By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury
UPPER SALFORD >> With above average temperatures and limited flurries this winter; people in need of a snow fix should attend the annual Pennsylvania Snowshoe Race.
The adventurous winter competition will be held at the Spring Mountain Ski Area on Jan. 30. In a snowshoe race; runners attach a device that resembles a racket to the bottom of their shoes which helps them navigate the ground better. Runners will use the specialized shoes to race in either a 2.5K or 5K route around the snow covered mountain. The course distance will be longer if there is the added benefit of natural snow.
“There’s a good chance we may be able to use the 5K route. It’s a tossup,” said race director Ed Myers.
Myers said this has been an unusual winter and he wants to see the area covered in snow in time for the competition.
“We’re hoping for natural snow. We’re due,” he said. “I haven’t seen a winter like this in the time that I’ve been alive which is 65 years.”
The annual race was held at Spring Mountain Adventures last year as well and natural snowfall made it possible for about 30 people to race on a 5K course. Athletes came from several states to participate in including New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland.
“It’s a challenge … It’s something different,” Myers said.
The 2015 competition was a qualifier for the U.S. National Snowshoe Championships which was held in Wisconsin. The 2016 nationals will be in Utah. Unlike last year, people don’t have to participate in a qualifier race for nationals. Participants just have to be a member of the U.S. Snowshoe Association, Myers said. Myers said he believes two people from last year’s race went on to nationals and hopes more people will do so again this year.
Myers said he’s been working closely with the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board to promote the snowshoe race and he expects at least 50 registrants. The snowshoe race on Jan. 30 is open to everybody including beginners. Snowshoe rentals will be available for $5 but there is a limited supply so reservations are recommended. Bob Dion, founder of DION Snowshoes in Vermont is providing the loaners.
“His shoe is probably one of the best out there,” Myers said adding the Dion will also be participating in the race that morning.
Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the competition starts at 8 a.m. The fee is $25 and $30 the day of the event. After the race; there will be refreshments, an awards ceremony and a raffle.
The ski area address is 757 Spring Mountain Road, Spring Mount. Lodging is available at the resort. For more information about the 11th Annual Pennsylvania Snowshoe Race and to register, visit www.springmountainadventures.com.