The 24th season of the Dion WMAC Snowshoe Series got off to a great start with 20 snowshoers tackling the course at the Gore Ski Bowl in North Creek, NY. 18 went the full 5k distance of 3 loops on groomed nordic ski trails and a short stretch of ungroomed singletrack through the woods, and 2 completed the 2 mile fun run. Brian Northan and Jamie Woolsey finished at the head of the pack on a day that saw us start with mostly overcast skies and then featured occasional patches of blue peeking through the clouds and even a burst of snow flurries for a while. Our thanks to the staff of the Gore Ski Bowl Nordic Center who put on a professionally organized race, provided complimentary day passes for those who wanted to spend additional time on the trails either skiing or snowshoeing, and even sent everyone home with a prize. Thanks also to Bob Underwood of Underdog Race Timing for recording the results.
Gore received another foot of fresh snow this past week so conditions should be good for the 1st race of the 2017-18 series at the Gore Ski Bowl on Saturday at 2 PM. All sorts of race info can be found at on the race page.
Unfortunately Albany got very little snow followed by rain and so Sunday’s race at Capital Hills Golf Course has been cancelled. There’s another race scheduled for that venue in February, and they may also try to reschedule this race for a date later in the season. Stay tuned for more info as it becomes available.
Last season, one of the original Western Mass Athletic Club snowshoers, Bob Worsham reflected, “I miss the longer races we used to have.” Well, Bob, this is your year, as we look forward to offerings ranging from 5Ks, 10Ks and 15Ks, all the way up through the half and full marathon – with a team relay thrown in for good measure. Thankfully, though, the first two races on tap are all 5Ks, designed for an early season introduction, and an opportunity to practice clothing choices and strategy.
But why wait for the snow to fall? The season is but a brief shining moment and conditioning is crucial. Aaron Knoblach, who came out of seemingly nowhere – Rouses Point, to be exact – to win Snowshoe Nationals a few years back, attributes his success to superman hip flexors developed from single leg stationary bike pedaling drills. Saratoga Stryders member, Maureen Roberts, who doubles as our doctor on-call, has already begun her single leg squats and walking lunges hefting ten-pound handweights. I swear by my twice-weekly lunchtime stair running sessions to develop high knee lift and climbing power.
It also helps to cultivate a shrug-your-shoulders “whatever” attitude. Snow can be fickle and courses are sometimes altered to accommodate that fact; some are approached as mud excursions, others are rescheduled and occasionally even relocated. Updates from race directors are posted weekly on dionwmacsnowshoe.com and on Facebook (search: Dion WMAC Snowshoe Series) to include other regional events. Most races will have a limited supply of Dion Snowshoe rentals, so email the race director if you need to reserve a pair.
Laura Clark of Saratoga Springs NY is an avid trail runner, ultramarathoner, snowshoer and cross country skier. She is a children’s librarian at the Saratoga Springs Public Library and also one of the organizers of the Dion WMAC Snowshoe Series.