A Relaxing Night Away and A Trail Adventure

This past weekend we traveled to Schroon Lake, New York for the Hoffman Notch Wilderness Challenge 10km snowshoe race. We arrived on Friday night, and were made to feel right at home as we were welcomed into the Wells House, in Pottersville (just south of Schroon Lake). This quaint inn has been lovingly restored and re-opened by Shirley and Paul Bubar, and was a wonderful place to headquarter our weekend activities. We spent a relaxing evening lounging in our comfortable room, and listening to some live folk music playing downstairs.

In the morning, after some hearty bagels and gourmet coffee at the inn, we headed out to the race. We were both a bit nervous, not knowing what to expect of the snow conditions, the course, or from our bodies as we return from injuries.

Thankfully, the Adirondacks had more snow than we currently do, but the conditions were less than ideal because of the recent warm temperatures. Just before the race, all of the racers were shuttled to the heart of the wilderness area, up the mountainside. It started to drizzle just as we were getting ready to run, but once the race started, we headed into cover of the woods, so we barely noticed. The course included some challenging hills, lots of mud, a beaver dam to scramble across, and even some pretty blue snow made from spilled Gatorade.

Most of the course was well covered with snow, but there were numerous stream crossings. It felt crazy to be up to our ankles in water while crossing streams, wearing our snowshoes! This race really had it all, and was a fun challenge. The organizers and volunteers deserve credit for pulling off a very well-supported race in a difficult environment.

In the end, we both met our goal of qualifying to run the U.S. Snowshoe Championships in Vermont in March, with me finishing first in the women’s field, and Derrick finishing tenth overall – an incredible result considering he broke his fibula just three months ago.


About the author

Sara Montgomery and Derrick Spafford

Derrick and Sara are trail runners from Eastern Ontario who discovered that running on snowshoes in the winter months is a great way to enjoy their favorite trails year-round. They competed in their first snowshoe series (The Mad Trapper Series in Low, Quebec) in 2005, each finishing 2nd in their respective divisions. Plans for 2006 are to return to the Mad Trapper, to take in some races in New York and Vermont, and hopefully cap their season with the U.S. Snowshoe Championships in March, as Canadian guests. Derrick runs a company, Spafford Health and Adventure (http://www.healthandadventure.com), which specializes in coaching and event promotion. He is currently planning an annual snowshoe race to be held in the Kingston area, starting this winter.