If you've been itching to try snowshoes, you're in luck. Gazette writer Deb Acord, who loves to 'shoe, will be out this weekend testing a couple of styles for a story to appear in next Friday's Out There section. And there are a handful of clinics coming up where you can try shoes at no, or minimal, cost.
++ The third annual Grand Lake Snowshoe Festival will feature a 7K race, celebrity snowshoe races, children’s races and a technique tour led by snowshoe racer Tom Sobal. Events start today at the Hospitality Haus in Grand Lake and continue through Monday. The competitive race starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, and there's a 7K fun run starting at 9:35 a.m. Warm up with some chili 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The cele race starts at 1 p.m., and the kids events at 2 p.m. The technique tour also begins at 2, and there's a seminar with Ryan Gray on mountain climbing in Turkey at 3. At 4 p.m. there's a seminar with Earl Clark and Richard Over on the 10th Mountain Division and World War II. There's an awards ceremony at 5 p.m., and a concert and dance at 7.
Stay over, or get up there Sunday for an 11 a.m. seminar with Stacy Fowler on fitness, and another snowshoe technique tour with Tom Sobal at noon - or catch the U.S. Forest Service film on “American Wilderness, American Values.” From 1 to 3:30 p.m. there's an antique snowshoe tour and sleigh rides at Winding River Resort.
On Monday there are snowshoe tours at Grand Lake Touuring Center.
++ On Jan. 20 head to Winter Fest at Rocky Mountain National Park. You can try snowshoeing, or attend a clinic on avalanche awareness, backcountry skiing or winter camping. Visit REI for details.
++ If you'll be busy skiing 'til later in the month, plan to attend a "Snowshoe Essentials" clinic at our local REI at 7 p.m. Jan. 25. Staffers will help you choose the right gear, teach basic techniques, and talk about great local trails. The local store is at 1376 E. Woodmen Road.
++ Want to take the kiddies on the trail? REI in Denver will hold a clinic, "Snowshoeing with your Baby or Toddler," at 7 p.m. Jan. 22. The Denver store is at 1416 Platte St.