It is hard to believe that winter is quickly coming and whether you are strapping on snowshoes for the first time or you are a seasoned expert, there is no better way to celebrate the sport than participating in a snowshoe event. Snowshoe events and races happen all over the world, and although they are becoming more popular as the sport is growing rapidly in popularity, it can be tough to find out which events are right for you. Lucky for you, we have rounded up the most unique and awesome snowshoe events in North America. So what are you waiting for? Read on, sign up and share the love of snowshoeing with other!
Blitz Snowshoe Race: Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada
March 5, 2016
This snowshoe race is about having fun and spending time with friends and family. Capped at just 150 participants this themed race is meant to evoke fun in all. There are a ton of prizes to be won, draws and a yearly theme that encourages participants and volunteers to dress up. Families are especially welcome here and a free kids run on the lake is always a huge success. With an offering of both a 5km and 10km run/walk, it doesn’t matter if you have ever been on snowshoes before.
Organizer Christine says “For beginners the 5k run or walk is a great reason to stay fit over the winter season and get active outside even if it is cold! The race is laid back and we do our best to support all racers and make sure they have fun. Not so much about racing, but rather about showing up and doing it!”
Many race participants choose to make this a weekend getaway as Blitz offers a super hotel deal and 15% off food for the weekend. Added bonus: Homemade baking in each swag bag – yum!
Dion Ignite the Night Snowshoe Race, Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, Ontario, Canada
January 9, 2016
This fairly new race promises to be an incredible experience, and with 155 snowshoers expected, it will sell out and be one of the largest races in Ontario. What makes this snowshoe race stand out is the fact that it takes place in an 1860’s setting that features over a million festive lights on the heritage buildings, trees and fences creating a one of a kind magical backdrop.
Gilles Parisien designed the flat course with both beginners and experts in mind, keeping it at a relatively flat 5km loop. The lack of hills means that this race will be fast. There is a 10km event that seasoned snowshoers can sign up for as well. A headlamp is definitely required once you leave the actual village to locate the single track open field flagged course.
The Harvest Barn located on-site will keep racers warm and host the awards ceremonies. Dion Snowshoes will be there with rentals and demos for people to try out.
Snowshoe Raid Adventure Run, Blue Mountain, Ontario, Canada
January 16, 2016
This team based snowshoe event combines racing with navigation as teams have to wind their way through trails, hitting as many checkpoints as they can in three hours. Teams will be using maps and compasses to find their way up and down hills and on and off trails.
Teams are made up of 2 people and categories range from Coed to Family to Juniors to All Male or All Female. Timing chips will be provided for all participants as well as hot food after the race and some serious Fox River race swag, including a pretty sweet pair of socks. There are plenty of prices, draws and rentals to be had.
Where you place, that will be determined with how hard you want to race and how good your navigation skills truly are.
Branch Out Snowshoe Tour, West Bragg Creek, Alberta, Canada
February 28, 2016
Why not raise some money and have an epic snowshoe adventure? With the Branch Out Snowshoe Tour, you can do both. For the second year in a row Branch Out is featuring two awesome snowshoe tours on February 28th. Beginners may want to stick with the 7.5km challenge loop while seasoned snowshoers will love the 12km Epic Loop.
Participants should expect heated tents along the way, great Canadian cuisine, an awesome cheer zone and a pretty amazing after party. Door prizes, sponsors and the chance to raise money for a great cause; what more could you ask for?
Book Across the Bay, Ashland, Wisconsin, USA
February 13, 2016
This night-time event is an exciting 10km event rather than a race. A handful of participants are serious racers but the vast majority are beginners or weekend athletes out for a unique adventure, according to Laurence Wiland, founder of the event. Starting at 6pm around 4,000 participants head out along the frozen Lake Superior from Ashland to Washburn. The entire course is lit with over 1,000 candles in ice luminaries with volunteers at every kilometer marker handing out goodies, playing music and keeping the spirits high. After the race, it is time to party with food, drinks, a live band and plenty of dancing. This is the 20th year for the event and Wiland never expected the event to grow as much as it has. “It was originally meant to be a local event for ourselves, friends and neighbors but has taken on a life of its own”.
Cast-a-Shadow 6-Hour Snowshoe Relay, Chili, New York, USA
February 2, 2016
The Cast a Shadow Snowshoe Race is one of the most unique races on this list, run by Goose Adventure Racing. This six-hour race can be run solo or by a three-person team, and consists of a 2-2.5 mile course of mostly groomed trail. The goal, to complete as many laps as you can in six hours. Because this snowshoe race takes place in the day and night, headlamps are absolutely required. The timing and scoring here depend entirely on whether the ground-hog sees his shadow that morning. If he predicts that there will be six more weeks of winter, count on the race being longer as a racer can leave for their last lap a mere second before the 6 hour mark. On the other hand, if an early spring is predicted than only laps completed before the 6 hour mark will be counted. As Mort Nace of Goose Adventure Racing puts it “Don’t blame us, blame the groundhog”.
