Snowshoeing Growing in Popularity as State Competition Slides into Cedar Falls
There's finally enough snow to join the growing number of Cedar Valley snowshoe enthusiasts, with two snowshoe events this weekend at Hartman Reserve and snowshoe rentals available from local businesses.
Snow has finally descended, warming the hearts of what local businesses say are a growing number of Cedar Valley snowshoe enthusiasts.
"Last year was the first year we couldn’t keep them (snowshoes) in, rentals or sales," Stacey Turilli, manager at the Runner’s Flat, said. "It’s definitely growing."
She and Jonathan Smith, a sales associate at Europa, said they think more people are trying to stay active in the winter and are looking for ways to use local trails throughout the year. Both Hartman Reserve and George Wyth State Park are common snowshoe destinations, they said.
"Last year was my first year," Turilli said. "It's really fun, and it’s great cross training because it uses different muscles than running. It uses muscles similar to biking."
She said new snowshoers shouldn't be intimidated - snowshoeing can be as easy as a normal walk, or it can be a hardcore workout, depending on the snowshoer. Runner's Flat rents snowshoes at $5 a day and Europa rents them at $10 a day.
"For people who are just looking for something to do, with cabin fever, who don't want to be stuck inside all day, it’s kind of nice and calm and something different. It’s just something you’ve got to try," Smith said.
For new snowshoers, the Runner's Flat has put together Snowshoe 101, with tips on what to wear and when to go.
Snowshoers will descend en mass this Saturday at Hartman Reserve Nature Center for the Fifth Iowa Snowshoe State Championships. The Runner's Flat, one of the event's sponsors, expects over 100 people to attend.
The race, also sponsored by Cedar Valley Association for Soft Trails (CVAST) begins at 9 a.m., with a $20 registration fee going to Hartman Reserve and CVAST.
Participants can choose between a 5k race/hike for fun and a more challenging 10k race. Snowshoe rental is included in the $20 race fee, but rentals are on a first come, first serve basis. Same day registration is available starting at 8 a.m. Refreshments will be served after the race, and a prize will be awarded to the top finishing male and female racers.
The 10k race will be part of the 2011-2012 Dion Snowshoes National Snowshoe Championship Qualifying Series, helping to qualify athletes for participation in the 2012 U.S. National Snowshoe Championships in Frisco, CO. Participants must be a USSSA member to qualify.
Organizers said no matter the weather, the race will go on. They also advise that since parking at Hartman Reserve will be limited, participants should arrive early in order to assure they have enough time to get to the starting line.
If you want to try snowshoeing but aren't sure a race is the way to jump into the winter sport, or if you want to warm up your snowshoes before Saturday, Hartman Reserve will also host a Snowshoe Night Hike on Friday.
A family friendly hike, with kids welcome, is at 5 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. adult night hike. A $1 donation is suggested, with snowshoes, hot chocolate and snacks provided. Call (319) 277-1154 to reserve a spot.