If only Julius Caesar could have been at the Lakewoods Resort snowshoe racing back in 44 BC, he might have avoided a very bad day, and the Ides of March would have a different meaning. If only he could have seen this beautiful course laid out in the territory of Northwestern Wisconsin, with inches of fresh new snow topping the winter’s accumulation, and the surrounding forests and rolling hills treating racers to a rolling route that was never once boring. It would be impossible to have aggressive tendencies, no ‘Brutus’ acts, at least those that lead to such unfortunate acts, in such a pristine world; the map might have changed back then.
Racing this course, though, brings out a competitive tendency that no doubt the Berkie cross country skiers sense when they make their annual trek or two here annually. The Lakewoods Resort, next door to Telemark, home of the Berkie, offers this opportunity to race snowshoes on Berkie terrain while benefiting from the unique combination of this event and a Hot Air Balloon Rally (picture), all to aid heart healthy projects in the area.
Two quiet happenings all together: snowshoeing and hot air ballooning. The balloon people must have a lot in common with snowshoers as they, too, are friendly, nice, fun. Must be all of the fresh winter air both groups gulp. Someone suggested that the balloons float over the course and pick up points by dropping sandbags to nail snowshoers. I opined tossing little Irish sacks of green currency to the racers seemed more in keeping with the setting . . . and unlike St. Patrick, we would be happy to keep it.
This is the ninth year of the combo race/rally, and although some scheduling difficulties (this one weekend included St. Patrick’s Day, Palm Sunday, the beginning of many school’s Easter and Spring breaks) kept many away, those who made it were rewarded with a season ending joyous race on the snow. Both Senior Philip Rasmussen and son Philip Rasmussen (they both go by the name ‘PC’), part of a 100 year family ownership tradition of this property, are shown with the author (see picture) in a rendition of the Three Amigos; in this case, it’s the Three Phils. Forget Julius Caesar, All Hail the Phils!
Young PC said, “We questioned having the race this weekend but with the interest and calls coming in we just decided ‘Let’s do it!”
The resort hosts a night event with the Lion’s Club after the race as that group heads up the thrust for buying heart defibrillators and other devices throughout the region.
Note that the pictures reflect a new approach – in the future when possible, Race Directors are encouraged to have the snowshoers hold the appliance they used in the race so all can see what brand, what style is winning. Skiers do it, auto racers do it, and there is a reason: it helps the manufacturers, which helps the sport, the races, the snowshoers.
This isn’t glam — This is basic guerilla marketing for a sport that offers tremendous benefits for all who participate. Who isn’t proud of the snowshoe they race in? If one isn’t, buy a different brand, a different model of the same brand. Tremendous innovation has occurred in the sport over the past few seasons, take advantage of it.
Why hasn’t this be done before?
Good question, but I will hazard the answer is no one had thought of it. Many more ideas are out there, and you’re always welcome to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your suggestions. I’ll be happy to implement them and, of course, take all of the credit . . . no, no, just having some St. Patrick’s Day fun. I’ll be happy to include you and your idea in an article.
Karen Kerner and Brad Ayers, both of Wisconsin, are shown (picture) after the race with Philip Rasmussen celebrating their races. Karen said, “This is a great winter activity, and it is fun racing.”
Brad commented, “The Hot Air for Hearts Race is an excellent late season course with moderate challenge and plenty of fun.”
One entire family raced the 4km course loop (there is a two loop option) and had plenty of Wisconsin Red to brighten the woods (picture).
Tentatively next year’s race will be held on March 14th, a Saturday after the National Championship weekend but management is considering moving the race up in the calendar. And that’s no hot air . . . .
For more information:
Lakewoods Resort & Golf – http://www.lakewoodsresort.com
United States Snowshoe Association – http://www.snowshoeracing.com
Phillip Gary Smith – http://www.ultrasuperior.com