Snowshoeing in the deep stuff |

Snowshoeing in the deep stuff

Peter Fain
Running on Snow

I have a love-hate relationship with big snow storms and snowshoe running. I love the difficulty of the workout but hate the fact that I cover such a short amount of distance. Having said that, I am gratified by the end when I push through 4 miles of knee-deep snow. Itand#8217;s not running though, itand#8217;s power hiking at its finest.

When I first started snowshoeing I used to train a lot in Coldstream Canyon. The parking was easy and it worked well for my dogs. Back then Coldstream Adventures Snowmobiling would use Coldstream as the main access point. That access point would allow me to get farther in on snowmobile tracks. Thatand#8217;s not what weand#8217;re talking about.

The loop around Merrills Pond and back to the parking is just about 4 miles. Itand#8217;s relatively safe because the terrain has easy access, minimal hills and the route is easy to identify. Itand#8217;s peaceful and quiet. When Merrills Pond freezes in early winter before the snow, you may run into ice hockey players on the shallow end. For now, while the snow is deep, like this weekend is stacking up to be, youand#8217;re in for an adventure.

Getting out in the deep stuff is different from a groomed run. Both require aerobic capacity, but deep snow requires a lot more strength. What to do? Letand#8217;s assume the snow is a lighter than usual. If so youand#8217;ll be able to move quickly. Donand#8217;t run, you max out too quickly. Your steps will feel fluid and the front of your snowshoe wonand#8217;t even breach the top snow layer. This is the easy deep. Get in when you can, it builds confidence.

What is normal is what we all know as and#8220;Sierra cement.and#8221; When you dive into these conditions, plan on getting sweaty and tired. You will have to lift your shoe out of the snow and plant cleanly in front of yourself.

Think high knees. A visual cue my track coach taught me was the invisible string connected from my knee to my elbow. The bigger arm drive will give you a bigger leg drive and#8212; key in deep snow. I like to think of a big powerful march, with 80 percent effort. You pull this off, youand#8217;ll be one of the strongest runners around when the snow melts.

Last but not least, as with all sports, running in snow requires efficient and consistent form. When you get lazy with your form, you will work harder for each step. Be efficient. Think about technique before speed.

and#8212; Peter Fain is a Truckee resident and 2009 National Snowshoe Champion. He may be contacted at

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