Hallockville Pond Orchard Snowshoe Race

We made the drive north to Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest in Hawley, Massachusetts today. Debbie ran the Hallockville Pond Orchard Snowshoe Race. It was our first trip to Dubuque, and it was Debbie’s first snowshoe race in a long time. I don’t think she ran one in 2009, so it had been more than two years. She picked a good one to get back into the snowshoe groove. All of our shoes are broken, so she took advantage of the Dion Snowshoes loaner program. Bob Dion has been a long time friend and he is one of the forces behind the WMAC/Dion Snowshoe Racing Series. Ed Alibozek was the Race Director today and he has been making this series happen for many years.

The course was shaped like a lollipop. The road section (the stick) was fast and packed down from the snowmobiles that use the forest. The orchard section had some deeper snow, but overall, the course was really fast. We were concerned about snow depths on the drive up. In Northampton, there wasn’t any snow. It wasn’t until we headed west on Route 9 and made our way into the Berkshire foothills did we finally see enough white stuff to have a race. We didn’t see too much of Dubuque, but it was a pretty spot. We had nice sunshine with a cool breeze and a temperature in the high 20’s Fahrenheit.

Jim Johnson blazed the 3.5 mile course in 22:24. That is running fast for snowshoes. Second place was Tim Van Orden and third place was Ross Krause. The women’s winner was Amy Lane in a fine 28:14. Second place was Ashley Krause, and third place was Jacque Schiffer. Debbie was fourth, but happy to just be playing in the snow. I hung out at the finish line with Ed and shot photos of the first finishers. Other notable finishers were: fellow Shenipsit Strider, John Agosto, in sixth; old cycling friend, Todd Holland, in 21st; and teammate Arthur Roti, in 34th. There were 82 finishers. The series has been getting a lot of attention this year.

Strong participation has always been a hallmark of the WMAC/Dion series, but this year the National Snowshoe Championships are in New York, so a lot of Northeast runners are training hard.

The post race lunch was fun. Everyone hung out and enjoyed the chili, soup, and snacks. This aspect of snowshoe racing makes standing around in the cold worth it! I’m not sure if Debbie is going to get another race in this winter, but she will try. She picked up a new pair of Dion Snowshoes since her first generation pair is out of commission. The new shoes are lighter and stronger. Dion has a great design for running on New England trails.

Race Results

Race Photos

Coda: After a family lunch in Northampton at our favorite restaurant, Paul & Elizabeth’s, Debbie returned the favor by taking the kids home while I rode from NoHo back to Bolton. It was my toughest bike ride of this early season and I nearly didn’t make it. It took over four hours and ended in total darkness. My feet were frozen, but it was worth it. I need the miles. My GPS captured the route and the pain.

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