When you are the largest, oldest, and ‘Fun-est’ snowshoe race in the West, you just get an attitude that is infectious to those who race it and those who wish they could.
X-Dog Events tells it like it is: These “snowshoe events are designed for everyone. If you can walk five miles, you will finish. There will be great competition for the endorphin junkies and great scenery and camaraderie for those looking for a little outdoor adventure. The two events,” an 8 km USSSA National Qualifier and a 4 km USSSA Junior Qualifier, “make up the largest snowshoe race in the Northwest. In 2011, 200 participated.”
“The White River 8 km will begin at the White River West Sno Park. The oldest snowshoe event in the northwest, the course is an adventure through the White River Canyon. The route will leave the park and travel to the end of the canyon and return. The course is a narrow loop.
The White River 4 km also begins at the White River West Sno Park. This smaller version of the 8 km loop will serve as the US Juniors National qualifier. There will be one significant climb on the loop” providing a clue to the observant that the long race probably has a few more of those snow-laden trails to heaven.
“Depending on the weather the courses can range in difficulty,” meaning a snowshoer can wake up with an extra foot or two of accumulation as easy as popping popcorn. “There are no bike paths or pavement on this dandy of a route. Expect wilderness, and the beauty of the Cascades to follow your every step. And, incidentally, you will not have to worry about traffic signals — or traffic. We promise there will be no cars on the course.”
Joseph Gray, Washington, repeated his victorious ways at this wild and epic snowshoe race, racking a 35:35 8 km finish, a minute and a half ahead of Michael Reneau. Chris Sheaffer captured bronze overall by edging David Delmore into fourth by 31 seconds.
Myra Klettke, Lake Oswego repeated her women’s win here, too, at 49:49, sixteenth overall. Also, a special note: she was the oldest woman in the class, too, giving hope to all who do not want to waste youth on the young. Margaret Oscilia stayed under one hour with her silver note at 56:29, just missing 19th overall by four seconds as Robert Knott recorded that spot. Elizabeth Tsao won women’s bronze for third in the group.
Approximately 93 chugged to their finish while 54 did not.
The 4 km race, won by Bryan Smith, lasted 37:02, as he finished over 90 seconds ahead of Jim Minor. Nathalie Gravel, winner of the women’s class and third overall, edged Robyn Baehler by nine seconds. Aaron Wines crossed next for third male overall. Sean Michalios was the only 19 and younger racer, completing the course in 51:35. 84 ‘shoers completed this narrow loop layout, while only three did not complete the course. Special kudos go to Carrie Haas, 49, for her inspired finish at 1:22:14.
Typical of the day was this remark by one racer: “I had a great time, the Sno-park is gorgeous, and the course was varied and fun.” In one sentence, the definition of a great time in the snow at altitude.