This past weekend we spent Saturday afternoon helping the Catamount Ultra Events crew at the Salomon Snowcross Relays which were held on the beautiful trails of the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT. Snowcross is a unique combination of nordic skiing and trail running that’s popular in Europe, but doesn’t exist here in the U.S… Yet! Being a relatively new event format, we really weren’t sure what to expect.
Now, the official title for the event is “Salomon Snowcross Relays”, and you might assume that as a relay you’d be required to compete with a partner. But… You’d be wrong. Individuals were welcome to compete on their own, and a more appropriate title might be “Snowcross Duathlon” or just “Snowcross”.
This particular event had two length options… 5K and 10K. The 5K included a 2.5K ski followed by a 2.5K run. The 10K consisted of a 5K ski and run. That might not sound like much, but you have to remember that these events are intended to be accessible to all types of competitors and fitness levels. Also, you’re not out here to dawdle. You’re racing! If you go all out for 2.5K on skis and then hammer out another 2.5k on loose snowy trails you’re going to feel it. Also, you probably know what your 5K target race pace is. But, how does that change when you ski the first half? Skiing not only ads to the technical and physical challenge, but also test’s your pacing strategy.
Also of note… For the nordic skiing leg you could choose to classic or skate, but they weren’t separate categories. From an organizational perspective this makes a lot of sense. Allowing both disciplines opens the event up to more people. But, having separate categories for teams and individuals further divided by nordic discipline, distance, and gender would cause the awards to get out of control pretty quickly.
When it was all said and done we were actually pretty bummed we chose to volunteer as opposed to strapping on some skis and shoes and getting after it. It was a fun unique event on beautiful trails organized by great people. What more could you ask for!
It sounds like Salomon is hoping snowcross events will start to catch on here in the U.S. They held a similar event last year at the Sleepy Hollow Inn Ski & Bike Center, and this year there will be another snowcross event organized by Trail Manners at the Ogden Nordic Center in Liberty, UT on February 24th. We could see these events being successful as a winter-long series that visited a number or regional nordic centers, or maybe as a weekly evening series at a single location. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how things develop over the next few seasons and whether this event format can catch on here in the U.S.
You can learn more about the upcoming snowcross race in UT HERE.
Train Smart. Run Well. Do Good.