Great Year for Competition in North America
For snowshoers in Eastern Canada, the Atlas Mad Trapper Snowshoe Series is back to satisfy racers for another season with the region's oldest, biggest and best snowshoe events. Taking place at the Ark Conference and Outdoor Education Centre located near Wakefield, Que., all events feature a 5km or 10km option, as racers accumulate points in the competitions for the overall series title. New for this year is a 3km option as well. For the 2017 season, there will be three races that will make up the series. Racing will begin on Jan. 7 on a hilly course and Jan. 28 in a night race. The series finale takes place on March 4.
Dion Snowshoes is sponsoring a seven-race series in Eastern Ontario beginning on Jan. 14 at the Frontenac event, before it heads to the Ignite the Night, a night race that takes place on Jan 21. The Brighton Race is up next on Jan. 29, which is followed by the Winter Goose Chase Race on Feb. 4. The Summertown Forest Race is the next event on Feb. 11, followed up by the Ganaraska Forest event on Feb 19. The Series final is the Red Barn Snowshoe Race on March 4.
The World Championships comes to North America to Saranc Lake, N.Y. in the Adirondacks on Feb. 25. This will be the first time that the World Championships will be contested in the U.S. There will be a 5km junior race, while the seniors will do the 10km. Competitors from around the world will be coming to race for the World title.
On March 3, amateurs and elites will gather on the Pentathlon site in historic Quebec City to participate in the WSSF North-american Snowshoe Championships. Catch the spirit and snowshoe under the stars on the historic Plains of Abraham, where racers will compete in either 5km or 10km races.
There is a new O Cup race series in Ontario this year that culminates in O Cup #3, which is the National Championships in Craigleith on Feb. 19 with races in 5km and 10km. O Cup #1 takes place at Fenlon Falls in the Kawarthas on Feb 5. O Cup #2 is at Albion Hills on Feb. 12 and includes fatbike races as well. The final event in the series, O Cup #4, takes place at Hardwood Hills in Orillia on March 5. All events feature both 5km and 10km race distances.
Touted as the world's largest, the Pentathlon des neiges events run from Feb. 24 to March 4, and its Quebec Winter Triathlon continues to be part of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Winter Triathlon World Cup for the second year in a row. Starting off with an ITU 10km sprint on Feb. 26, then the Elite races go off after that. The Elite race is a 25km event that includes 5km snowshoe, 11km speed-skating and 9km cross-country-ski races. There is also a long-distance race as well as a school-challenge race.
The Gatineau Loppet, one of the largest cross-country-ski races in Canada, is also putting on the Quebec Provincial Snowshoe Championships. The event takes place on Feb. 19 and is known as the Barbegazi Challenge. There are two courses of five and 10 kilometres in the Gatineau Park, and the snowshoe races are part of the weekend of cross-country skiing.
Feb. 4 sees the Mammouth Race bringing the Abominable Marathon and Half-marathon snowshoe races to Quebec City. There are also 5km, 10km and 15km races, along with fatbike races and trail-running events as well.
March 11 is the date for the Defi Mammouth Winter Challenge at Parc de la Chute in Montmorency, Que. There will be 5km and 10km races.
Western Canada sees the addition of racing at beautiful Lake Louise, Alta. on March 11. There will be both 5km and 10km races taking place right on Lake Louise. The 5km course is a scenic, flat, packed route across the lake, then back along the shoreline trail. The 10km course offers more of a challenge and veers off and up into the trees on deep snow and packed trail sections with an elevation gain of 295 metres.
There is also the Silver Skate snowshoe races on Feb. 11 in Edmonton. This new event takes place at William Hawrelak Park and will have a 1km fun walk, along with a 5km race.
The U.S. will play host to the Dion National Championships that will be heading to Bend, Ore. for March 24-25. The 17th edition of the United States National Snowshoe Championship program will culminate in the National Snowshoe Championships. For 2017, there will also be the National Marathon Championship at 26.2 miles and the Half-marathon Championships. Other National titles will be challenged over either 5km or 10km distances. Athletes of all ages may qualify for the event by becoming a USSSA member.
Touted as the world's largest, Pentathlon des neiges offers multiple skiing, skating and snowshoeing events, including an internationally-sanctioned world-class winter triathlon.