Just added an article from Dr. Maureen Roberts about the potential for injury when using toe warmers, especially during running and racing, prompted by a runner suffering 2nd degree burns on the bottoms of her feet during the Camp Saratoga race this season. Follow the link above or the one on the right sidebar under “Potentially Useful Information”

There’s a storm in the forecast for late next week and the CRNA is considering holding a 5k race at Capital Hills next weekend if there’s enough snow. Word is they’d like to try a different course from the previous races, and obviously this is not a part of our 2017-18 points series. Everything is very tentative at this point but if you’d like to get in a last race before packing away the snowshoes for the next 8 months, keep an eye out here and on our FB group for updates as we get closer to the weekend.


Bob Dion of Dion Snowshoes provides all sorts of support for our series throughout the season, from providing loaner snowshoes for races to helping runners in the middle of a race adjust their snowshoes so that they’ll stop falling off (yes, I’ve actually seen Bob stop running a race to help a fellow runner fix or adjust his or her snowshoes – and then a short while later I get to see him pass me and I’ll never see him again until afterwards.) At the end of the series he also provides us with prizes for the top male and female runner, as well as three raffle prizes.

The top male and female racer each receive their choice of a snowshoe package – any combination frame, binding, and cleat. Final series points are calculated by totaling their best six races (out of a possible twelve this season.)

The 2017-18 Dion WMAC Snowshoe Series Champions are

Brian Northan (576.9 pts) & Jamie Woolsey (476.7 pts)

Congratulations to both of them for another very successful & competitive racing season!

The raffle prize winners are chosen from everyone who participated in our races this season. Each race you do gets you a chance in the raffle. This season we had a total of 474 participants over 12 races. Out of all of those names and races, the following are the raffle winners:

Jim Sheehan (Hoot Toot & Whistle 5k) – a set of Dion snowshoes
Solitaire Niles (Saratoga Winterfest 5k) – a Dion snowshoes shirt
Chris Johnson (Saratoga Winterfest 5k) – a Dion snowshoes hat

Congratulations to our three raffle winners!

Bob will be working to get in touch with each of our winners to make arrangements for them to get their prizes – if you’re reading this and you’re one of them, please send him an email to help get the ball rolling.

And at the risk of sounding like “everyone is a winner” – the truth is everyone who did one of our races this season is a winner in one way or another. Possibly because you refused to settle for “It’s too cold”, “It’s too difficult”, “I’m too tired”, “I’m too old”, “I’m too slow”, or any of the other myriad reasons people give themselves for sitting inside in the winter. Or possibly because you pushed yourself and did something you’ve never done before, whether that be a certain distance or a certain time or even trying snowshoeing for the first time ever. Appreciate the little victories, they come a lot more often than the big ones.

In the next week or so I hope to have total points for all of the runners (sorry, it takes a while to compile totals for 12 races and 474 runners in those races.) Until then, enjoy the snow while we’ve got it – with luck spring is right around the corner!

A Last Chance Double Header

by Laura Clark

Four of us –Jessica and Brian Northan, Matt Miczek and I regarded this doubleheader weekend (3/3-3/4) as a prime opportunity to test how we would persevere on back-to-back shifts of Nationals snowshoe races. Rather like those Regents practice exams your teachers would throw at you in June in anticipation of school glory.  While that didn’t always work, sparking more anxiety than deep-seated confidence, the four of us were still willing to take a practice run.  Jessica and Brian impressively tagged a few extra hours of low-impact cross training by utilizing the free Garnet Hill ski pass all registrants got with their entry fee.  The rest of us were simply too tired.

Saturday’s race at Garnet Hill presented the 10kers with a three loop challenge and others with a 3.5K or 7K option.  Since this was possibly Garnet’s first time on the snowshoe circuit most of us had no idea what to expect and indeed many of us had never visited this cross-country ski area.  I say possibly because I have vague memories of Tony Mangano organizing a race there in the mid-90’s utilizing newly opened wooded trails, but I could be mistaken.  That’s one of the shortfalls of having been at this for so long, way before internet documentation.

