No Excuse Now to Miss Syracuse USSSA Nationals

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles are the key to make the USA’s most important snowshoe race of the year: The 2010 USSSA National Championships, headquartered at the Skyline Lodge, Highland County Park, New York, promises to be the best ever.

With this race so close and easy to access from the Northeast, and the popularity of snowshoeing from some of these most populated states in the country, entries are going to be at record levels. “This will truly be a special year,” said Mark Elmore, Sports Director of the USSSA. “With nine previous years under our belts, this tenth Championship will showcase our growth as a sport to a wider audience.”

More media attention is coming to our sport in National Publications; keep your eyes open, as we get closer to the big date. I think you’ll start noting coverage early in February. By the time Championship Race and the weekend of festivities arrive, interest should be at blizzard levels.

In addition, there are still plenty of qualifying opportunities remaining on the schedule, but don’t tarry: the magic number is down to less than ten.

Look at some of the easy day-driving distances from points West and South:
(photo: motorhome might be an option or a fast car, above)

Detroit, MI: take the International Route through Canada, 428 miles to the starting line.

Snowshoe, Virginia: Yes, Virginia, there is a Snowshoe Virginia: 351 miles to the start.

Chicago, Ill: 700 miles, get up early so you can make the Friday course preview.

A little more planning required:

A boatload of interest is being expressed in carpooling to the Nationals. It works for the nearer distances and is particularly recommended for the distance drivers like:

Eau Claire, WI: Site of one of the two new 2010 Qualifiers: Lots of interest: 1022 miles
Carpool, share driving duties, leave Thursday night by 6:00 p.m., and be there at the starting line at Friday noon for the course preview. Attend the festivities Friday night, retire early, get a good rest, and be ready for the Saturday Start at 9:00 a.m. for the Junior Championships.

Boulder, CO: Adam Chase could load up the van and bring boxes of his new book the 1708 miles to the start line near Fabulous Fabius, NY. It is a near straight shot on all Interstate roads, switch drivers, stay fresh, and see America.

A better option would be to do a Priceline air/hotel/car option for $450 and change. Leave Thursday, arrive Syracuse refreshed, ready to rock, stay for the banquet Saturday night, wear the new medals, fly home Sunday. All for about the price of gas to drive. Ship luggage and boxes via Fed Ex Ground or UPS.

Leaving on a Thursday, even for cities like Minneapolis, St. Paul is necessary option for some because the cheap flights don’t arrive Syracuse until an unsightly hour, making it early Saturday if you left Friday. (Photo is of US Air’s ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ plane, now for sale. Some water damage is reported.)

Choosing Thursday allows you to use the Priceline bid option and perhaps save enough money to race with a new pair of snowshoes. Again, check out Rochester.

Fairbanks, AK: Our medal winners in Alaska are always thinking about the Nationals.
It’s pricey to get out of the state to New York, but these are creative travelers with one of the most interesting Qualifiers on the schedule. (p.s. Greyhound isn’t an option in Alaska, maybe there are other ground options….)

Hate to fly? Check the Greyhound schedules for some amazingly inexpensive fares.

$162 round trip from Minneapolis. If you live in San Francisco and qualify at John Stauffer’s Donner Summit Auburn Snowshoe Challenge, consider this:
Greyhound to Syracuse and back, 3000 miles. How much do you guess it costs?
Can-you-believe $230? However, you’ll have to book before the 14th schedule for the race because there is a 21-day purchase requirement for that price.

Amtrak is also an alternative. How about this idea for the Mt. Hood Snowshoe racers qualifying this next weekend (along with Qualifiers at Jazz Trax, CA and the Big Foot Boogie, MI): Amtrak from Oregon to Rochester, NY, round trip, $367 . . . sell those extra pairs of snowshoes, pay for the ticket. Now it takes a while, 68 hours, for the train to get there (90 miles from Syracuse), but imagine how adventuresome this could be.

There should be a large International contingent representing the snowshoers of Quebec and Ontario travelling to Syracuse. Yes, there are those pesky border things to deal with, but how much closer can you ask for? Montreal to Syracuse is only 250 miles away. Toronto is like a kissing cousin, they’re so close. So bring your raquettes to the championnat and join the fun!

Just don’t forget this: You’ll never forget racing and experiencing the Tenth USSSA National Championship.

Check out all of the National Championship details at


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