Beaver Creek snowshoe series offers big cash purse
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – Looking to burn off some of those holiday calories? Now is the time to do it with the annual Beaver Creek Adventure Snowshoe Series kicking off on Sunday. The three-part series is not only a great way to get in shape, but for the first time this year, also a chance to win a big cash prize for the top five men and women, cumulative throughout the season, in both the 5K and 10K categories.The $15,000 cash purse – $2,000 to the winner of each category – is the largest in the snowshoeing world. But the event also provides a great opportunity for novices and children to get out there and run around in the snow. The series culminates with the Jeremy Wright North American Snowshoe Championship on March 6. Six-time winner of that race and four-time U.S. national champion Josiah Middaugh, an Eagle-Vail resident, said the series is a lot of fun and something he and his family look forward to every year. “That’s the largest purse that I’ve seen for snowshoeing,” Middaugh said. “When it comes to attracting elite athletes, money talks. I think the purse will definitely bring in a higher level of competition and generate more excitement for the overall series.”He said, while the U.S. National Championship is the most competitive standalone race in the country, Beaver Creek is the most successful series of the last 10 years. Fortunately for Middaugh, the scheduling of the two events is much kinder than last year when he flew across the country to Syracuse, N.Y. for back-to-back, Saturday/Sunday championships, both of which he won. A couple changes for 2011The larger purse isn’t the only change to the series this year. Designed by adventure racing world champion Mike Kloser, the 10K race course will be modeled after the Xterra off-road summer triathlon. They’ve taken the Bachelor Gulch component out of the route, instead opting to drop down over the east face of Strawberry Park and the Elkhorn singletrack, which should make for a really fun, more challenging 10K. “Mike Kloser does a really good job of setting a great course,” Middaugh said. “He has courses that are a good mix of everything. They’ll have groomed sections, singletrack sections, and it really showcases Beaver Creek well because every course is different.”Rod Connolly, owner of Dogma Athetica training center in Edwards, said he’s excited to be partnered up with Highline Sports & Entertainment, the event’s promoter.”The Vail Valley is really trying to position itself as a leader in fitness and health,” Connolly said. “This series has fantastic courses and Beaver Creek is a wonderful destination.”Dogma Athletica is also offering special 5K and 10K training plans to participants in the series for an additional $100. The plan is designed to help people be successful regardless of their starting point, Connolly said. The program will be online with two outdoor, coached snowshoe training sessions each week. “The guided training sessions will be led by professional coaches who lead effective workouts in the most non-intimidating and welcoming manner possible,” he said. “They will build the participants’ fitness, but also be a lot of fun and create some camaraderie in the community.”A family affairDon’t let all the elite athletes and big prize money scare you away. The race is great for families and folks that are new to the sport. The “Kids’ K” is an awesome introduction to snowshoeing for youngsters. “We’ll have the whole family there,” Middaugh said. “That’s what’s great about the series. Beaver Creek does such a great job of putting it on and people like to stick around for the good food afterwards and the great door prizes.”To be eligible for the Dogma Athletica Snowshoe Series Cup prize money, participants must enter all three races of their division. As in years past, awards will be given to the top three finishers in each division at the individual events.A series pass is available for $85 prior to the opener on Sunday. Registration is available online through Saturday or on the day of the first event in Beaver Creek. Single-race pre-registration is available for $30 and closes at 5 p.m. the night prior to each event. Event day registration is also available for $35, and will take place in Beaver Creek starting at 9 a.m. prior to each race. The Kids’ 1K for children 12 years old and younger is free for any child accompanied by a participating parent. Online registration as well as detailed event information is available at http://www.bcsnowshoe.com.