Grand Targhee Resort once again welcomes ski mountaineers for one of the most grueling ski races in the Tetons. Those aiming for shorter climbs can join in Mary's Nipple Challenge, an annual fundraiser for breast cancer.

The USSMA Ski Mountaineering Classic at Targhee Jan. 9 is no race for sissies. Those in the race division will climb on foot 5,000 vertical feet on a course strung across Fred's Mountain, Mary's Nipple, and Peaked Mountain. Those competing in the recreation division will climb a respectable 3,000 vertical feet. This year's event not only kicks off the 2010 national ski mountaineering race series, but also serves as a qualifying race for the U.S. team for the World Championships in March.

The event starts at 10:30 a.m. in the main plaza. The course, which sits within Grand Targhee's boundary, requires skiers to don skins several times for climbing and remove them for skiing down.

Those competing in the event must tote the required gear: helmets, beacons, avy probes, safety straps, climbing skins, snow shovels, and windbreaker jackets. Registration, which costs $35 in advance of $40 on race day, is available online or in the main plaza on race day. Men's and women's divisions are available for both race and recreation levels.

Spectators can watch the start and finish in the plaza. The longest climb up Fred's Mountain is visible from Dreamcatcher Chairlift.

Mary's Nipple Challenge, scheduled for Jan. 30, is a local annual fundraiser for breast cancer. Participants gather pledges for the number of hike-accessed laps they can do on Mary's Nipple. The event raised $5,000 last year.

More information. Or call 307-353-2300.