The 2009 Jazztrax Snowshoe Stomp AND Concert!

By Patty Jo Struve

The 4th Annual Jazztrax Snowshoe Stomp once again brought a beautiful blanket of snow to the Bear Valley Cross Country center in California. On Sunday, January 25th, 31 competition bound snowshoe racers braved another big snowstorm and had a great time at our race. With the storm, our temperatures stayed in the 20s, that’s ABOVE zero, and provided beautiful race conditions.

The two milers, Austin and Allison Varn finished in a time of 14:45 in powder and white out conditions.  The 5km male winner, Keith Maurer, is a local cross country coach, a first timer on snowshoes and finished in 33:40.  The female winner of the 5km, Karen Meskimen(see photo below, black outfit), finished fourth overall and is 58 years young! Amazing! 

In the 10 KM USSSA National Championship Qualifier, Mark McManus ran a stellar 50:06 on a very challenging course for the overall win. Sharon Edwards reported to me, “Mark had never raced before! A friend had lent him snowshoes, and he had to ask at the start line if he had them on right. Mark had only been on snowshoes once before in the Arnold area on rented snowshoes two years ago.” His great performance today is one terrific start to a racing resume. 

Next year if the second place finisher, Kenny Brown, starts on time (starting eight minutes late in this race), the race to the finish for these two, with Mark now having real experience under his belt,  will be very exiciting. 

The elevation at Bear Valley is a mere 7,000 feet (where’s the air? Gulp!), with about 1,000 feet of vertical in the 10km race. The powder snow made the conditions ideal for all of the racers.

As it is, Chikara Omine (last years winner) and Alex
Durante (photo above, youngest 10k male) and Kenny were very close together, about 10 minutes behind the leader.  Finishing her first snowshoe race, Erika Kikuchi ran a 1:14:47 for the women’s’ victory.

The Avery Middle School Morning Jazz Band performed a fine concert during the awards ceremony.  All of the participants placed in their age group. All 10 KM  participants potentially qualified for the USSSA PowerSox Snowshoe National Championships to be held in March, 2009.  Vallecito Music Boosters were on board to provide help and serve homemade food during the ceremony. Many local businesses donated raffle prizes to make the event a success

Atlas Snowshoes and Hammer Nutrition were the main sponsors of the event, once again providing prizes and nutrition for all.  Bear Valley Cross Country Center and Bear Valley Lodge and Sky High Pizza gave us the best attention of all.  Thanks to Paul and Diane Peterson for helping mark the course and working with registration.  Without BVCC, this event would not be possible.  A big thanks to Mark Phillips for providing the Sky High Pizza parlor for the awards ceremony.  We hope this event can continue to grow in many years to come.  Just remember, if you are coming to the Jazztrax Snowshoe Stomp next, don’t forget to — BRING CAR CHAINS!!!

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About the author

Phillip Gary Smith

Phillip Gary Smith, Senior Editor, published "The 300-Mile Man" about Roberto Marron's historic doubling of the Tuscobia 150 mile endurance snow run. He publishes "iHarmonizing Competition" on various forms of competition, including drag racing, his favorite motorsport. Earlier, he wrote "HARMONIZING: Keys to Living in the Song of Life" as a manual for life with chapters such as Winning by Losing, Can God Pay Your Visa Bill?, and a young classic story, The Year I Met a Christmas Angel. His book, "Ultra Superior," is the first written on the Superior Trail ultra-distance events. He mixes writing with his profession--the venture capital world--a dying art. He is a creator of CUBE Speakers, a group espousing themes in "HARMONIZING: Keys" in a unique way. Currently, he has two books in the works.
Write to him at, or find him on Twitter or Facebook @iHarmonizing.