Poulin: Snowshoe racing a great way for all to compete

Travis Poulin
Anything Outdoors
Travis Poulin
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On Feb. 14 a snowshoe race will be held at Hideaway Park in the town of Winter Park. The 2nd Annual “Cupid’s Revenge” starts at 10 a.m. and is held on the Yankee Doodle Trail in the old Idlewild Ski Area.

The four-mile loop starts and finishes in Hideaway Park. There is an option to participate either in snowshoes or just trail shoes. Entry fee is $20 per person in advance or $25 day of.

Racing on snowshoes is like a more difficult form of running because it involves a wider stance and a higher leg lift to move forward effectively. There is also more weight on each foot making the event look like slow motion running. There is plenty of strategy behind snowshoe racing. Much of it, of course, is dependant on the snow conditions and the depth of the snow. Deep snow, steep climbs, and descents will often force runners to slow down to power hiking instead of running. Heart rates also jump much quicker running in snowshoes than on road. Your heart rate can skyrocket right in the beginning of the race if you begin at a pace that is above your physical level. If you have never run in snowshoes it would be best to try it before the race to find a good pace for yourself. Many people try to run at the same rate on snowshoes that they do on the road, but this cannot match up. They even make lightweight, race specific snowshoes that are for running. Many racers use them, but they are not a necessity. Any snowshoes, as long as they are not too heavy, will do just fine, but if you find you love snowshoe racing you may consider buying a pair.

The Grand Foundation and the Winter Park & Fraser Chamber have generously recruited volunteers to help conduct the race. The Chamber agreed to donate a portion of the profits to the Grand Activities and Programs (G.A.P.) Fund which is available to Grand County youth to help provide financial means to participate in non-academic activates and programs by providing or assisting with participation fees. Megan Ledin is the executive director of the Grand Foundation and participated in the race last year.

“I didn’t race in snowshoes last year,” she said. “It was very warm so I ran in regular shoes, but I have run in snowshoes before, and it is an adventure.”

While many people did run the race last year, there were a significant amount that just walked.

Ledin said roughly 90 people participated last year and expects about the same this year. This is an event that everyone can participate in, she said. Many people do not cross country ski so this a great opportunity to compete in an outdoor activity. Like many of these events in Grand County, organizers expect a large portion of participants to sign up day of.

The United States Snowshoe Association (USSSA) has a goal of getting snowshoe racing in the Winter Olympics, eventually. The USSSA is dedicated to promoting outdoor winter safety in conjunction with recreational snowshoeing. They are also the governing body for snowshoe racing in the US.

Cupid’s Revenge is not a USSSA event, but if you enjoy the race you may consider registering for an event that is. Other upcoming events in Grand County include free ski waxing clinics at Devil’s Thumb Ranch held every Saturday from 10 to 2 p.m. where you can learn how to properly wax your Nordic skis for specific weather conditions and demo the latest skis and boots. The class meets outside of the activities center.

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