Snowshoe races are quickly approaching! There are four in the area in the next couple of months. Anyone can participate in a snowshoe race. They are low-key and friendly. There are usually a small number of participants intent on racing. Most folks jog or walk-jog for the fun experience of it all. I encourage you to give it a try. Anyone can do it regardless of snowshoe experience. Gather your friends and give it a go!
Below is a description of the four snowshoe Fun Runs and Races (listed in order by date) near us this winter. Chances are we’ll have multiple runners headed to each of these events. Look for carpool information on the SRWL Facebook group leading up to each event. If you’re not on FB, email SnowshoeRunWithLaura@gmail.com for info. See you “at the races!”
1) Sunday, January 18th, 10am – White River Snowshoe 4k/8k
The “the oldest and largest snowshoe race in the west” starts at White River West SnoPark on Mt. Hood’s SE flank. The 8k race is also a regional qualifier for the US National Snowshoe Championship, so there will be a few seriously fast runners here, but most of the 200+ participants take part for the fun challenge. I’ve seen people here on snowshoes for the very first time, hiking with poles, or with a baby on their back. Everyone is truly welcome.
If you are interested in qualifying for the US Snowshoe Nationals, you need to be a member of the US Snowshoe Association and (in a nutshell) place in the top 5 in your age group in the 8k race. It’s generally easy to qualify, as most race participants aren’t USSSA members. All of us who participated in this race the last couple years and wanted to qualify for Nationals did. So if seeing your name on a list of qualified athletes for the US Snowshoe Nationals motivates you, go for it! White River is our closest Nationals qualifying race this year.
The 4k race is a skinny loop along the White River Canyon. There are great views of Mt. Hood. The first 1/2 of the loop is uphill along the canyon rim to the end of the canyon, then it loops downhill through the trees. The finish is very fast. The 8k race does two loops. There is a drawing for some nice prizes afterward, and some snacks and beer.
2) Sunday, January 25th, 11am – Tour for the Heart
This event is a 5k XC ski or snowshoe that starts at Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center, and is a fundraiser for women’s heart health. It is wonderful seeing snowshoe hikers and runners along with both classic and skate skiers all having fun and getting along. The course is mostly flat with a couple small hills at the beginning and end. A special loop is groomed around Dutchman Flat just for this event, with gorgeous views of Mt. Bachelor. In the past, Elk Lake Resort has had their “Snowburban” on the loop with an aid station. Costumes are encouraged, with prizes for the best ensembles. There is a Group Challenge where groups with 10+ signed up are in a special raffle drawing. Type “Snowshoe Run With Laura” in the Group Affiliation box during online registration. A couple years ago we got a really nice bag of goodies to divvy up. This is not technically a race, but a “tour,” so there may or may not be a timing clock at the finish. It’s a fun and fast course; if you’re inclined to race it and want to know your time, wear your Garmin.
3) Friday, February 13th, 6:30pm – Hoodoo Snowshoe 4k
This super-fun night-time race is held on the rolling hills of Hoodoo’s groomed XC ski trails! Wear your headlamp and follow reflective markings. There are volunteers on the course so you won’t get lost. Warm-up afterward with snacks and prizes in the lodge. Racing at night— how cool is that?
4) Saturday, February 28th, 11am – Snow Lovers Loop 4k/8k
This small and friendly event starts at the rustic Odell Lake Lodge near Willamette Pass. Runners and walkers of all ages enjoy a forested course that winds through the rolling hills of the lodge’s Nordic trails. Last year, Sasquatch made an appearance at the starting line, and was also featured on the rustic age group medals, which were crafted from slices of tree limbs! A post-race lunch in the restaurant at Odell Lake Lodge is included. After lunch, enjoy the roaring fire in the lodge’s fireplace, or wander along the lakeshore and watch for resident eagles. Odell Lake Lodge, which dates from 1903, is a cozy and inviting venue for this fun, low-key event.