Perkinstown Snowshoe Race, Wisconsin, USA
January 16, 2016
This one day winter adventure offers everything for all types of snowshoers. Hundreds of walkers and runners turn out for this epic adventure that takes place at the Winter Sports Area. Races range from three miles to six miles to women’s only to kids; and award medals to the top three in each class.
A heated tent and chalet provide the perfect warming spot and food and refreshments will be for sale. There will be a limited number of snowshoes available to use for those who don’t have their own.
Snowshoers will make their way through the twisting trails of the Chequamegon National Forest, keeping their eyes peeled for the 7 foot mascot, Perky the Porcupine. Make it a “point” to be at this event in 2016.
Norskedalen’s Candlelight Snowshoe Hike, Coon Valley, Wisconsin
February 12, 2016
If you are looking to add a little romance into snowshoeing, this candlelight trek through the Coon Valley is the perfect way to do just so. The trails are lit with candles in mason jars along the entire way, illuminating the path in a beautiful glow. The path is 1.6 miles in length, with some hills but meant for beginners who have never snowshoed before. Don’t worry about bringing your own snowshoes either, they have plenty to rent on-site, just be sure to reserve some ahead of time.
Following the snowshoe trek, guests are encouraged to warm up around the roaring fire with a mug of hot cocoa, as well as to perfect the art of s’more making. The trail is open anytime from 5:30-8:30pm on February 12th and if you are looking for a unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, this would be it.
Northern Vermont Snowshoe Race and Family Snowshoe Festival, Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
February 7, 2015
For 15 years this event at Smugglers’ Notch has been running and invites all levels of snowshoers to come out for a fun-filled day. Smugglers’ has hooked up with TSL Snowshoes to bring participants a number of fun walks/runs and one competitive track.
Families love this event as the 1/2km run/walk that is designed specifically for kids and will get your little ones out there, possibly using snowshoes for the first time. There are a limited number of TSL rentals on-site for those who don’t have them. For the adults who are beginners, there is a 4km run/walk full of all sorts of terrain that offers spectacular views. The competitive 8km race is a qualifier for the US Snowshoe Association National Championship.
Enjoy tasty refreshments, a raffle for a brand new pair of TSL snowshoes and awards for five different age categories. Young and old come together at this annual event in Vermont.
Annual Chocolate Festival, New Hampshire, USA
February 28, 2015
Although this event isn’t only a “snowshoe” only event, it has to be included in this awesome list of events happening around the world. This is for the true chocoholic and its one day a year where you are encouraged to indulge in as much chocolate as you can handle. People come from all over to cross-country ski or snowshoe the trails to enjoy the spectacular scenery, warm hospitality, and great chocolate treats at stops throughout the network, most located along the trails.
Every participant will be outfitted with a Festival Map that businesses will stamp when you visit, thus earning you extra treats if you manage to complete the trail. Think chocolate dipped strawberries, brownie sundaes, cookies and more.
A complimentary shuttle will run the trail throughout the day, picking up snowshoers and transporting them to other destinations. Why not fill your belly with delicious chocolate treats, get some exercise and raise money for a good cause.
Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival, Wasatch Mountain State Park, Utah
January 30, 2016
Seasoned snowshoers looking for the ultimate challenge, this one is for you. It is here where challengers can sign up to compete in the only ultra 50km snowshoe race in the country. That’s right, we said 50km! If that is too much for you, or you never participated in a race before, no need to worry as there are races for everyone here.
Other races are offered in 25km, 10km and 5km distances; perfect for those who don’t quite have the experience for 50km. No need to worry if you don’t have your own snowshoes either as they will be available at the start of each race for you to use.
Warm food awaits visitors after the races and every finisher of the marathon and 50km race will receive a medal!
2016 Twin Cities Snowshoe Shuffle, Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton, MN
February 6, 2015
This awesome snowshoe event also doubles as a fundraiser for a summer youth program in Minnesota and is the largest snowshoe race in the state. With your choice of four courses, it doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or expert; there is something here for you.
Both a 5km and 10km are set up for snowshoe runners and walkers, along with a 5km dog walk and a “fun course” for the kiddos. The 5km dog course is highly popular as it allows racers and dogs to get out and enjoy in a more laid-back environment, along with offering some pretty awesome doggy gear in the race bags.
Participants will get an event t-shirt, a hot chili lunch and a day filled with fun activities! There are a limited amount of snowshoe rentals on-site for those who don’t have their own.