Snowshoe Races and Winter Trail Runs in New England

The sport of snowshoe racing has a niche but extremely dedicated following of winter endurance athletes.

It should come as no surprise that the region of New England has one of the most established snowshoe running and racing communities in the world.

Besides a climate that supports winter snowshoeing events, there is also a strong tradition of running and snowshoeing in the region.

New England has even hosted the United States Snowshoe National Championships organized by the United States Snow Shoe Association (USSSA) several times in the past, including most recently in 2018 in Woodford, VT.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the best active snowshoe race series and events held across the New England states of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Person running on snowshoes and kicking up snow behind them.

History of Running and Endurance Events in New England

New England is home to the oldest and most historic marathon in the United States, the Boston Marathon.

The region also hosts several grueling yet scenic road and trail races such as the Mount Washington Road Race in New Hampshire and the Sugarloaf Marathon in Maine.

History of Snowshoeing in New England

There are centuries of traditions of traditional wooden snowshoes developed my Native American tribes, an art form that has been carried on by local craftsmen to this today.

Some of these tribes such as the Penobscot even used snowshoes in athletic competitions and snowshoe races during the early 20th century.

In the modern era, one of the world’s premiere manufacturers of running and racing snowshoes, Dion Snowshoes, is based out of Vermont.

Dion sponsors several snowshoe race series and events throughout North America to promote the sport.

New England Snowshoe Race Series and Events

Finding accurate and timely information about snowshoe racing can be tricky for a few reasons:

  1. Many snowshoe races are small events and don’t actively maintain websites or social media pages, if they exist at all.
  2. Many endurance racing events were temporarily interrupted or permanently stopped being held as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Snowshoe races require particular weather conditions, and many events are cancelled with minimal notice due to poor conditions such as rain or higher temperatures.

However, there are many options to find snowshoe races in the area. Established, recurring race series as well as individual events are available.

Dion WMAC Snowshoe Series

The Dion WMAC Snowshoe Series is hosted by a partnership between the aforementioned Dion Snowshoes and the Western Mass Athletic Club (WMAC).

The typical season for this series runs from December through March and usually features more than 20 races.

While the majority of events are held in the nearby state of New York state, there are some races held in Vermont and Massachusetts.

Winter Wild

Another popular snowshoe race series, albeit with fewer events, is the Winter Wild uphill racing series hosted by the Team Athletes Multisport Partnership (AMP).

This series consists of four events split between Vermont and New Hampshire, primarily at independent ski resorts such as Pats Peak or Magic Mountain.

Other Information about Snowshoe Races

In the past, additional series such as the Granite State Snowshoe Series, New Hampshire Snowshoe Trail Series, or the Dion Nor’Easter Snowshoe Series also offered multiple snowshoe racing events.

It is unclear whether these events will continue to be held.

One of the best sources of up-to-date information is the American Trail Running Association (ATRA) snowshoeing page or race calendar.

It’s also advised to check individual event websites and social media platforms such as Facebook pages, or contacting event directors and coordinators directly.

Vermont Snowshoe Races

Snow Devil Ultra Snowshoe Race – Pittsfield, VT

One of the most grueling snowshoe competitions in the world is the Snow Devil Ultra Snowshoe Race.

The Snow Devil Ultra is usually held across an entire weekend in the middle of February.

This test of endurance actually consists of several different events with distances ranging from a 10K to a 100-miler!

Participants will compete on trails that make up the Green Mountain Trails system.

Get Rec’d – 8k Stratton VT

For a shorter and faster Vermont snowshoe event, the “Get Rec’D” 8K.

This event is a part of the Dion WMAC Snowshoe Series and clocks in at just under 5 miles.

Stratton is also a great place to visit for skiers and snowboarders looking to explore the Green Mountain State – this event is held right between Mt. Snow and Stratton Mountain ski resorts.

Viking Nordic Center – LondonDerry, VT

The Viking Nordic Center has hosted several snowshoe events in the past, including nighttime races and several different distance events as part of the Dion Nor’easter Snowshoe Series.

A nearby event is the “Londonderry at Night” race that is also a part of the Dion WMAC Snowshoe Series.

New Hampshire Snowshoe Races

Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble – North Conway, NH

A classic New Hampshire snowshoe race is the Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble in the heart of the White Mountains.

While the event was cancelled during 2021-2022, the 4 mile race should be returning in 2023.

This run also benefits the Mt. Washington Valley Ski Touring Foundation.

Maine Snowshoe Races

Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Race – Pownal, ME

Hosted by Trail Monster Running, the Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Race is typically held at the end of February.

The organization previously would hold three events per year, including a 3, 4, and 5 mile race. They recently consolidated to a single race per year.

Wildlands Snowshoe Race – East Orland, ME

While the 2022 event was cancelled, another great Maine snowshoe race is the Wildland Snowshoe Race.

Hosted by the Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust, this 5.2 mile race begins and ends at the Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery. 

Moose Dash Snowshoe Race – Rangeley, ME

Rangeley is one of the most picturesque Maine towns, especially in the winter, and one local event growing in popularity over the past decade is the Moose Dash Snowshoe Race.

This race is held at the Rangeley Lakes Trail Center, near Saddleback Mountain.

The longest race is a 5K, but there are several events to choose from for adults and kids – even an untimed event meant purely for fun.

Special Olympics Maine

The Maine chapter of the Special Olympics, Special Olympics Maine, hosts snowshoeing events and competition for adults with disabilities.

In the past, events have been held at University of Maine, Orono, and there are separate Central Maine and Southern Maine competitions.

Massachusetts Snowshoe Races

Mt Tom Snowshoe Scramble – Holyoke MA 

The Mt Tom Snowshoe Scramble is a 5K or 10K event held in Holyoke, MA and features significant elevation gain.

This race is also part of the Dion WMAC Snowshoe Series.

Connecticut and Rhode Island Snowshoe Races

Connecticut and Rhode Island do not receive the same amount of snow as their neighbors to the north, and the lack of consistent snow means that there are fewer opportunities for snowshoeing events.

There are a few competitive snowshoe races offered through the Special Olympics chapters of these states.

Special Olympics Connecticut

Snowshoeing was featured as a sport during the 2022 Special Olympics Connecticut Winter Games, which was held in late February.

The general timeframe for the winter season is between December and March, weather conditions permitting.

Special Olympics Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, training for the Special Olympics snowshoeing season begins in early January at Goddard Park.

The State Winter Games are then held at Yawgoo Valley Ski in late February.

 Snowshoeing events offered are 25M, 50M, 100M, 200M and relays, in addition to Nordic Skiing Events.