In some years, the snow flies for the Swift Skedaddle Snowshoe Adventure Race, making racers look ghostly as they pass through the flurries.
Last year, the Silverthorne race - which for several years has been a qualifying race for the U.S. Snowshoe Association National Championships - was held in much-needed snowfall, as racers pounded their peds over flakes that didn't come close to covering the grasses underneath.
Given the spell of dry weather hovering over Summit County lately, it's hard to believe this year's race should again be snowy. Again, it's much-needed, though luckily for race organizers and contestants, not as badly as last year.
"Compared to last year, the course is 100 percent better. ... Last year, we had some exposed areas still," said Caleb Kehrwald, general manager of The Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks.
The course starts at the clubhouse, where racers begin at 10:30 a.m. They head from there toward the north end of the golf property and exit onto national forest land, winding through the forest a bit before making their way through the Three Peaks development. Racers then descend onto the fairway of Hole 9.
"The finish looks really cool," Kehrwald said.
It's also tough, as racers face more than 680 feet of elevation gain across a mostly singletrack course.
Snowshoers can opt for the 5k shorter course, with 10k racers mostly being those wanting to contend for national championship berth. That field is typically less than 15 percent of total racers, Kehrwald said.
"There is going to be a wide range of skill levels that will be here," the golf course manager said, adding that those seeking slots will "have tennis shoes strapped to snowshoes and they will run the course."
Others will be out for the exercise, camaraderie and to get familiar with a growing sport.
"There are people who look forward to it year after year. They think, 'I did it last year, I'm going to prove I'm in as good of shape if not better shape than last year,'" Kehrwald said.
Kehrwald, who has been helping with the race for four years, said 144 people were registered as of Tuesday afternoon, with the field maxing out at 150.
"I've watched how the numbers have grown over the past few years," Kehrwald said. "From an exposure standpoint for the Nordic trail and for the golf course, it's beneficial. I think the word is starting to spread about the Nordic center here at the golf course. ... We're seeing more traffic through our parking lot of people coming to use the trails."
For more information, call the Silverthorne Recreation Center at (970) 262-7370.
Jan. 19 - Colorado State Snowshoe Championships/Pedal Power Snowshoe Adventure Series at Tennessee Pass
Jan. 26 - Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival in Midway, Utah
Feb. 3 - Beaver Creek Snowshoe Series at Beaver Creek
Feb. 9 - Powerbar Big Easy Snowshoe Race/Colorado High School Championship in Frisco
Feb. 9 - Winter Warrior Snowshoe Race in Durango
Get more information on races, find contact information and more online at www.snowshoeracing.com.