Snowshoe running in the Arctic

Arctic Snowshoe Race

The first Arctic Snowshoe Race was held in Tromsø, Norway, March 2019. 35 snowshoe runners and walkers from 9 countries participated in the 5k and 10k race. The race organizer has set the date for the next race: March 26, 2022. You are welcome to join the event in the Arctic Capital of Norway!

Enjoy this amazing video from Arctic Snowshoe Race 2019.

Midnight Sun Marathon (MSM), best known among runners for its bucket list races Midnight Sun Marathon, Polar Night Halfmarathon and Tromsø Mountain Challenge, is the race organizer for Arctic Snowshoe Race – yet another exotic bucket list race!

In 2018 a test race with 20 participants was held. In 2020 and 2021 the race was cancelled due to Covid-19. In 2022 it’s back on track again.

Growth Potential

MSM expects the sport of snowshoe running to grow in the years to come. In some countries, this sport gathers hundreds and thousands of participants. For inspiration, have a look at the photos and videos available from the World Snowshoe Federation (WSSF):

The 2022 World Snowshoe Championships will be hosted in Caviahue-Copahue, Neuquen, Argentina on September 3, 2022.

In Norway there is a saying that «people are born with skis on their feet». For sure it’s a challenge to convince skiers to become snowshoe runners, but it is probably not among skiers the sport should look for its early adopters in Norway. Runners and walkers are more prone to use snowshoes for really good and somewhat alternative winter workout sessions. It’s no doubt that snowshoe running is good exercise! And running is very popular in Norway.

From the first Arctic Snowshoe Race training session in 2022.

Let’s say the potential for the race is doubling the number of participants every year in the five year period 2023-2027. With 50 participants in 2022, the number of participants in 2027 would be 1,600. That might sound ambitious. Based on experience from the other two big MSM events, it’s a stretch goal but not totally far off. We could probably expect participants from abroad to be in majority, if we not succeed in recruiting more Norwegian snowshoers!

Acknowledged as Sport

In 2020, the Norwegian Athletics Association introduced snowshoeing as a new sports discipline in Norway. Although it is a sport that requires snow to be performed, the sport is accepted as a running discipline. In 2021, a Snowshoe Committee was established under the Norwegian Athletics Association. MSM’s Race Director Nils I. Haetta is Chair of the Snowshoe Committee. Maria Vaseli and Thomas K. Føre are Members. We’ve been working with the mandate for the Committee and the race rules.

A perfect night for snowshoe running in Tromsdalen, Tromsø, Norway. 7.5k together with Maria and Nils, aka #trugeutvalget (the snowshoe committee in Norwegian Athlectics Association).

We are preparing for the next races. We are looking into opportunities for national championships and a series of local events. We are planning and executing training sessions, where new runners can test snowshoes for the session. We are looking into establishing a sports club for snowshoeing, and we are looking for partners and sponsors. We are doing almost everything, with limited resources, and you could argue that it’s not healthy that a handful people are sitting on all sides of the table. But it’s still early, and someone’s gotta do the work :)

See you March 26, 2022?

We hope to see you with snowshoes on in Tromsø, March 26, 2022. This is the startlist. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. Main channel at the moment is info@msm.no, but feel free to reach out on other channels as well.

Short promo video for the test race of Arctic Snowshoe Race in 2018.
Video from snowshoe training sessions in 2020.

Snowshoe Regards,
Thomas

PS! Please note that I am currently having the following roles: Vice Chairman of the Board, Midnight Sun Marathon; Member of Snowshoe Comittee 2021-2023, Norwegian Athletics Association; potentially Co-Founder of Snowshoe Club under Norwegian Athletics Association.

Preparing for Arctic Snowshoe Race 2020

On Saturday 21st of March 2020, the 2nd official Arctic Snowshoe Race takes place just outside the city of Tromsø. In beautiful arctic surrounds, snowshoe racers, runners and walkers from all over the world are invited to participate. We, the Midnight Sun Marathon (MSM) organization, are looking forward to seeing you!

There’s an old saying that Norwegians are born with skis on their feet. Snowshoes are to some extent used in Norway, but there are few, if any, events or races for snowshoe runners or walkers. So don’t expect it to be too crowded in the race course. And don’t be surprised if the share of international participants is high. It tends to be like that in the other events organized by MSM; the Midnight Sun Marathon, the Polar Night Halfmarathon and the Tromsø Mountain Challenge. The attractiveness of Tromsø as a destination, and the really good publicity we receive through our well-known events, make us believe in the opportunities for a new, exotic event in the high north. Snowshoeing gathers lots of people in the US, in Canada, in Japan and in southern part of Europe (the Alps).

We’re slowly building up the Arctic Snowshoe Race event and hope to grow to 1000 participants by the Arctic Snowshoe Race 2024. It means doubling the number of participants every year. We know that’s ambitious, but hey! Let’s try!

We are member of World Snowshoe Federation and in close dialogue with Norges Friidrettsforbund (NFIF), the national association of athletics, to get snowshoeing «up and running» as a sport in Norway.

World Snowshoe Federation (WSSF) is on Facebook. Source: WSSF.

 

If you feel like trying this out, we have weekly training sessions before the race. The training sessions are held on Tuesdays, in Tromsø, and they are announced on MSM’s Facebook page. Here’s a short video from one of the sessions this year:

If you happen to be in Tromsø on a Tuesday evning and want to try, let us know. You can borrow snoeshoes free of charge during the training session.

If you wanna race, go to MSM’s page about the Arctic Snowshoe Race. There you can see a really good video from last year’s event, and read more about the race course to the summit of Rødtinden!

Snow Regards,
Thomas K. Føre