SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. – The snowshoe elite are coming to the Adirondacks.
Substantial snowfall in the Adirondacks over the past three weeks has enabled many winter sports enthusiasts to immerse themselves in recreational “crafts” such as snowshoeing.
That is boding well for the World Snowshoe Championships, to be held in Saranac Lake February 24-26. It’s the first time the event has been held in the United States. The world competition has made previous stops in Japan, Sweden, Italy, Canada and in various locations throughout Europe.
“Snowshoeing has a long history in the U.S., and we are excited to host the World Snowshoe Championships here for the first time, in what promises to be the largest and most international field of athletes,” said Monika Owczarek, President of the World Snowshoe Federation. “We are all enthusiastic about the snow conditions which will provide an exceptional course for the competition.”
Race organizers are reporting a record field of athletes currently numbering nearly 300 in the World Championship and Junior World Championship divisions. They currently represent 21 states and 11 nations.
“A year has elapsed, and the various committees that have been working to pull off this major event have been doing their part, on a weekly or near weekly basis in preparation,” said Jim Tucker, Race Director. “I am so impressed in the work that has gone on behind the scenes, and from what I can see, no stone has been left unturned.”
A deep base at Dewey Mountain, where much of the action in 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) and five-kilometer (3.1 miles) distances will be held, awaits the competitors. Racing is set for Saturday, February 25, starting at the Harrietstown Town Hall at 11 AM, concluding at Riverside Park.
Adults will race the longer distances in age groups at 11 AM, while the Junior World Championships will use the shorter layout at 12:30 PM.
There is also a more social aspect to the world championship weekend, coming in the form of the five-kilometer Shoe-Be-Do at 1:15 PM. This is a perfect opportunity for families, couples and individuals to walk the race course without the clock running. Area youth, through 12th grade, may join the fun free of charge.
This excursion, in and out of the woods, comes with food and beverage stations. Stop along the way, catch your breath, have a snack and a drink, and then resume the walk in the company of family and friends.
Organizers recommend pre-registration for Shoe-Be-Do entrants, but day-of sign-ups are available. Please log on to: www.2017worldsnowshoechampionships.com
For those with the time, Tucker and crew could use some extra feet to help prepare a section of the race course from the village of Saranac Lake water main, uphill to the water tower.
“We have planned various events to involve the entire community with music, a parade, dancing, fireworks, a banquet, and the arts,” continued Tucker. “We want to showcase Saranac Lake and our warm hospitality in hopes that our visitors feel welcomed, and want to return with their families and friends at a later date. Much like the Can-Am Rugby Tournament, the Ironman in Lake Placid, and the Winter Carnival, we want the visitors to enjoy their experiences, leave with happy memories, and aspirations to return.”
Official activities begin Friday, February 24 at 4:00 with the Athletes’ Parade from Bitters & Bones at 65 Broadway, to the town hall for the 5:00 Opening Ceremony in the auditorium.
The evening will end at 6:30 when festivities move to the Dewey Mountain “Ski and Snowshoe Jam” under the lights with skiing, snowshoeing and live music.
For a complete schedule of events, please log on to: http://www.saranaclake.com/files/public/FINAL_Snowshoe_Sched_1.pdf
For more information about the World Snowshoe Federation, please log on to: www.worldsnowshoe.org
Photos courtesy World Snowshoe Federation