Popular Swift Skedaddle snowshoe race is Saturday | SummitDaily.com

Popular Swift Skedaddle snowshoe race is Saturday

DEVON O'NEILsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Last year's Skedaddle snowshoe race drew athletes from all over the High Country to the Raven at Three Peaks Golf Course. This year's Skedaddle will be held on Saturday and is a regional qualifier for the national championship race in Anchorage, Alaska.

SILVERTHORNE – Long known as one of Summit’s most challenging winter sporting events, the Swift Skedaddle snowshoe race returns to Silverthorne on Saturday with a new tag attached: national qualifier.The Skedaddle, which is put on by four-time North American snowshoe champ and Silverthorne-based adventure athlete Danelle Ballengee, is one of two Rocky Mountain region events that will qualify racers to compete at the national championship race at Anchorage, Alaska, later this winter.The Screamin’ Snowman at Eldora is the other Rocky Mountain qualifier.

This year’s Silverthorne Skedaddle (Ballengee also is putting on a Swift Skedaddle at the Frisco Nordic Center in March) will be similar to those in years past. It starts at 10 a.m. from the Raven at Three Peaks Golf Club clubhouse, and will include a shorter distance run/walk (4K), as well as the 10K national-qualifying race. (The 4K is a national qualifier for junior racers.)The 10K, described by racers in the past as “true snowshoeing,” is Ballengee’s baby. Unlike many snowshoe races, including the national championship, Ballengee’s Skedaddle courses rarely have much groomed terrain aside from a bit at the beginning to get the field properly separated.Instead, the race has become known for its deep snow, its singletrack, and for the way it combines natural beauty and variety within its terrain.Some call it grueling; others call it perfect.

“I don’t know if I can take the blame or the credit for that,” Ballengee said with a chuckle. “To be honest, a lot of it has to do with the terrain that we live in.”As for the “true snowshoeing” reputation, Ballengee said, “These courses where you don’t need snowshoes (because the snow is groomed), that’s not right. I want to maintain the integrity of the race.”In addition to the undulating terrain, a favorite feature at the Silverthorne Skedaddle always has been the culvert at the end of the race, a short underground tunnel that racers must make it through before beginning the final stretch to the finish.

Saturday’s race is open to everyone, and a limited number of free Tubbs demo snowshoes are available on a first-come, first-served basis.Racers may register in advance for $18 at http://www.active.com, or by calling Ballengee at (970) 389-4838. Race-day registration ($22) begins at the Raven clubhouse at 8:30 a.m. All participants get a goodie bag, as well as a T-shirt and postrace refreshments.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at doneil@summitdaily.com.

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