Juvenile girls on the snowshoe starting line
Photo By Dawn Fitzpatrick
There is a wide assortment of experience levels at the snowshoe competitions. Many participants have never been on snowshoes, some have family members that have competed previously while others have years of experience. However, since the snowshoes are the same length, width and weight, there is no equipment advantage when it comes to competitions.
Without equipment advantages, Arctic Winter Games matches often come down to who is the best athlete and not necessarily the person with the most experience on the ‘shoes.
Leah May, a 15-year-old junior with Team Quebec, from Kuujjuaq, Nunuvik, came in second at Monday’s 100 meter sprint. She was unsure how she would do because she is sore, she said. She plays hockey at her school and had no experience prior to the tryouts.
Another competitor, Aisa Surusilak, an 18-year-old from Puvirnituq, Quebec, also with Team Quebec, had never competed on snowshoes either. He is a goalie on his hockey team and is also “sore today but had fun yesterday.” He lost a snowshoe in Monday’s sprint and went from 1st to last in the 100 meter race.
Someone with experience under his belt, Northwest Territories Team’s Jeffery Robert, 17-years-old, placed in the top two in his qualifying events. His family has been competitive and he has raced since he was 15 years old.
Russia Team’s, Tanya Somova, had “help from Team Alaska with how to put the snowshoes on so they stay tied,” said coach, Grigof Khangeldier, from Yamal. Tanya is 16-years-old and has no previous experience but trained by running.
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