Races Of A Lifetime? 2016 Italian World Snowshoe Bookends

All trails lead to Italy! The World Snowshoe Federation (WSSF) announced that the 2016 World Snowshoe Championships race will be held on February 6, 2016 in Vezza d’Oglio. The following weekend, the crown jewel of snowshoe racing, the Ciaspalonga Snowshoe Races, will climb the incline of Pieve di Cadore on February 13, 2016. Two majors, back-to-back, in the villages of Italy sharing their food, love and culture with the globe. A snowshoer needs to get there. But how?

Such a beautiful setting and big climbs, too: Vezza d'Oglio

Such a beautiful setting and big climbs, too: Vezza d’Oglio

Mark Elmore, United States Snowshoe Association Sports Director, says the trip includes racing both events while visiting “some of the most beautiful snowshoe country you will ever experience anywhere.” But, you retort, life gets in the way of my taking this much time to enjoy this much pleasure; I gotta get back. No problem, Superman Elmore to the rescue. “Trip goers will have many options. You can compete at just one event and then fly home if your schedule will not allow you the extended stay.”

Now you can see why Romeo and Juliet could love Verona, Italy, so much.

Now you can see why Romeo and Juliet could love Verona, Italy, so much.

Of course visits to Milan, Verona and Venice, already on the agenda, rank high over drudgery at one’s personal coal mine, but the trick is for snowshoe enthusiasts to participate at some level. Flexibility rules even if you can’t get to the gondolas, canals and romantic ambiance of Venice as TripAdvisor describes. Why do you need Verona, the inspiration for the love story for the ages, Romeo and Juliet, when the local drive-thru works pretty well? Why indeed, you romantic, you.

“I don’t know nothing ’bout Milan, no way” you may think, but think again. We’re winter enthusiasts, we like to cleanup well, looking in the mirror, thinking “I’m looking sharpish.” It just happens that fashionable outfit you are wearing found life in the artsy fashion world of this city, one holding the world’s focus on beauty and luxury.

Always thinking, Elmore is scheming a way to achieve more, possibly even a stop in Innsbruck or Switzerland or Slovenia. You won’t be bored, bored, bored, that’s for sure.

2015's start on the long race at CIASPALONGA

2015’s start on the long race at CIASPALONGA

Besides, the walking and touring wears off the post-race stiffness from the World’s to be ready for the half or full-marathon trek of the Ciaspalonga competitions. Count the week between “the bookend races” as Elmore calls them as necessary recovery. Even a gift to yourself.

The nitty-gritty details approximate (at this juncture) the following:

If you’re in North America plan on departing Sunday, January 31, 2016, via air to stay and relish Milan. Reach Vezza d’Ogio Thursday, race Saturday, rest Sunday. Then venture through Verona for several days, arrive Pieve di Cadore later in the week, perhaps catch an overnight in Slovenia well before the Saturday race. Valentine’s Day in Italy, Sunday, take your love to Mangia la Foglia rated on TripAdvisor as a “great vegetarian restaurant” encompassing a romantic view that looks a little like forever. Visiting Venice and Verona serve as dessert days, inhaling their sultry sweetness before relaxing on a flight to reality.

Winter in Beautiful Venice

Winter in Beautiful Venice

What if I want to go but not compete or have family wanting to share the trip? Mark Elmore welcomes everyone in this final voyage in his roles with the USSSA and WSSF. That in itself exceeds the price of trip. Well, almost, but such confabs remain timeless in hindsight, one that one cannot intentionally miss.

One doesn’t need to commit now, just send an email to Elmore at usssasnowshoeguy @gmail.com indicating an interest. He will send more complete information right away including specific dates and other options. He says, “I can assure you, traveling as a group, especially as part of the USSSA group, will afford you some excellent discounts and event support. I’m working on securing complimentary race entries and perhaps some free or reduced lodging while we are at the race sites.”

Such a unique race and vacation schedule in a few of the most beautiful cities and landscapes on the globe creates a combination that feels irresistible.

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