Farmer's Korner will be abuzz with snowshoers participating in the annual snowshoe race Feb. 9 around Summit High School - including Summit High's cross-country runners.
It all begins at 10 a.m. in the high school cafeteria, and true to the race's history of taking many forms during recent years, this year's PowerBar Big Easy 10k makes another transformation. Formerly known as the Love Me Tender Snowshoe Adventure, the focus is now off of Elvis and on to Mardi Gras.
Bring your beads if you will, but mostly, bring your snowshoes, race coordinator Darren Brungardt said.
The 10k is accompanied by a 2k noncompetitive race for those wanting to come out and support Summit's girls' rugby team (all proceeds go to the team - last year's check was around $1,600). No awards are given for the 2k, but since everyone gets a goodie bag, which includes a tech T-shirt, so do the walkers.
A 5k run is designed for high school kids, serving as the Colorado high school snowshoe state championships, with awards for the middle and high school racers.
Then there's the 10k, which acts as a qualifier for the adult national championships in Bend, Ore.
Brungardt said Denver runners make up the majority of racers signed up so far. A few Summit County locals are on board in mixed abilities and levels to take to the course that's mostly flat - no adventurous hills or terrain changes add difficulty, as is the case with several other snowshoe races in Summit County.
The idea, said Brungardt, is to make room for runners to race next to each other in a fun, but competitive community race.
"We're facing off against strong running communities who are coming up here to take us on," he said.
The high school race is another highlight. Registered so far are cross-country runners Liam Meirow, McKenna Ramsay, Emily Pappas, Riley Vargo, Danny Cuadrado and Jessica Horii.
Meirow has his eye on Cheyenne Mountain High School, who brings up a strong team from Colorado Springs.
"They've won the state championship three years in a row," Brungardt said. "They'll bring up a strong team."
He added that the school's running coach views snowshoeing as an ideal way to stay in shape between cross-country and track seasons. It's better to run outside than inside on a tight, stuffy indoor track, Brungardt said.
Also bringing teams are Lakewood High School and Smoky Hills High School in Aurora.
Meirow is looking forward to seeing what Cheyenne Mountain can bring on the snow. He's also looking forward to tackling the race better than he did last year.
"Last year was a great experience for me," he said. "When I did it last year, it was my first time ever being on snowshoes. ... I'm just going for it, going off training for running, not training for snowshoes in particular."
He added that running on snowshoes is like doing the drill "high knees" throughout the race, to make sure your feet clear the snow. Last year, Meirow fell four times - including falling flat on his face, he said, during the final 200-meter sprint.
He and McKenna Ramsay are considering attending the Junior National Championships in Bend, Ore. should they do well in next Saturday's race. Ramsay would be up against Sam Lewis, who has taken the state and junior national titles for three years straight.
"Last year, it was really fun and the course was really hard, but it just made it more fun," Ramsay said of the upcoming race, adding that she has to take into consideration not just the heavier feet involved with carrying snowshoes in a race, but also the varying snow conditions which pose a challenge.