For 2023 a difficult, but doable, set of challenges has been created by Jeffrey Previte himself. They have all been inspired by his personal experiences throughout 2022. The events can be done in any order and, with the exception of the Road/Gravel challenge, there is no time limit for completion of a given event. All you have to do is make it through. Completing all six will require an incredible amount of dedication, courage, and a willingness to embrace the journey regardless of the outcome.
To remove any geographical limitations all events can be replicated in your own backyard. The only requirement is submitting your substitute event to the Big Belt Buckle Challenge board prior to completion to ensure it meets the criteria.
Inspired by The Pfeifferhorn in Utah and Mount Moran in Wyoming, this challenge will push anyone to their limits. Participants will be required to climb and skin up, and then ski down, two comparable mountains back to back. Finish one and head straight to the next! You are allowed to sneak a sleep in, in between if you’d like to. A good goal for completion, if taking on the two namesakes above, is sixty hours, including time spent traveling between the two mountains.
Requirements: Summit two peaks, back to back, a minimum of 5,000 feet of elevation gain per mountain while you climb/skin up and ski back down.
CHALLENGE 2: swim
Not everyone is comfortable in the water, but in order to complete this challenge, you’ll have to be! The inspiration for this is Jeff’s personal goal of swimming six miles in open water, a challenge which he set out for himself after discovering an event in which participants swim around Key West, a twelve mile expedition in the tropical waters of South Florida. For those looking to do this in your own backyard, a solo six mile open water swim will be accepted or you have the option to “buddy up” and tackle a relay with a friend of at least twelve miles. No motors or kayaks allowed! You have to switch off swimming and paddle boarding, or prone paddling, for your relay to be accepted.
Requirements: Six mile solo or twelve mile relay open water swim
• Wetsuits will be allowed in water temperatures up to 76 degrees Farenheit/24.5 Celsius
• No paddles, flippers, snorkels, buoys, or flotation aids, such as wetsuit shorts (in temps above 76F) will be allowed or accepted.
• If doing the swim solo and straight through, no outside assistance is allowed. No grabbing onto anything to rest, if you pause you must keep afloat by treading water. The same applies for the relay, switches between paddling and swimming must be made as quickly and efficiently as possible and the swimmer is not allowed to rest on the paddle board until the paddler has entered the water to begin swimming
CHALLENGE 3: road or gravel bike
The inspiration for this one is the scenic road route that covers the distance between Park City and St. George in Utah. The distance is 480 miles with at least 20,500 feet of elevation gain. For the backyard version, rides of comparable distance and elevation gain will be considered. If you are not comfortable riding on the road, a gravel bike is also a choice. The distance requirement will drop to 430 miles as long as you can prove your route is at least 50% gravel. The climbing requirement will remain the same. This is the only challenge with a timeline for completion: You have 72 hours to cover the distance and it must be fully self supported. No follow cars, no mechanics, a true “gas station” adventure. You can sleep wherever and however you like, so long as you both arrive and depart from there on your bike!
• Road Requirements: 480 miles, at least 20,500 ft elevation gain in 72 hours
• Gravel Requirements: 430 miles, at least 20,500 ft elevation gain in 72 hours
**For those in the flatlands, distances well north of 480 miles on the road bike will be considered as a substitution to make up for lack of elevation gain. Another acceptable substitute for the required elevation gain will be the full 480 miles on a gravel bike where the route is at least 50% gravel
CHALLENGE 4: mountain bike
The basis for this one is simple: La Ruta in Costa Rica. One of the most well known mountain bike events in the world it challenges participants with covering 164 miles over three separate stages while climbing a whopping 23,300 feet. For those who cannot make it to Costa Rica, any comparable mountain bike ride, whether over one, two, or three days will be considered.
Requirements: 164 miles in three days while climbing at least 23,300 feet
Again, for flatlanders, exceptions will be considered, but rest assured it will have to be a pretty incredible distance added to make up for the required climbing and technical difficulty!
CHALLENGE 5: climb
Just as with events numbers 1 and 2, this might not be in everyone’s wheelhouse, but it’s all part of the game if you want to earn the golden buckle, and the donation that comes with it! Proper training and preparation will be necessary before embarking on this. Inspired by Mount Assiniboine in Canada
Requirements: Hike and Rock climb a technical mountain including approximately 16 miles of hiking and summiting combined. Rock climbing must be of at least a 5.4 rating (example: Grand Teton in Wyoming or Assiniboine in Canada)
If you want to take on what some might call the most demanding challenge that will test your merit in every discipline, look no farther than the BIG. Riding, swimming, climbing, the BIG has it all. Inspired by the Grand Picnic the requirements are as follows:
You kick off with a 23 mile bike ride (road, mountain or gravel) from Jackson’s town square to Jenny Lake, swim 1.3 miles (open water) across Jenny Lake, then tackle the 10 mile hike/climb including 6,000’ of elevation and a 5.4 degree technical rock climb, to reach the top of the 13,775 foot Grand Teton. Then, you’ll then turn around and repeat it all: 10 miles down, another 1.3 mile swim and 23 mile bike back to start. While you are welcome to mimic this in your backyard if the terrain allows, this is one event where no substations will be allowed. The distance, ascent and technicality must mirror or exceed that of the Grand Picnic. The easiest way to complete this event is to follow the Grand Picnic route as listed on the website above.
**As is the spirit with all of these challenges, this is to be a self supported effort
If you are an elite or professional athlete and you’d like to be a part of the Big Belt Buckle Challenge we encourage you to reach out. We can work with you directly to create an event that will test your limits and allow you to earn a donation to the cause of your choice, while also fitting into your yearly schedule and training routine. Our ultimate goal is to raise awareness for the charities we work with and to take the mission and ethos behind the Big Belt Buckle Challenge global. We at theBig Belt Buckle Challenge both value and recognize the impact that Elite Athletes can have in getting the word out about this project to their followers and fans across an array of platforms.