White River Sno-Park is approximately 45 minutes from Sandy. I left Sandy at 9:00am and got to the snow park approximately 10-15 minutes before the start of the race. Being a newbie to the sport of snowshoeing I packed everything I thought I might need for the race. I had multiple layers of clothes, insulated snow pants, jackets, arm warmers, hats, gloves, sunglasses, etc. I decided to ask people walking around the park that seemed experienced what to expect so I could adequately dress for the event. I was told that it gets pretty hot once you start racing and decided to wear leggings under my running pants with just a long sleeve t-shirt and a hat. I ended up getting very warm and wished I had not worn the leggings and just worn a short sleeve shirt instead.
I got a lesson from the friendly people there on how to put on my snowshoes and walked around for a couple minutes to test them out. The boots were not as flexible as I would have liked and after looking around at the other participants and what they were wearing I think next time I will just strap my tennis shoes into the snowshoes and skip the boots. At 10:00 a horn blew and the race begun. The 4k and 8k races started at the same time, along the same course. The first mile or so was a gradual uphill along the gorgeous White River Canyon. The weight of the boots and snowshoes and the slight incline made this mile very exhausting. We turned and climbed up a little hill which lead us into a forested area of the course. This beautiful section of course had a couple small inclines but was relatively downhill for the remainder of the course. At one point, the course took us on a section
that overlooked the racers on their second lap along the edge of the canyon. At approximately 2 miles into the course I approached a “temptation station”, which offered racers cups of beer. I fell for the temptation and had a glass of beer before heading to the end of the course.
The course offered two different distances, a 4k and an 8k. The 8k was simply two laps along the same course, directed by arrows and a volunteer just before the finish line leading the 8k runners around the course a second time. I had a little mental struggle at this point, but resisted the temptation to quit early and did the second loop. The slight incline along the White River Canyon seemed far more challenging the second time around. Once into the tree area I regained my confidence and finished strong. Sadly, the temptation station was gone the second time around but I keep on chugging and finished the 8k race.
After finishing, I headed over to the table where the check-in was and grabbed a beer. The finish area was very laid-back, with just a couple cases of Coors Light for racers to grab, coolers full of water, and a couple of bowls of pretzels and animal crackers free for the taking. I grabbed a beer and watched the awards ceremony. They gave out prizes for overall winners and winners in different age groups. It was a little hard to hear but I’m pretty sure they also gave out awards for the person who reached the
beer station first and to the person that traveled the furthest to go to the event. Newbies also got a x-dog dog tag for participating in the event.
Overall, I highly enjoyed this race. The scenery was one of the prettiest I have seen, the people were friendly and helpful, and the atmosphere was very fun. I was nervous at first but ended up enjoying the sport of snowshoeing. I plan to participate in this event again next year.
Justin Miller of Lake Oswego, OR – 19:53
Eric Dolezal of Vancouver, Wash – 20:35
Sarrah Hadiji of Annadale, VA – 26:07
Nick Scalfone – 38:15
Kevin Cooper of Beaveron, OR – 40:34
Mike Blackmore of Euguen, OR – 40:50
Full results are posted here.