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 Winter Snowshoe Racing
Submitted by Rickshaw :: Wed Dec 22, 2004 11:45 am
It’s no secret that snowshoe racing has quickly become the hot new craze for snowbound runners. One industry group estimates that three million people have taken up snowshoeing since 1998. Since it’s a close relative of trail running, snowshoeing is a favorite cross-training alternative of many runners in snowy climates. With new snowshoe races seemingly popping up everywhere to meet the demand, there’s never been a better time for first-timers to give the sport a try.

If snowshoeing conjures up images in your head of bulky wooden frames laced with leather straps, forget it. Today’s snowshoes are high-tech wonders built from lightweight aluminum frames, nylon decks, and bindings similar to a snowboard’s. There’s even a whole category of ultra-lightweight racing snowshoes.

A decent pair of snowshoes will cost anywhere from $100 to $300. High-end models are constructed from aluminum and composites, combining superior strength with minimal weight for racing. More basic models designed for hiking are often made from plastic frames. Some of the popular manufacturers in today’s snowshoe market are:

Atlas –
Tubbs –
Redfeather –
Dion –
Northern Lites –

Beginners at snowshoeing should start with a packed down area of snow where the going is easiest. Expect your pace to be slower than when running—after all, you’ll have an extra couple of pounds of weight strapped to each foot. You’ll also need to lift your feet higher than usual to allow for the snowshoe’s tail to drop down with each stride. It may feel clunky for a little while, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

In the US and Canada, the snowshoe racing season is roughly January to April, and most races are in the three to eight mile range. Races are typically very beginner-friendly, and will supply basic snowshoes to those who don’t have their own.

If you’re in a snowy part of the world, check for a snowshoe race series in your area, like British Columbia’s Yeti Mountain Snowshoe Series, or central New York State’s Finger Lakes Snowshoe Series. There’s also the US National Snowshoe Series: ten regional qualifying events around the country, followed by the National Snowshoe Championships March 5 and 6 in Anchorage, Alaska.

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