New Mexico’s high desert country hasn’t seen this much snow in years.
El Niño wasn’t an official participant at last weekend’s Santa Fe Snowshoe Classic, but signs of him were everywhere during the January 10 race. “The course was beautiful,” says overall winner Logan Ott, who lives and trains in nearby Los Alamos, New Mexico. “The track was slightly more sluggish than otherwise due to deep deposits of fresh snow, but the cold temperature and crystalline environment were particularly invigorating.”
Although dedicated volunteers had established the course by trekking through deep powder, runners still had a tough time on the 3.8-mile course, which is located at 10,000 feet just a few miles from Ski Santa Fe. “Hadji Corona [second-place finisher] set a conservative pace at first, and I thankfully followed his footprints for the first two-thirds of the race,” Ott explained. “On the way back I elected to return the favor by leading the remainder of the course.” Corona’s time of 40:52 was about nine minutes slower than his time in 2015, which shows just how tough the snow conditions were this year.
The women’s race played out much the same way, with Los Alamos’s Erica Baron leading until the very end. “I think the biggest excitement of the race was the near photo finish between Erica and Amber Dagel,” says Race Director Kris Peterson. “Amber passed Erica for the win in the last few yards of the race to win by three seconds in a time of 41:23.”
A total of 31 men and 40 women raced. Ott and Baron received gift certificates to local sporting goods store The Running Hub, and age group winners were awarded race-logoed pint glasses. All participants received fleece hats with the race name embroidered on the front.
“I would certainly recommend the snowshoe race to others,” says Ott, thanking the Santa Fe Striders for hosting the event. “With limited snowshoe races in our region, the race is a prime venue for avid snow adventure junkies to socialize and engage in friendly competition.”