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Arctic Winter Games snowshoe trials begin

Posted: December 11, 2013 - 1:04am
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Juneau's Hunter Brown is shown after competing in the 2008 Arctic Winter Games in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, in -34C weather.
Juneau's Hunter Brown is shown after competing in the 2008 Arctic Winter Games in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, in -34C weather.

Arctic Winter Games Snowshoe Coordinator Guy Thibodeau anticipates a modest showing for the first Juneau snowshoe trials at the Mendenhall Lake Campground on Saturday at 10 a.m. Thibodeau is seeking local competitors interested in the 2014 AWG in Fairbanks, March 15-22.

“There will probably be people who have competed before and those who have been contacted,” Thibodeau said. “Getting it out in the paper may have some more show up.”

Juneau-Douglas High School junior Riley Moser is ranked as one of the top competitors in the state and is expected at the trials. Moser has competed at numerous AWG events, winning all his races at the 2012 games.

Thunder Mountain junior Maddie Hall is also highly thought of on the snowshoe circuit, based on her cross-country running feats over past years.

Middle school runner Erin Wallace has also been mentioned as a possible competitor.

“This will just be a kind of practice time trial,” Thibodeau said. “This is the first of at least two. They will be able to go again on a following Saturday if they want to improve their tryout time.”

AWG age restrictions apply for snowshoe athletes. Juniors members must be born 1995 or later, and Juveniles born 1999 or later. Athletes must be a resident of Alaska.

AWG snowshoeing competition consists of four events: long distance, short/middle distance, relay and a combined event consisting of three shorter distances on a track.

A combined total of 20 gold ulus will be awarded for snowshoe events at the AWG in four age/sex classes: junior and juvenile, male and female. A team consists of two athletes in each age/sex class, and two coaches. The Snowshoe Team will be 10 strong, two athletes from each gender and age

group, plus one male coach and one female coach.

Athletes may tryout any day through the deadline of Dec. 31 and must postmark their submissions no later than Jan. 2. Athletes can tryout in their home locations, observed by a witness.

According to the AWG website, if a track is available, the athletes may run either 400m/3200m (400m track) or 440 yard/2 mile (440 yard track). If a track is not available a trail course must be measured by wheel or tape; measurement by snow machine, ATV or automobile is not sufficient.

“Athletes can use any type of snowshoe,” Thibodeau said. “But competition snowshoes are all wood, with leather or natural lampwick bindings. We will have some extra specialty snowshoes at the trials but athletes will be responsible for getting their own AWG gear if chosen for the team.”

Thibodeau said times would be adjusted if non-sanctioned snowshoes, such as metal or aluminum, were used in the trials.

Thibodeau said the trial will consist of a 2-mile race and a 400-meter race.

Athletes are able to use their running shoes to bind into the snowshoes if they do not have mukluks.

“There is a 100 meter also but we use these two distances to see which kids can go,” Thibodeau said.

Final selection and alternates will be announced by Jan. 9.

Teams that regularly participate in snowshoeing include Alaska, Yukon, Alberta North, Northwest Territories, Yamal/Russia and Nunavik/Quebec.

The 2014 AWB snowshoeing events will be held on the trails at Birch Hill Recreation area adjacent to Ft. Wainwright and the Randy Smith Middle School Track.

For more information about AWG snowshoeing contact Guy Thibodeau at 723-8996 or thibodel@gci.net. If you are an athlete interested in another AWG sport go to www.teamalaska.org.

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