Monday, January 18, 2010

Dion Frontenac Snowshoe Race - Course/snow conditions

(Jan 17/10): Trail/snow conditions were good to excellent for snowshoe running on Sunday in anticipation of the Dion Frontenac Snowshoe Race next Saturday.

The snow was soft in places, but there is still so much snow in the park that it wasn't a problem. There were a few sections that had exposed rocks, roots and mud, but they were easy to avoid. Sara, EJ and I all ran the course which helped to pack it down further from where hikers (without snowshoes) had chewed up the trail a little. Sara even wore her Dion Deep Cleats (for deep snow conditions) on her snowshoes and had no problem with hitting ground.

0-2km: Excellent snow conditions. Deep snow on the wide trail. Well packed down and quite smooth.

2-4.5km: Fair to good snow conditions. This is the most technical part of the course that includes negotiating around a few rocks, roots and tree stumps. Snow is melted off of a few of the wooden bridges, but just take it easy going across and you'll be fine. The softer snow conditions over this section of the Corridor trail is now in much better shape after the 3 of us ran over it to pack it down.

4.5-5.4km: Excellent snow conditions. This section is packed down very well. The long bridge past the Big Salmon Lake boat launch still has snow on it too. This is the fastest section of the course and you'll be able to fly, even with some good rolling hills.

5.4km-7.3km: Same as first 2km, excellent snow conditions. After everyone has packed this down further at the start of the race, this section will be in exceptional shape for the final sprint to the finish.

There is always a lot more snow in the park than what is in Kingston or surrounding areas. We've had a lot of people contact us who are concerned about the conditions for the race, but we would have to get a huge melt for there to be a problem considering how good the base is right now. Worst case scenario if a big melt did occur is that we would still be running a snowshoe race, but exclude the Corridor Trail section.

The temperatures are dropping below 0C each night, and some flurries are in the forecast this week, so conditions should remain good or even improve. I expect to be running the course again later in the week and will post further updates if conditions change.

See you on race day!



  1. Looking good.

    You just need to get a good pot of Veggie Chili for after. Mike does it for the ARK :)

    See you Saturday.

  2. Nope! Not one pot of Veggie Chili, but two!

  3. Oh wow, snowshoeing is hardwork and there was plenty enough snow on them there hills for me. Hey David,
    Tell Kim there is a wicked fun hill at about the 4km mark she should have fun blasting down.

  4. Ah Chili after a SS race, perfect. Should we bring our own cups/bowls/spoons?

    So which cleats do you recommend?

    Weather is looking perfect.

  5. Absolutely. Just don't bring too big of a bowl;) We're providing cups for the chili.

    RE: cleats... Sara used the Deep cleats on the weekend when it was mild and the trail was soft. EJ used Standard cleats and I wore ice cleats. If the ground freezes up and we don't get much new snow, I'd definitely say Ice Cleat or Standard Cleat would be best.

  6. What are the Ice Cleats?

    I think I'll switch to the standard for my lunch run and see how they are.

    Mmmmmm BIG Bowls of Chili. :)

  7. The 'standard cleat' and 'deep cleat' are lightweight teflon coated alluminum alloy. Both are very lightweight. Teflon coating helps prevent snow and ice from sticking and are ideal for soft snow conditions.

    'Ice cleats' are stainless steel and excellent for hard, rocky or icy trails. Great for early/late season and are more durable for less than ideal snow conditions.

    The length of the ice cleat is about halfway between the standard and deep cleat, although they are not quite as light.

    I've been testing them out the past few months and really like them. Just started stocking them in my most recent shipment. I was surprised that I haven't noticed any snow/ice buildup on them either compared to when Sara has been wearing deeps or standards.

    Ice cleat photo:

  8. Will you have them for sale on Saturday? How much?

  9. I will have some there, but not actively selling them. Probably be kind of busy.

    The price is good at $52.00 less 10% for race participants (plus PST, but no GST). I am bringing what people pre-order though.

  10. So I guess I will have to pre-order :)