Note from the Publisher: Danelle Ballengee is currently recovering from a horrible accident that she survived in early December. Although Danelle was seriously injured, she is on the strong path of recovery. We wish you all the best, Nellie! For more information on her story, read the following article: http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20061222/NEWS/61222011. Below you will find an article – written by Danelle – that appeared in the first print issue of Snowshoe Magazine.
I love autumn. The air becomes cool and crisp, the leaves turn to brilliant colors, and the first dusting of snow appears on the mountaintops. The peaks appear even more majestic and provide a brilliant contrast to the glowing trees. Fall is a time for change, not only for the colors and temperatures, but also for us humans.
For me, autumn is the time to take a short break from summer activities and to look ahead to the winter-sport season. The cool air and mountain snow remind me to get out my snowshoes and winter clothes and start planning. The change of activity is motivating and exciting.
Winter is not the time to hibernate. There are hundreds of great opportunities to get outside and enjoy the beauty of winter and get in great shape. Snowshoeing not only allows us to access places we might never see without snowshoes, but it also builds leg strength, cardiovascular stamina and endurance. Snowshoeing also helps enhance our proprioceptive sense – we strengthen our core stabilizers and become more balanced athletes.
I encourage everyone to sign up for a snowshoe event. There’s something out there for all ages and abilities – from benefit “Romps” to “Kids K’s” to competitive races.
It was 12 years ago that I got hooked on snowshoeing. I entered a Tubbs 10K race in Nederland, Colo. I borrowed a pair of demo snowshoes and set off on my first snowshoe race with no expectations. The course was a pristine single-track that winded through the woods, with lots of ups and downs and some great views. There were obstacles to clear, including log and creek crossings. I was like a kindergartener in a gigantic playground – laughing and running and falling and having the time of my life. My heart rate was soaring, but I didn’t notice it since I was having so much fun. About 12 years and more than 100 snowshoe races later, I become a kindergartner again each winter!
There’s a great selection of races similar to that one – where the course designer sets the course by tromping out a path through the woods on snowshoes. Ask around for events like that in your area. It’s a good bet that if they don’t use a snowmobile or grooming machine to set the course, it’s going to be a good one. Check out this year’s selection of qualifying races for Nationals. There are some great races on this year’s schedule.
For the less competitive, but still adventurous, I’d recommend a moonlight snowshoe tour. If you’re not confident heading into the dark by yourself, sign-up for an organized tour. You’ll meet some fun people and will have a truly great experience. Bring wine and cheese if you wish. The glow of the moonlight on the snow on a quiet, clear night is one of the most serene moments you will experience. Add a falling star and … it’s a picture you won’t forget!
If you’re neither competitive nor super-adventurous, there are events for you, too. Events like the Tubbs Romp to Stomp out Breast Cancer bring together a wonderful and friendly group of people to go out and enjoy snowshoeing and its benefits for a great cause. There are also winter-fit classes available at fitness clubs and wellness centers where snowshoe and fitness experts can teach you the ins and outs of snowshoeing and you can participate outdoors in various snowshoe workouts.
Okay! All this thinking about snowshoeing … I gotta get out there. See you on the snow!
Danelle “Nellie” is a professional endurance athlete, coach and event coordinator. She races for the Tubbs Snowshoe Team and has won more than 100 snowshoe races. She organizes the Swift Skedaddle Snowshoe Races in Colorado. Her Jan. 14 Skedaddle is a qualifier for USSSA Nationals. More information about this event, as well as training programs for snowshoeing can be found at Coach Nellie’s Web site: http://www.trainingrx.com.