I usually make it up snowshoeing a few times each winter and any time I have tried to run in snowshoes, I usually end up falling on my face in the cold snow. I am guessing that snow shoe races are not quite that intense, but here is your chance to find out for yourself as the first annual snow shoe races kick off at the Snowy Range Ski Area.

On January 7th, 2012, the Snowy Range Snowshoe Races will kick off with 5K, 10K, and 20k backcountry adventure race options which all start at the Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area. The individual races start at the following times throughout the morning and racers for the events need to be present at least 15 minutes before these start times:

  • 20k Race - Begins at 8:30 AM
  • 5k & 10K Race - Begin at 10 AM

There are a few different ways to participate in this event; you can actually register for one of the races and compete or just head up to the ski area and watch from the comfort of the lodge. While you won't be able to see racers out on all parts of the course, the 10k race does come by the lodge multiple times throughout its course so that spectators can watch. The race organizers are hoping to have a big finish area set up with all kinds of noise and excitement to wrap up the races.

Each race is open to all levels of snowshoers, from elite competitors to those who have never raced on the snow. The 20k backcountry adventure race takes participants around the remote backside of the ski mountain, with more fresh snow and elevation change for an added challenge. The 5K and 10K races have been designated United States Snowshoe Association (USSSA) National Championship Qualifiers as well as Wyoming State Championship races for those looking to qualify for the national championships being held in Colorado this year. Based out of the ski lodge, participants will have access to a fireplace and hot meals. When I asked race organizer Alec Muthig if there was anything first time participants should know here is what he had to say:

Snowshoeing does take a bit more effort than running or hiking, but the impact on your joints is substantially less. Waterproof pants are very helpful as you'll be kicking up snow. Snowshoes for all races must be a minimum size of 7”x20” and at least 120 sq. inches of functional surface area. I’d recommend larger shoes for the backcountry race. Just bring a sense of adventure and look forward to the cocoa in the lodge and you'll be fine!

If you are in the mood for a great time while enjoying mother nature come out and give this event a try; you just might get yourself hooked! As a side note Snow Range Ski Area is actually offering snow shoe tours this year as well. Renting snow shoes runs about $10 per person and guided tours that will point out some of the sites around the mountain are $15, which includes show shoe rental.