Popular Winona Tourathon, Stone Wall Ready to Go Live for 2021, Try-It Ski Race Relaunched | Leisure sports
For Matt Westerlund, president of the Winona Forest Recreation Association, the Winona Forest is his playground. And he, along with the entire WFRA, has worked to make it as enjoyable as possible for the public.
The Winona Forest, which stretches from northern Oswego County to southern Jefferson County, is a New York City winter sports paradise like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and fat biking. . And on January 23, its 2021 season kicks off with the Try-It 12.5 km cross-country ski race, which will be followed by the Tourathon – a 12.5 km, 25 km or 50 km ski race – on February 6. will be the Stone Wall snowshoe race, which was held in 5K or 10K, on ââJanuary 24th.
Registration for all of these events is currently open and can be viewed at winonaforest.com
For now, the plan is to hold the events in person, but to cut each individual race down to 50 participants to allow for greater social distancing.
While events like the Tourathon and the 10K Stone Wall race could be quite intensive, races like the Try-It are meant to be family-friendly.
“I think it’s important to get all of our families to do activities, there are a lot of kids who haven’t been exposed to winter activities, so it’s a good time for them to get out,” Paula Yerdon, WFRA Ski Racing Director, mentioned.
This will be the first Try-It race organized by the WFRA since 2013.
âWe have so many miles of trails and we have some amazing grooming teams coming out,â Yerdon said. âWe all have a passion for the forest, we all want to make it the best we can. It really is a place to explore all year round, whether on foot, by bike or on horseback. We have volunteers who work on the trails, we just have a great family of people who work on the trails.
Winona Forest Recreation Association is a non-profit organization and does not receive funding from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Therefore, in order to preserve the land, the Winona Forest Recreation Association relies on the money it makes from its events.
âAnother difference between our race and other snowshoe races, I have access, thanks to the Winona Forest Association, to grooming equipment,â said Westerlund. âWe have utility snowmobiles and what we call single track groomers, which are just narrow groomers for fatbike and snowshoeing. The course that I can create with these machines is all funded by these events. This is how Winona Forest gets its money to be able to do it.
Fortunately for the WFRA, attendance at its events often reaches 100 to 200 people with varying degrees of experience. For Westerlund, that last part is essential, its races are not just for those looking to win. While this type of participant is welcome, those new to winter sports are also encouraged to register.
On the day of the Stone Wall run, the trail is packed with runners, jogging, and walking.
âWe try to accommodate everyone, if you want to walk five kilometers, do it, if you want to run, do it too,â Westerlund said. “We have a bit for everyone.”
This mentality is selfish. For some, the racket is contagious and if someone new to the sport likes it enough, it could grow up around them.
âIt’s a tough sport and when you’re in the middle of it, nobody thinks it’s easy,â Westerlund said. âEspecially people who really challenge themselves. But it’s primitive and it’s basic. Everyone has a circle of people they’re trying to inspire to try this.
This is what Westerlund envisions for its snowshoe marathon, a new series that the WFRA is offering this winter. During the season, participants will have to complete five different courses of varying length and difficulty.
âSo what I really wanted to do is give people the opportunity to see other parts of the forest at their own pace, on their own schedules,â Westerlund said. âKnow and experience other trails. Because a few of the trails are brand new so even if you are someone who knows a bit about Winona Forest probably not with these new trails and they are fantastic.
Westerlund is an avid racquet enthusiast who has been practicing the sport for years. But the events organized by the Winona Forest Recreation Association are not just for competition. It is for people of all ages and experiences to enjoy the Winona Forest.
âIt’s a celebration,â Westerlund said.