Grouse Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run 2019

grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019

Now that I finally own my own snowshoes, it was time to run the Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run once again! As a Grouse Mountain Local Pass holder, I got a discount on race entry – and had the chance to run with my friends Sam and Harrison. This sort of thing is always better with people you know! And despite a grumpy start, we ended up having a fantastic time!

Package Pickup and Gondola

It seemed like a good idea at the time: beat the rush on race morning, and grab my package on Friday night: zip up to Grouse, pop into Guest Services and be on my way. Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Arrived early evening, and the place was rammed. The lineup at Guest Services was out the door and there were only three staff members managing the crowd.

After about 20 minutes, the line hadn’t budged. We gave up and went out for dinner instead.

Race morning, arrived more than two hours before race start. It was cold, but they had a table set up outside for bib pickup. With frigid fingers, we completed the waiver – I still don’t understand why it can’t be completed online – and had our bibs within minutes.

grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019

Then the wait. Snowshoe Grind Mountain Run participants get no preferential treatment when it comes to gondola boarding, so you’re lined up with all other passholders. It took us an hour in the sub-zero temperatures before we go on. I had worn just trail shoes for the race and my feet were like ice.

grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019

Fortunately, because we had planned ahead and knew what to expect, we had arrived with plenty of time to spare.

grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019
View of the lineup for the gondola – once we got on the gondola

On the Mountain

It was brilliantly sunny day on the mountain. We strapped on our snowshoes and gathered at the start line with about 100 other runners. It was cold. There was a brisk wind. We did a few warmups and then the race was on!

grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019
Strapping them on!

I know this route well. I’ve done the race twice before and I’ve completed the Dam Mountain loop a couple of times on my own. But this time, the snow was especially deep. During the first few hundred metres, I felt a chilling cold on the back of my calves, despite the fact that I was wearing tights. It was all the fresh powder coating my legs! Was I ready for this today?

About a kilometre into the race, the Snowshoe Grind gets really steep. I wasn’t running anymore, I was trudging uphill. Sam and Harrison had long since left me in their wake. So I ended up right behind a woman doing her first snowshoe race. I couldn’t see her face, but we chatted happily as we climbed.

While I was still heading up, the lead runner came sprinting down. Fast. How is that kind of speed even possible? It was still a couple of minutes before the second runner came by.

The final ascent to the peak of Dam Mountain is intense, but the view from the top makes it worthwhile. Despite the fact that I was in the midst of a race, I asked another snowshoer (not a racer!) to take my photo.

grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019

The views were epic. Of all the times I’ve been on Grouse, I’ve never seen such clear skies and mountains for days. I was so glad to be here!

Then we headed down the Showshoe Grind. And when I say down, I mean down. It’s so steep. But because of all the fresh powder, I didn’t have the same fear of falling that I have had other times. And when I’m not as scared – when I have the confidence to just run – I don’t psych myself out…and don’t fall!

The guy just ahead of me was in shorts. Shorts! It was not warm out there, but he didn’t care. He was whooping and hollering and having the time of his life. I was grinning from his sheer exuberance and enjoyment. And on it went.

Whenever we encountered other snowshoers, whether or not they were race participants, they were courteous and supportive. They moved aside to let us by. It was so positive and fun. At one of the final downhill bits, I totally bit it and ended up sliding down on my bum. It didn’t matter!

At the final stretch, there’s a tedious uphill climb before reaching the finish line. I admit it – I walked. I was tired. But when the end was in sight, I gave it a wee kick and run as best I could to cheers from my friends!

grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019
grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019

The woman I had been trailing behind for the whole race? I finally got to see her face! Her name is Wingfield, and she told me that she was turning 50 this year…and wanted to do 50 things she’d never done before. The snowshoe race was one of them! Yay!

grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019

After Party

Once we were no longer running, it was cold – we got ourselves inside right away. But not before getting a free bag of Elevation Gain coffee beans for our efforts!

grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019

Back in the chalet, the after party got started. There was a nice spread of bagels, cream cheese, fruit, yogurt, cookies and – most importantly – coffee!

grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019

We stuck around for awards, since both Sam and our friend Daichan had come first in their respective age groups. Congratulations!

grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019
grouse snowshoe grind mountain run 2019

And with that, another Snowshoe Race in the bag!

My conclusions: Hey Grouse Mountain – figure out your staffing numbers and gondola wait times, and we’re good.

Final Results

Chip Time: 52:46
Overall Place: 34/77
Place in Gender: 23/40
Place is Age Group (40-49): 5/8
Click here for full results

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