OGDEN -- An annual winter race at Snowbasin that combines skiing, biking, running and snowshoeing will not be held this year because of economic concerns.
The Xterra Winter World Championship race, held in early March in 2008 and 2009, has been placed on hold indefinitely by TEAM Unlimited, the Hawaii-based production and marketing company that puts on Xterra events worldwide.
"We're re-evaluating our approach to winter events," said Trey Garman, spokesman for Xterra. "We're not moving it to another venue. We're just putting it on hold."
The Winter World Championship is a unique multisport race combining the four disciplines of ski mountaineering, mountain biking, running and snowshoeing.
Garman said the main purpose of the winter race has been to market Snowbasin and the Ogden area using television and Internet exposure.
"We were very successful in doing that, but the economic side was a miss," he said. "Winter triathlon events register fewer people than our other events."
Last year's winter race had about 50 participants, compared with nearly 300 for the Xterra USA Championship triathlon held at Snowbasin and Pineview Reservoir in September.
Garman said the suspension of the winter event does not affect the fall triathlon, still scheduled for Sept. 25.
Local and state officials involved in the winter race say the announcement was not a big surprise, nor is it a major blow to their efforts to market Snowbasin and the Ogden area to outdoor athletes.
"It's a very intense race with some amazing athletes, but we understood it was always going to be a smaller race," said Jennifer Stockard, executive director of the Greater Ogden Athletic Legacy Foundation, which provides volunteer support to Xterra and other athletic events in Top of Utah.
"It was their decision to look for a different format, and we want to see an event that makes sense for them."
Jeff Robbins, president of the Utah Sports Commission, which helped attract the race to Snowbasin, said the move makes sense given current economic conditions.
"I think Xterra is continuing to focus on more traditional events instead of putting their limited resources into this," he said.
"It's an internal, strategic decision for them, and they know their business model."
Airline baggage fees and other economic factors have made it harder to justify the costs of staging the winter race, Garman said.
"When you include skis, snowshoes and bikes, it makes it harder to travel," he said.
Robbins said the Utah Sports Commission currently isn't looking for another event at Snowbasin to replace the Xterra winter race, especially now that the resort has landed the Winter Dew Tour, a much larger event.
"It's really hard to bring multiple events into our resorts, because it's a big commitment for them," he said.
"But if something came along that could be a match, we would certainly look at that."