Outdoor Research, a Seattle outdoor gear company, likes to "focus on creating functional solutions for human-powered adventure."

One of their ways of attaining that goal is through VertiCulture, which, simply put, is "a predisposition to engage in the exploration of wild country, oceans to high peaks, with a variety of tools in all seasons."

One manifestation of that philosophy is through their series of VertFests, one of which takes place March 28 at [R804R, Alpental], one of the [R466R, Summit at Snoqualmie] resorts.

The event - a celebration of the backcountry - is an uphill and downhill race, from Alpental's base area to the resort's high point at Top Station and back a couple of times. There will be approximately 4,100 vertical feet of climbing in the two-lap race (There also will be a less-daunting one-lap "recreational" race, with 2,280 feet of climbing).

VertFest is open to anyone with the legs, lungs and wherewithal - the $75 entry fee includes lift ticket; for pass holders it's $45 - to experience to Outdoor Research's philosophy. Competitors, who can sign up on race day between 7:30 and 9 a.m., must carry a pack, transceiver and probe while racing.

The race starts at 10 a.m. with an awards party/beer bash scheduled for 3:30 p.m.