Snowshoeing is like walking in the snow, so if you love to walk, chances are you’ll probably love to snowshoe. In fact, a popular saying among snowshoe aficionados is: “If you can walk, you can snowshoe.”
Having the right (Read: warm) gear is key. And what better way to ensure you’ll stay warm than racing. In each case below, you’ll just want to move a little faster than usual. Snowshoe races are a thing, and several good ones are happening over the next couple months.
Whether you’re a newcomer or an expert, here are five of the best snowshoe races to consider this spring:
1. SPRAGUE BROOK SCRAMBLE
Glenwood, New York
February 18, 2018
On the western edge of New York state, you’ll find Sprague Brook Park, a popular spot to cross-country ski throughout the winter. But one day each year, those groomed ski trails are all about snowshoeing. Choose to compete in the 2 1/2-mile or 5-mile distances — or the 1-mile leisure walk — and you’ll be scrambling your way through the snowy park for guts, glory and probably a nice hot chocolate afterward.
2. PEAK SNOW DEVIL RACE
March 3–4, 2018
If you’ve ever wanted to snowshoe 100 miles, you’re in luck. Peak Snow Devil offers multiple distances, including a 100-mile ultra-marathon, a marathon, half-marathon and a 10K. The course itself is a challenging 6.5-mile loop in Vermont’s Green Mountains, with each loop featuring 1,200 feet of elevation change. Regardless of which distance you choose, expect to get winded.
3. NUNATAQ SNOWSHOE CHALLENGE
March 10, 2018
Just northwest of Anchorage, you’ll find Palmer, Alaska. And Palmer is where you’ll find the Nunataq Snowshoe Challenge, an annual race covering 5K and 10K distances. If all that sounds like too much, there’s also a 50-yard dash for cash — which sounds like a fun way to spend about 15 seconds of your day.
READ MORE > 5 SIGNS YOUR WALKING WORKOUT IS TOO EASY
4. U.S. NATIONAL SNOWSHOE CHAMPIONSHIPS
March 10–11, 2018
On this fateful March weekend, the country’s best snowshoe racers descend upon Woodford, Vermont for the 2018 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships, which feature a 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon. So, yes, this is the real deal. But lest you relegate yourself to spectator status, you should know that, in order to compete, athletes must simply be a current member of the U.S. Snowshoe Association. And you can sign up for that, like, right now … online. It’s that easy. So congrats in advance on competing for your first national snowshoe title.
5. SHAMROCK SHUFFLE
March 17, 2018
Taking place in picturesque Vail, Colorado, the Shamrock Shuffle celebrates one of the world’s most underappreciated duos — snowshoeing and St. Patrick’s Day. Don something green, stretch your legs and then start shuffling in either the 5K or 10K race. After you’re done, there’s a lively post-race party at the Vail Golf & Nordic Clubhouse. As Saint Patrick was fond of saying: “Come for the race, stay for the Guinness.”