Thanks to Emily Lord for these photos of our 2018 Moose Mountains RunAround!

Getting out in the snow is great for the entire family — that was the takeaway message from our 4th annual Moose Mountains RunAround snowshoe race and new Kids Snowshoe Shuffle last Saturday morning, at Abenaki Ski Area in Wolfeboro. More than 50 snowshoe racers, kids, family members and volunteers came out to compete in the race, have fun in the kids’ activity, or help out with this fundraiser benefitting our new ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ program.

The snowshoe race was a 4-mile hilly two loop course, traversing a combination of scenic ski trails and single track with moderate elevation change. The winning times were had by Brandon Newbould at 29 minutes, 35 seconds and Sarah Canney at 34 minutes, 58 seconds. Education Coordinator Kari Lygren reported feedback from racers who liked the route because it was both beautiful and challenging, adding, “Thanks to Abenaki Ski Area for welcoming us to their wonderful venue and kudos to Board member Dan Coons, our Race Director who designed the excellent course.”

The Kids Snowshoe Shuffle was a non-competitive obstacle course that involved climbing over hay bales, pulling a sled carrying a toy moose, ducking under ski pole arches, stepping through a hula hoop, and carefully carrying a spoonful of ‘moose poop’ (Jr. Mints) around a circle of traffic cones. Any candy they didn’t spill, they got to eat. Board member Lorrie Drake, who helped plan the event and then helped out as a volunteer commented, “Several kids had so much fun, they did it twice!”

For Brandon Newbould, who was also the top finisher in 2017, the combination of a snowshoe race and family event was a deciding factor in coming back this year. And he’s glad he did, remarking afterwards, “I really like to snowshoe race but only when the conditions are right. This race was a lot of fun, a great course, great venue, just terrific!” Newbould added, “I’m a big outdoors guy; I grew up hunting, I’ve been teaching my kids outdoor skills since they were little, and wetlands and wilderness conservation is important to me, so I’m really a kindred spirit with folks at MMRG.”

After a second place finish among female racers in 2017, Sarah Canney returned this year to gain the top spot. Like Newbould, she brought her whole family and thought that the kids’ activity was a ‘fantastic addition.’  She reported that her three kids, ages 2, 5, and 8, all took part and really enjoyed it. “They liked climbing on the hay bales and thought it was hilarious that they got to eat ‘moose poop’ candies.” Canney was also enthusiastic about our new ‘MOOSE-ies for Families’ program of nature activities for members, and said ‘the Bonfire Storytime was great’, referring to the kickoff event her family attended last fall. The next MOOSE-ies for Families event is ‘Little Trackers’ on Sunday, February 24; click here for more information.

We are grateful to all the volunteers who made this fundraiser both fun and successful. Activities like the Moose Mountains RunAround and Kids Snowshoe Shuffle take advantage of the excellent opportunities for winter play and sports in this region. Preserving opportunities for outdoor recreation through conserving open space is an important part of our mission as a land trust and educational outreach organization.

Big thanks to Wolfeboro Oil, the business sponsor of this event; thanks also to Huck’s Hoagies, Made on Earth and Nordic Skier, which donated food and prizes; and to Tuftonboro Library which provided kids’ loaner snowshoes.