shared love for the sport.

Both UTMB and Gary Robbins have significant roles to play in this narrative, and it’s evident that each has contributed immensely to trail running in different ways.

Let’s hope that, moving forward, all parties involved can find a path that not only elevates the sport we’re so passionate about, but also nurtures the community that makes it all worthwhile.

UTMB® World Series 2024 calendar
(as of 26 October 2023)

  • Tarawera Ultramarathon by UTMB®, New Zealand (17-18 February 2024)
  • Chianti Ultra Trail by UTMB®, Italy (22-24 March 2024)
  • Istria 100™ by UTMB®, Croatia (4-7 April 2024)
  • Ultra-Trail Ninghai by UTMB®, China (April 2024)
  • Desert RATS Trail Running Festival™ by UTMB®, USA (13-14 April 2024)
  • The Canyons Endurance Runs™ by UTMB®, USA (26-27 April 2024)
  • Amazean Jungle Thailand by UTMB®, Thailand (2-5 May 2024)
  • Valhöll Argentina by UTMB®, Argentina (9-12 May 2024)
  • Ultra-Trail Snowdonia by UTMB®, UK (10-12 May 2024)
  • Ultra-Trail Australia by UTMB®, Australia (18-19 May 2024)
  • Trail Alsace Grand-Est by UTMB®, France (17-20 May 2024)
  • Mountain Ultra Trail™ by UTMB®, South Africa (24-26 May 2024)
  • Trail du Saint-Jacques by UTMB®, France (14-16 June 2024)
  • Trail 100 Andorra™ by UTMB®, Andorra (14-16 June 2024)
  • Mozart 100™ by UTMB®, Austria (1 June 2024)
  • Mauritius by UTMB®, Mauritius (22-23 June 2024)
  • La Sportiva™ Lavaredo Ultra Trail™ by UTMB®, Italy (26-30 June 2024)
  • Western States™ 100 Endurance Run, USA (29 June 2024)
  • Trail Verbier St Bernard by UTMB®, Switzerland (5-7 July 2024)
  • Val d’Aran by UTMB®, Spain (3-7 July 2024)
  • Eiger Ultra-Trail™ by UTMB®, Switzerland (17-21 July 2024)
  • Speedgoat™ Mountain Races by UTMB®, USA (19-20 July 2024)
  • Restonica Trail by UTMB®, France (July 2024 TBC)
  • Quito Trail by UTMB®, Ecuador (2-4 August 2024)
  • KAT100™ by UTMB®, Austria (August 2024)
  • Dacia UTMB® Mont-Blanc, France, Italy, Switzerland (26 August – 1 September 2024)
  • Julian Alps Trail Run by UTMB®, Slovenia (September 2024)
  • Wildstrubel by UTMB®, Switzerland (September 2024)
  • Grindstone Trail Running Festival™ by UTMB®, USA (20-21 September 2024)
  • Paraty Brazil by UTMB®, Brazil (September 2024)
  • Ultra Trail Whistler™ by UTMB®, Canada (28-29 September 2024)
  • Nice Côte d’Azur by UTMB®, France (September 2024)
  • Ultra Trail Mount Yun by UTMB®, China (September 2024)
  • TransJeju by UTMB®, South Korea (October 2024)
  • Kodiak Ultra Marathons™ by UTMB®, USA (10-11 October 2024)
  • Puerto Vallarta México by UTMB®, Mexico (November 2024)
  • Kullamannen™ by UTMB®, Sweden (November 2024)
  • Translantau by UTMB®, Hong Kong (November 2024)
  • Ultra-Trail Kosciuszko™ by UTMB®, Australia (December 2024)
  • Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB®, Thailand (6-8 December 2024)
As the founder of Trail & Kale, and seasoned marathoner & ultrarunner, Alastair loves bringing our readers independent running shoe reviews and gear insights to help you run your best. Learn more about Trail & Kale here.


    • I’m not personally going to be boycotting UTMB races as I have a long history running their main event in France and it’s an epic event. I will say what happened in Whistler is really bad and do not condone that, but I’m sure some of the blame should be landing on Vail resorts for allowing this race-weekend takeover to happen in the way it did. This is the trouble with running events in resorts that are privately owned; by the very nature, they’re businesses and will sadly do what brings them the most amount of money – something that doesn’t allign very well with the ethos of trail runners like us.


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