Dead trees and underbrush litter the nation's forests, creating fire hazards and unhealthy ecosystems.
Brent Giles, the Chief Sustainability Officer of Powdr Corporation (the corporation that owns Park City Mountain Resort), decided something needed to be done.
So the Powdr Shot event was born. Taking place at Gorgoza Park on Saturday and Sunday, the inaugural Powdr Shot competition will raise funds to help clear out some of the dead underbrush in local forests.
"All of our forests have a lot of standing dead and downed underbrush," Giles said. It's just like a lot of national forests, and it's unhealthy."
A partnership was formed with Kip Apostol of Euclid Timber Frames in Heber, with a goal of ensuring that the funds raised from the event would be used to clear the dead wood in a responsible manner.
"Luckily, we found each other," Giles said. "Their company harvests the standing dead and they build homes out of it and mill it and make wood walls. It's just beautiful work."
But, he added, the best part about partnering with Euclid Timber Frames is the way in which the brush is cleared.
"They're very environmentally friendly," Giles said. "They leave a pretty small footprint."
After starting in Killington, Vt., last weekend, the event now heads to Park City for two days of biathlon action.
Saturday morning will feature a trail run. Beginners will run three kilometers, taking five shots at targets with an air rifle after each lap. Intermediate runners travel four kilometers, and experts will run five kilometers.
"You don't have to have your own air rifle," Giles said. "(Gorgoza Park) sets everything up. These are the types of air rifles Olympians are using."
Sunday morning, participants will complete a mountain-bike ride, also featuring plenty of air-rifle action. Beginners ride six miles, intermediate riders complete eight miles and experts bike 10 miles.
The event is open to the public. Registration is open at either powdrshot.com or parkcitymountain.com. The cost to participate in single events runs from $59 to $69, with two-day passes available for between $90 and $105, depending on skill level.
"This is open to anybody," Giles said. "And it might not be the best runner or biker that wins, either. Everybody's got an opportunity to win."
There is no cost to spectators, so Giles hopes locals come out to watch the event.
"I think they'll really get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing these people run and shoot," he said. "I'm not sure very many people have ever been to a biathlon."
Plus, he added, it's a great way to get outside on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
"It'll be a great day outdoors," he said. "Gorgoza is a great location and it's easy to get to. And it's a great cause driving this event, and that's forest health."
A second Powdr Shot event will come to Park City Sept. 21-22.