Grouse Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run

Posted: February 7, 2016 in Race Reports
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Grouse SnowshoeGrind

When Debra asked me if I wanted to join her to do the Grouse Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run, I was hesitant. I mean, a snowshoe race? But then she reminded me that it would make a great blog post, so I readily obliged!

***SPECIAL THANKS to Debra for all of her awesome photos – many of which are included in this post!***

There are three kinds of people:

  1. Those who run the Grouse Grind regularly
  2. Those who run the Grouse Grind once
  3. Everyone else

The Grouse Grind is a three-kilometer hike from the base of Grouse Mountain with an elevation gain of 853 metres (2,800 feet). However, the Grouse Grind is closed for the winter. The SNOWSHOE GRIND is an entirely different thing!

In the days leading up to the run, I got a bit nervous. I’ve gone snowshoeing a few times, though not in recent years, and I’ve certainly never raced in them. I got some sage advice about how to dress from Christina (don’t worry…we ALL get sweaty), and felt fairly well prepared by the night before.

FullSizeRender IMG_2397

After a fitful sleep, brought on by more anxiousness about this race than I even had before my first marathon, I groggily got myself ready for a 7:15am pickup by Debra. Light traffic, and after a brief detour we were at the base of Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver for bib pickup.

FullSizeRender (1) Grouse Snowshoe Grind

We crammed onto the tram with dozens of skiers and snowboarders of all sizes and ages, and arrived in plenty of time to relax over a coffee and strategize about how to tackle the unknowns of a snowshoe race.

Grouse Snowshoe Grind Grouse Snowshoe Grind

Have you ever snowshoed? It’s not like running on the roads. You need to have a wider stance, and you tend to leap/shuffle forward. There are spiky things on the bottom to help you grip the snow. And we were going to need it…

Grouse Snowshoe Grind Grouse Snowshoe Grind

Once we were kitted out, we scanned the competition (“The one in the short sleeves is going to win…”) and got ourselves pumped up:

And a few minutes later about 120 ‘runners’ headed out onto the snowy trails.

Grouse Snowshoe Grind Grouse Snowshoe Grind

For the first few minutes the trail was a gradual upward slope. I ran a little bit, walked a little bit – felt that my pace was pretty decent. I passed a few other snowshoers.

Then things got steep.

Grouse Snowshoe Grind

This is why we call it a GRIND

For nearly a kilometre, the grade of the trail was between 22% and 30%. This quickly reduced me to walking trudging at a lightning slow pace.

Grouse Snowshoe Grind

Elevation profile

Took a couple of stops along the way.

Grouse Snowshoe Grind Grouse Snowshoe Grind

Taking a look back (and waaaaay down):

Grouse Snowshoe Grind

Finally, two kilometres in, we reach the top of Dam Mountain – the summit is at 1,318 metres elevation (we started just shy of 1,100 metres or about 3,600 feet). The scenery was breathtaking.

Grouse Snowshoe Grind Grouse Snowshoe Grind

On my way up, I had been passed by several a whole bunch of lead runners who were bombing down the trail. I tend to be pretty cautious going downhill, and at first I was kind of tip-toeing, and letting others pass me. Finally, though, I got the hang of things and picked up some speed. I passed Debra & Grace on the way by.

Grouse Snowshoe Grind Grouse Snowshoe Grind

Grouse Snowshoe Grind Grouse Snowshoe Grind

See how my jacket is tied around my waist in that last photo? Well, about 5 minutes later it fell down around my ankles and I nearly took a header. Thankfully, I pulled it together and stayed upright.

And then it was over. I was very thankful for a banana and a sports drink.

Grouse Snowshoe Grind

I made sure to stay to cheer both Grace and Debra across the Finish Line!

Grouse Snowshoe Grind Grouse Snowshoe Grind

Feasted on bagels and cream cheese, coffee and cookies, but failed to win any door prizes this time around.

Absolutely knackered after this short but gruelling race. Would I do it again? Now that I know what to expect…absolutely!

Have you ever been on snowshoes? How about running a snowshoe race?

Weekly Wrap

Sharing this race report via the Weekly Wrap LinkUp hosted by HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin – stop by and read stories from other inspiring bloggers!

  1. Ima Mosier says:

    Sounds like a great race. Not a lot of snow shoe races on the schedule in Texas but if I ever get a chance to do one I am totally in.

    I am surprised you passed on all of the Dam mountain jokes. I think you could have had a field day with it.

    I’m glad you didn’t take a header when your jacket slipped.

    • bjcjapan says:

      So glad to hear from you! No, I guess there wouldn’t be a ton of snowshoeing in Texas…but if you ever get a chance!
      I probably should have given in to the Dam Mountain…I sometimes think I’m just not that funny. Thanks for coming by!
      bjcjapan recently posted…Grouse Snowshoe Grind Mountain RunMy Profile

  2. Emily Gercke says:

    Love Debra’s dance! Glad the race was a success. I have snowshoed the snowshoe grind but never raced it. Was anyone sliding on their bum on the way down? That’s my favorite descent method!

    • bjcjapan says:

      I had to ask Debra if I could post her dance…it totally made my day! You could argue that I didn’t ‘race’ the grind either…I walked a good chunk of it. The path was pretty icy, so I didn’t see anyone sliding (but it’s entirely possibly someone did…)
      bjcjapan recently posted…Grouse Snowshoe Grind Mountain RunMy Profile

  3. Pam says:

    Wow, that race looks so challenging. I have never tried snowshoeing, but my sister who lives in Jackson Hole, WY absolutely loves it.
    Pam recently posted…Weekly Workout Roundup: Feb 8thMy Profile

  4. Sharon says:

    Sounds like a fun race! I’ve snowshoed and it takes getting used to. It’s fun and a great way to get out in the deep snow. Great job on your run!

  5. This is so awesome and something I would love to try! Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…It has been one heck of a week!My Profile

  6. Oh wow this race looks so intimidating. I would be scared to death. Course I am from Mississippi an we do not know how to act in snow but less this amount. What a great recap. An funny you were shucking clothes as you got warmed up. That was some kind of elevation too!!!
    Tricia@MissSippipiddlin recently posted…Weekly Wrap #27 Super Bowl SundayMy Profile

    • bjcjapan says:

      Haha – it’s actually good I didn’t know the elevation profile BEFORE the race! It kind of just snuck up on me and there I was, going straight up! And I was so chilly at the start, it was hilarious how hot I was when i reached the peak!
      bjcjapan recently posted…Grouse Snowshoe Grind Mountain RunMy Profile

  7. Allison says:

    How fun and such beautiful wintery scenery! I sure wish I lived somewhere I could participate in a snowshoe race as well, but so glad I get to live vicariously through reading about your experience!

  8. Kim Hatting says:

    This looks fun! I love challenges such as this…it looks like’s more about stamina than speed (?). I have never snow-shoe’d before…..I’d like to give it a try 😉
    Kim Hatting recently posted…An unexpected Triumph!My Profile