“If you can walk you can snowshoe” has become a household phrase. According to Adam Campbell of the 5 Peaks Winter Adventure Series, The Yeti is well worth a try for beginners. I was inspired to meet up with Adam to learn the ins and outs of snowrunning from a seasoned participant and pro-athlete to find out what first time Yeti race participants can expect.
Since snowshoeing for most people is a recreational and leisurely activity, how can an outdoor enthusiasts challenge themselves enough to try snowshoe racing? Commit. Check The Yeti Race Schedule, choose a mountain and register. The first race is January 26 at Mount Washington, with subsequent races at Whistler Olympic Park March 2, Scenic Caves, Blue Mountain in Ontario February 2 and then Edmonton March 9.
With the first race in the series quickly approaching, Campbell highly recommends “getting out on your snowshoes as much as possible. For those who don’t live where you can get out and go, doing some trail running and biking are a great idea. Snowshoe racing can also be great training for your primary sport if you’re a trail runner, mountain biker or road runner.”
Each race in the series offers both a sport (5 to 6k) and enduro (10k) course. Nice to know that all race courses are semi-packed, stomped out, marked and have a gradual elevation which Adam describes as “undulating.” It’s easier for all levels to pick up the clip and snow-run when you’re not trudging through knee-deep snow.
For seasoned race pros, Adam shares his knowledge and reminds athletes that there is indeed strategy involved. Just like when bike racers hold back, snowshoe racers should let a leader break the trail in order to cut a good pace and win. It is a race after all.
For first timer racers wondering how to gear up, Adam reminds us that your heart rate will elevate, so don’t overdress. Tights and a baselayer are a sure bet. A vest is a good choice for added warmth when you are chilled from the kick back from the snow spray off your heels. Here’s an important tip on foot-wear, unless of course you plan to walk. Do not use your wide, heavy, general-use backcountry snowshoes for racing. Go with a lighter race or run model and wear runners not boots. The cheapest option is to try before you buy. MEC offers performance rentals at $15 a day or $70 for a week.
I like that the concept of The Yeti or the abominable snowman because it embraces the great white north and brands the series with a dash of stereotypical snow fun. Adam assures interested participants that fun is the name of the game and nothing quite compares to the rush of the gun shot at the start line. Yeti race participants can look forward to a family-friendly snowshoe race event complete with a kid-friendly 1k, a great après-race party and a fun festival vibe.
See you at the start line. Register HERE now.