At any rate, we were presented with the usual advantages/disadvantages of any loop course.  First, you could only get lost once.  Which in this case wouldn’t have happened anyway as the course was that well-marked.  This format also enables you to regard the first go-through as a test case, scouting out places to speed up and sections that would require a more judicious approach.  So, theoretically, the final round could be your fastest.  I had a less ambitious goal: not to get lapped by the mid-packers.  And, to complete my victory I only got lapped once by Brian and Tim Van Orden.  Truthfully, Tim lapped me twice, once going and once after winning, when he ran the route backwards.  But that doesn’t count, at least not in my personal rule book.

The course, a wide corduroyed groomed trail, furnished a scenic view of the Adirondack Forest, freshly dressed in newly fallen snow.  As with most cross-country venues, there were plenty of ups and downs to keep the skiers happy, as well as a deceptive uphill near the end of the loop that never seemed to end.  But after the first go-round, you almost looked forward to tackling it as a hopeful sign that yet another loop would soon be completed.

It was touch and go with snow cover up until the big storm the day before.  But this is March after all and the next day mild temperatures prevailed, softening some spring-runoff sections and causing some of us to post hole. I found that rather odd, as even the haphazard collection of trails out my back door has homemade admonitions warning those without skis or snowshoes to stick to the non-groomed sections to avoid this very factor.  I had never seen snowshoes post holing before! The folks at Garnet Hill were gracious and most enthusiastic about hosting more races in the future.  It will be exciting to have more opportunities to venture farther into those tempting woods!

On Sunday, we traveled to Capital Hills Golf Course, the new venue of the Capital Region Northern Alliance (CRNA) whose mission it is to promote the Nordic sports of cross country skiing, biathlon, orienteering and snowshoeing.  Previously, they had hosted snowshoeing events for us at Hilltop Orchards and Pine Ridge XC.  What you may not know about this group is that they have also dedicated themselves to training Paralympic athletes, including many veterans who sacrificed their health in defense of their country.  Some of these very same athletes are be competing in the Paralympics in Korea. Active in their group is our own Curt Schreiner, Olympic Biathlete, who participates every year in our Camp Saratoga Trail Race series along with his family members.

Despite the recent snow, just two days later, much had melted, leaving us with sloppy conditions that still managed to hold up nicely. We traced a challenging circle up, over, around and through the golf course’s hills with views of happy kids on sleds to cheer us on.  Afterwards, we enjoyed hot chocolate and shared stories.

And what about our intrepid future half marathoners?  The Northans won first place beers and a large dose of future Nationals confidence.  As for Matt and I, while we initially felt pretty good, we struggled during the final mile and as a result hatched a workable half marathon plan:  we would hike all inclines and save our energy for the flats and downhills.  Hope that works!

—  Laura Clark is an avid snowshoer, trail runner, XC skier, race director, and 2017 World Snowshoe Federation Championship 70-99 Female Age Group winner. And since Nationals were last weekend she now has the answer to the question of just how much more difficult the Nationals half marathon could be. Stay tuned…


Our final weekend of the 2017-18 series saw another doubleheader. On Saturday 3/3 a small group of snowshoers ran and hiked the inaugural Garnet Hill snowshoe races in North River, NY (not far from our series opener at the Gore Ski Bowl!) Warm temperatures and rain prior to race day forced the Garnet Hill staff to reorganize the course, with most runners doing the full distance consisting of three 3.5mi loops and a few choosing the “fun run” one loop option. Tim Van Orden and Jessica Northan took top the top places, and our thanks go out to the Garnet Hill staff for a enjoyable and well-organized race.

Full Garnet Hill results can be found here.

Sunday 3/4 brought a return to Capital Hills Nordic in Albany, this time with no rain and a good deal more snow, though there were still bare spots and some stretches of very cold watery slush to wade through. Slightly more than twice as many runners as the February race enjoyed a very similar course, with the duo of Brian and Jessica Northan once again finishing first. Many thanks to the Capital Region Nordic Alliance for all their hard work setting up the course and giving us a final opportunity to play in the snow prior to Nationals!

Full Capital Hills #2 results can be found here.

For a more detailed and personal view of the weekend, check out the race reports by Laura Clark.

COMING UP: we’ll announce the series champions and the three winners of the Dion raffle! And then – coverage of Nationals!