On Sunday, January 18th I ventured to Mount Hood to participate in the White River Snowshoe race for the second year in a row. The race, which is put on by X-Dog Events, has a 4k and 8k option; of which I participated in the 4k.
I met up with six other people from my running group in Vancouver and we carpooled to the start of the race. On the way to Mount Hood we stopped at Otto’s ski shop in Sandy to pick up a parking pass that is needed to park at White River Snow Park. As we got closer to the snow park I noticed that there wasn’t much snow on the ground, but luckily there was just enough snow needed to go snow shoeing.
Last year it took me forever to figure out what to wear to the race. This year, however, I was ready. I wore regular running clothes, running shoes, a hat and gloves. The only thing I would have done differently was to wear a long sleeve shirt as my arms did get a little cold. The running shoes were much better and more comfortable than the boots I wore last year.
We got there about 20 minutes before the start of the race, which was just enough time to use the restrooms and test out the snowshoes before the race. This year they started the 4k and the 8k races at different times, the 4k started first with the 8k starting shortly after that. I started with the rest of the 4k runners and we headed northwest along the White River Canyon. This section of the course was wide and allowed for multiple racers to line up next to each other along the course.
The course took us approximately three-quarters of a mile along the canyon before turning and heading into the forest. The turnoff to the forest was a steep incline. This was a little challenging, but once at the top of the hill we got a beautiful view of the canyon. I took a little break there for some group photos before continuing with the race.
Once in the forest, the path got narrower and only allowed for a single file line of racers and you had to step out of the path to allow for the faster runners to pass by. My group had a lot of fun during this section of the course and we threw far more snowballs than we could count. There was a section of the course that was a pretty steep decline. When we got there the racers were sliding on their butts down the hill so we followed suit. I took off with speed and hit a rock going down. Yowch! I got quite the bruise from that on my rear.
One part of the race I was looking forward too was the temptation station that was set up last year which included beer that was passed out mid-course. This year, however it wasn’t there(sad!), but there was beer at the finish line. Once we passed the finish line my group headed over to the race tents for some free hot soup and “hopwater” before we headed out. The group went to Mount Hood Brewery (editors note: Awesome place!!) for some lunch before traveling back to Vancouver.
This is one of the most fun races I have participated in. I really enjoy snowshoeing and find that doing it in a group setting is a great way to stay active during the winter.