Snowshoeing The Great ‘Ski’ Race |

Snowshoeing The Great ‘Ski’ Race

Greyson Howard / Sun File PhotoAuthor Peter Fain of Truckee watches people cross the finish line of The Great Ski Race from the Cottonwood Restaurant last year. This yearand#8217;s race, a fundraiser for Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team, is scheduled for Sunday, March 6.

I’ve heard it before: “It’s a ski race not a snowshoe race.” And they’re right. But this fun event is also a fundraiser for Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue. They snowshoe, don’t they? And your donated registration funds are just as needed, so I say take on the challenge.

Eighteen miles in snowshoes may seem daunting, but it’s not. Unless you have other snowshoe runners out there you intend on racing, I suggest you get the thought of racing out of your head.

I get caught up in the race and charge hard all the way to the top of the climb only to be passed later on the downhill. It’s inevitable. So let the course, the elements and the run be challenge enough.

Since you’ve already been toying with the idea and now you’re committed, here are some crucial points to finishing this race:

• Your average trail marathon time should be a good indicator as to how long it will take, or three to three and a half hours to be safe (four to six if you’re going to walk the whole time).

• Carry plenty of fuel. There are only two stops on the course. You’ll need a lot more than that to finish feeling good.

• Dress accordingly. It’s going to be a wet one this year so make sure you have layers. It may not be a bad idea to carry extra layers that you can change into once you soak through.

• Do not snowshoe in the middle of the groomer. Skiers don’t like very much. Besides, the sweet spot is immediately to the inside of the striding lane. You’ll be stepping where the striders pole, and you’ll be out of the skaters’ way.

• Run the flats and downhills, and power hike up. If you’re feeling good, run up.

That’s really it. Like I’ve said before, if you are a runner, you are a snowshoe runner. Good luck, be safe and enjoy the party that The Great Ski race brings.

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

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