Big Foot Spotted at Kahtoola Snowshoe Festival Qualifier

Here is the Big Foot spotted for 2011: By finishing a 50 km snowshoe race at age 50 with 50 minutes margin ahead of a supreme effort for second, the overall winner is Bob Bolton, winner in a time of 5:09, a course record. His 10 km split would have won him third overall in that race. Todd Schmidtke applied pressure through the first half and captured second. Third, overall, Trace Lund finished in 23 more minutes while Steve Ansell, fourth, crossed in 7:11, more than two hours after Bolton. Kudos goes to the only woman in the event, Tara Tulley with a gutty ten-hour finish. You have not lived until you have raced up to ten hours on snowshoes as 16 did at this event (see course map. Race distance involves a number of loops).

Race Director, J Bozung, said, “The snow was in great condition and the weather was almost perfect, which helped in setting new course records.” This race extravaganza offers a distance for your snowshoeing taste: 5 km, 10 km (the USSSA qualifier distance), then a 25 km, marathon, and finally the 50 km. No other snowshoe race offers this assortment of distances. 97 snowshoers finished their races on this bright day.

The Dion Snowshoes USSSA National Snowshoe Championship Qualifier (Championship to be held at the Lakewoods Resort, Cable, Wisconsin) was won handily by Jody Benson in 45:25, a record. Five minutes later, John Bogen, the oldest top finisher at 53, won second overall followed by Anton Kleparek who tripped the clock at 53 minutes on the dot. Phil Graham and Thiery Sorhaitz nailed the line under one hour — Sorhaitz had a comfortable 11 seconds of margin left on the clock.

Lisa Boshard won the women’s qualifier class at 1:05, missing seventh overall by 11 seconds to Glen Gunnell. Deb Lovci was second, and let thirteenth overall slip by just nine seconds behind Seth Buhler. Dawn Bently nailed the bronze. Linda Capobianca finished the event for the 24 finishers, one of two 55 year olds (the other being Gloria Faulkner) completing the course.

The quick 5 km race had no records, but Brad Chatterley won by 72 seconds over the first woman, Natalie Braegger, who kept the heat on him. Josh Braegger won third followed by Bruce Strom. Nicole Alguire and Agnes Durst tied at 40:08 for the second woman overall.  24 finished the distance.

A popular road distance, the 25 km, is a good test on snow. Tyson Apostol won by three minutes over Matt Westerland, but they were tied at the six mile distance and the 9.5 timer. Ben Corrales took the bronze at 2:36, nine minutes back.

Kandice Lund won first woman with a sizable lead throughout, but slowed and finished with a still-comfortable 14-minute win over Katie Cassidy and Holly Ebert who managed to trip each timer including the finish together. Melanie White led them by eight minutes throughout but faded in the last miles. Still, she finished in the top ten of the 21 finishers.

The ever-favorite marathon, road and trail, is celebrated here on snow. A difficult distance to find, this race was finished by a baker’s dozen of competitors. A perfect tie by David and Jeff Kirkham in 9:26 finished the field.

Brian Beckstead won in almost half that time — 4:41 — leading the entire distance. Craig Sorensen, 21 years older than Beckstead chased him throughout, gaining six minutes in the final few miles, but ran out of distance. Carolyn Sutter, third overall and the first woman over the finish, steadily added distance over fourth place Jeremy Gines at each marker. Robyn Kirkham, second woman, caught and passed Michael Cummings, the oldest finisher at 62, near the 20-mile marker.

The web site has a number of unique features, like the races themselves. On your online entry, Big Foot himself dances away in the corner of the form. Not only is the course map provided, there is a 3-D map at the site reflecting the major climbs, and the comfortable downhill one enjoys at this mile high altitude. Their results also show splits, which is difficult to get at most distance snowshoe events. This fourth year of the Kahtoola Big Foot Snowshoe Festival was a major success in the Wasatch Mountain State Park, Midway, Utah with a complex number of races to manage. If you have already qualified by this race date, use this event to stretch your legs on a distance test.

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HARMONIZING: Keys to Living in the Song of Life
by phillip gary smith


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.