New Routt County snowshoe race series encourages recreation over competition
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Sloth Events is bringing a new, recreational snowshoe race series to Routt County.
The series, which features four snowshoe races in January and February, will welcome 50 participants who will be invited to come out and try a new sport.
“So many of our races in town are competitive. It really prevents the recreational person from wanting to participate,” race director and Steamboat resident Mike Mathisen said. “Because we have fantastic scenery and we are encouraging everybody, that’s why we’ve kept it (registration numbers) low.”
What: Snowshoe Series
When: 10 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 19
Where: Lowdy Simpson Park, Craig
The series begins with a 5-kilometer snowshoe race at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 in Loudy-Simpson Park in Craig. Other race locations will include Fox Curve Loop on Rabbit Ears Pass on Jan. 26, Stagecoach State Park on Feb. 2 and Steamboat Lake on Feb. 9. All race courses are designed for any level.
“We looked for areas that were more recreational-based so more people can participate,” Mathisen said. “We make it a little harder the next week on Rabbit Ears Pass — a 6K — about 4.2 miles.”
Mathison volunteers with Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports and said all races will make accommodations necessary for any adaptive athletes who want to participate. Volunteering with STARS is what inspired him to create an all-inclusive race series.
“I love to snowshoe, and I like to do the long-distance hikes and runs,” Mathisen said. “The main reason I started this, in Craig, (is because) coal mining is starting to take a different turn. We need to start focusing on tourism and other industries, and there’s no better industry than hiking and biking. I have a passion to get people out into the outdoors.”
Entry fees for each race are $25 online and $30 the day of the race. Any money left over will be donated to trail cleanup and STARS.
The races will award ribbons to the top five finishers and a sloth award for the last-place finisher to encourage participants to come back.
So far, the first race in Craig has 10 to 15 people registered.
“We will run regardless of weather or snow conditions,” Mathisen said. “If we run out of snow in Craig, it will be a 5K mud race.”
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