Frequently Asked Questions

About Tough Mountain

  • The Tough Mountain Challenge is a 3+ mile obstacle race at Sunday River. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll drink beer (if you want), and you'll definitely be sore by the end of it. 

  • In a word? Awesome. Quite frankly, you are so lucky to be competing in this event. Similar events are run in the middle of a big field on a mud track with a bunch of man-made obstacles surrounded by a few tents, a hundred port-a-potties, and parking. At Tough Mountain Challenge, you'll be in the middle of Sunday River with all the facilities, amenities, and activities you could want.

  • If you can run or hike a few miles you will probably survive. If you get winded walking from the TV room to the fridge, this probably isn't for you.

  • Yes. One obstacle (Barker Pond) has overhead-depth water that you will fall into unless you're superhuman. Life jackets will be available if you're a sinker. Other obstacles have chest-deep water.

  • We've got you covered with two hotels right at the ski resort complete with pools, health clubs, spas (think post-race massage), etc., plus a comfortable inn. Lodging is available for Friday or Saturday night.

  • Duh. For many of us, that's the whole reason to do this. There will be barbecues and bars open all day in the event venue, the Foggy Goggle will be open inside (and has a great deck), and there is a small grocery store next to the lodge. If you compete you'll get a free beer. You're welcome.

  • The Tough Mountain Challenge is the centerpiece of an all-day event that includes free music, barbecues, and a range of activities including chairlift rides, base area activities, and more. The town of Bethel has lots to offer as well, including canoe trips and fishing on the Androscoggin River, tons of hiking in the region, plenty of options for lodging and restaurants, and more. Learn all about our summer offerings.

  • Of course, just make sure you have your furry friend's leash, and if you bring an alligator or large snake please keep them out of the water obstacles.

  • Yes. We welcome anyone interested in helping out with the event, and you'll walk away with a t-shirt and lunch. Volunteer shifts are generally four hours long, unless you really want to get after it and do more. Please email us at

Before the Event

  • Yes. The event runs rain or shine, but if weather creates safety concerns (lightning, etc) we place the course on hold. At each obstacle, you'll find color-coded weather status signs as well as event crew that can direct you to shelter if needed. If the event does go on hold, competitors are able to return to the point they reached on course and finish the event. If the weather keeps us from being able to start and complete all heats, your registration will transfer to the following year for free, so long as you arrived and checked in at this year's event. All weather-related decisions are made on the day of the event.

  • Heck yes. It's even more fun to do this with your friends, especially if you're in better shape. You can sign up for teams of four or more.

  • Ages 13 and up can register for the Tough Mountain Challenge, though it is recommended for ages 18 and up. Those under 21 will receive a free non-alcoholic beverage with registration instead of beer. For those ages 4-12, we have the  Mini Mountain Challenge.

  • Registration is non-refundable, however transfers can by made before June 27 for a $25 fee. Sign in on the registration page to make a transfer, and if you have questions check out the helpful instructions. Transfers cannot be made online after June 27, but will be allowed on-site for a $50 fee and written permission from the original participant that we can transfer their bib. 

  • Yes, but only through June 25. You'll need to log in to make the transfer. Helpful instructions here. We also allow on-site transfers for $50. We must receive a note from the original participant allowing us to release their registration to another racer. Email to give permission ahead of time, or attend with the participant who will be taking your place. 

  • You can check your heat time for 2020 on

  • Get off the couch. No, seriously, do some circuit training, some cardio, and some strengthening. For pointers, we recommend watching Karate Kid, Roadhouse, and anything with Chuck Norris. Remember: Pain is weakness leaving the body.

  • First and foremost, be sure to have a photo ID for check-in. Minors do not need a photo ID, but must have a parent or guardian present to sign the release of liability. 

    Wear comfortable, loose workout clothes that you aren't afraid to ruin and wear hiking shoes or cross-trainers suitable for uneven terrain. We recommend you not wear anything of value, like an iPod, jewelry, or a CamelBak, because it may get ruined or eaten by the mud. There will be water stations throughout the course, but keep in mind that you will be outside for most of the day. Keep an eye on the weather as the Tough Mountain Challenge approaches and pack accordingly. Outdoor showers will be available next to the finish if you want to wash the mud off.

During the Event

  • You should come up Friday night to take advantage of early check-in from 5-9pm and our race pre-party that starts at 6pm. However, you may arrive any time on the day of the event. Check-in opens at 7am. Try to get here at least an hour before your heat so you have time to register, stash your stuff, and scout the course. To keep the heats manageable and enjoyable, we cannot accommodate starting you in a different heat earlier or later than the one you've signed up for. You've been warned. 

  • There is plenty of free parking at South Ridge Lodge, where the event starts and finishes.

  • Check-in is at South Ridge Lodge at Sunday River. You won't miss it. We also have a small grocery store that will be open throughout the event in case you need a beer to take the edge off prior to the event. Pro tip: check-in on Friday night -- it's faster, and we throw a big party.

    Be sure to have a photo ID for check-in. Minors do not need a photo ID, but must have a parent or guardian present to sign the release of liability. 

  • Whatever you don't want to leave in your car can be held in our free cubbies inside South Ridge Lodge or in our lockers for a few bucks.

  • No. All competitors will be outfitted with electronic shock collars and the entire course is monitored by real-time wireless video. If you skip an obstacle we'll zap you. Just kidding-there is nothing keeping you from skipping an obstacle but you'll feel cheated from the full Tough Mountain experience if you do so. Plus it's bad karma.

  • You get a free beer (or soda for those under 21) with your registration. When you check-in, you'll get a bracelet that you can have cut off to exchange for your free beer at any of our bars or barbecues before or after the event. If you're truly awesome, you can take your beer at our mid-course beer stations (which 40% of the field usually does).

  • Spectators can watch the start/finish line right at South Ridge Lodge and are invited to wander the course--many of the most popular obstacles are within walking distance. There's plenty of seating, food, and things to do. Coming up to watch the event or join the Friday party is free. They can also head up the Chondola for a scenic lift ride to see some of the obstacles at the top of the course. 

  • Despite plentiful parking, please do not leave them in the car. Child care is available at Sunday River's state-licensed facility next to South Ridge Lodge on the day of the event between 9:00am and 4:00pm. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 207-824-5083. As for your grandparents, South Ridge Lodge is located right next to the start and finish area and has seating, food, a retail store, gear storage, etc. Granny and Gramps can hang out in the lodge if they prefer to be out of the sun and away from the action. If they want to wear headbands and your event shirt and talk about their race strategy while stretching, even better.

  • To clean your body, we'll have outdoor showers set up, and there are restrooms for changing inside the lodge. The showers are not heated. If you have a dirty mind, you'll need to figure that out on your own. You can also stay in one of our on-mountain accommodations that have heated showers and other great amenities...if you're into that. Lodging will sell out, so make your reservation now. 

  • Results will be posted on a digital board as you cross the finish line, and online after the event. 

  • Yes. Midcoast Photography will be shooting the event this year and will have photos available for purchase on-site the day of the event and online after the event.