Snowshoeing has been a part of winter for hundreds of years. Fur trappers and hunters used snowshoes to navigate over land in search of food, shelter and clothing. It is estimated that over 1.5 million Canadians take part in some form of snowshoe activity during the winter months. Snowshoeing is a really good weight bearing aerobic workout that is easy to learn and relatively safe. Snowshoe running, or even brisk walking, is a good alternative winter training and racing activity for endurance athletes, including runners, cyclists, swimmers and triathletes. Moving through snow on snowshoes is slower than traditional running, but it takes considerably more effort and certainly burns a lot of calories. Besides the training benefits, it is also great to get out in the woods for a good workout. Here at Snowshoe Canada, we are trying move the activity forward from a mostly casual hobby to a sport with organized events, athlete development, officials, coaching, championships and even prize money. The number of events are growing around the world, and every year the participation increases 20 to 30 per cent, so we are making progress in getting this activity recognized as a competitive sport. The world championships will be held in northern Italy in early January with an expected 5,000 participants. Over the last couple of winters we have had some success in getting races off the ground, as well as working with existing races to build up their participation. We will have five sanctioned races in southern Ontario this winter along with two in Quebec and one in B.C. The other great news is the recent signing of Athletics Ontario as a promotional partner. Snowshoeing is being recognized as a winter cross-country running activity which will benefit their endurance athletes. The Canadian championship will be at the Craigleith Ski Club on Family Day weekend. We are expecting a record turnout for the event. In addition to staging races, Snowshoe Canada puts on clinics at schools, clubs and fitness centres. They also provide officials and race director training and elite athlete development. For more information, go to snowshoecanada.ca Dave Robinson is the president of Snowshoe Canada.