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Don't Slip! Wear Winter Traction!

Different winter activities, including but not limited to, hiking, running, and even walking, require different equipment. Making sure you have the appropriate traction is an important step to staying safe outside in the winter.

It can be overwhelming with all the options out there - luckily, I’m here to guide you in the right direction!

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5 Tips for Socially Distanced Hiking. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

As we get into fall hiking weather and the amount of people getting on the trail increases, it's important that we still follow the Vermont Department of Health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We all need to play our part in maintaining a 6 foot distance from others and wearing a mask if you cannot do so - even when you are outside.

Navigating 6 feet socially distanced guidelines on a narrow trail can be a challenge, but with a little practice, patience and following these tips, I hope to help ease your anxiety and encourage you to get out. These tips can easily be applied to other activities, too such as running, biking, and winter sports, too.

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Comments | Posted in Expert Tips Running Hiking By Michelle Peters

Skirack's Brendan trail running along Camel's Hump peak. Photo Credit: Liam John.

 One of the most common questions I get as a shoe sales associate is what are the differences between road shoes and trail shoes? The subsequent question is usually: how do I decide which shoe works best for me? Here is a general guide for how to navigate those questions and the sometimes -overwhelming selections on a shoe wall.

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Molly rounding a berm at NEMBAfest on the Kingdom Trails this past June. Photo: Zach Walbridge.

I am a skier by nature and for me, so many of the skills from ski racing transfer over to mountain biking. The thrill, the adrenaline, the adventure are what I live for! Growing up ski racing in Vermont has honed in my sense of adventure and need for speed. It has shaped me as an athlete and a person. I never realized how many facets of my life were so heavily influenced by ski racing. The ability to push myself out of my comfort zone, beyond my limits, nerves raging is a part of the exhilaration I crave.

I have always loved biking. I started riding when I was at least 2 years old. Adventure is ingrained in my core. There’s a huge difference between cruising around, road biking casually, to riding a century ride. To me, none of these even comes close to the thrill of whizzing through the woods with nature all around. The Green Mountains are just that, full of amazing greenery, wildflowers, streams and rivers. Mountain biking serves as a way to exert yourself in ways you didn’t think were possible, gaining momentum on berms, boosting off of jumps and flying through the trees, bike underfoot.

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Allison runs through the woods at Hunger Mountain during a training run, in preparation for the Race To The Top Of Vermont on August 25. Photo: Zach Walbridge.

Sometimes the sports we love end up putting us in situations of discomfort. There are days where we are crazy enough to go skiing in below zero temperatures; or days when you force yourself to run in 90°F, 100% humidity, because the clock is counting down on that race you signed up for. Can anything ease the torture of the crazy things we do to ourselves? Of course! Get the gear that will aid to your comfort.

When it comes to running, I've always been a bit of a wimp. I don’t like running in the rain, wind, or cold. It takes me a least a mile before I get into my groove. If my tongue sticks to the top of my dry mouth, I want to thrash into a temper tantrum. Something as simple as a hair tie that won’t hold can ruin a whole run.

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Comments | Posted in News Events Expert Tips Running By Allison Kozar

Allison reaches the top of Hunger Mountain on a training run; she is preparing for the Race To The Top Of Vermont on August 25 in Stowe, Vermont. Photo: Zach Walbridge.

Am I really running this again? The phrase I’ve asked myself for the past three years before committing to my favorite mountain race, and during the entirety of training. I don’t consider myself a serious runner; I feared running the mile as a gymnastic requirement, and never expected it would be an activity I would seek out in adulthood. After a great winter of fitting ski boots at Skirack, I found my passion for selling gear. Since I’m not a biker, I brought my feet fitting skills to the run department.

I learned quickly that you can’t relate to the person of whom you’re fitting shoes without going through similar experiences. So, with the encouragement of my co-workers, I dipped my toe into the running pool. Before I knew it I was signing up for 5k races, and then ran my first 10k - the furthest distance I had ever gone before. My personal accomplishments were empowering, but I found myself becoming bored with road running.

Like many runners, I lack the motivation to train unless I’m signed up for a race, and I wanted to do something different. That’s I when I discovered a 4.3 mile uphill race with a 2,500ft elevation gain: The Race To The Top Of Vermont. The run ( which you can also bike or hike) is straight up the Toll Road on Mount Mansfield, located in Stowe, Vermont. This popular annual event is organized by the Catamount Trail Association and is in its 11th year.

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Comments | Posted in News Events Expert Tips Running By Allison Kozar

Catamount Ultra 25K: Race Day

Jun 27, 2019 4:56:00 PM

Skirack's Chloe Egan makes her way to the Catamount Ultra 25K finish line on June 22. Photo: Ironwood Adventure Works.

Well it’s Wednesday morning and I can go down stairs quickly again. The Catamount Ultra 25K (part of the Salomon Running Festival) was unlike anything I have ever done and proved to be just as difficult as I suspected. All in all I’m really glad I did it. Thinking back, the race exists in my brain as a series of four segments in which my running style got progressively wilder and slower.

The weather was near perfect last Saturday (June 22) at the start and I stood shivering next to my Skirack colleague Sara Falconer, feeling excited and ready to go. My legs felt surprisingly fresh and it seemed like my bizarre combination of post Vermont City Marathon rest, low-milage and hill training had done the trick. This actually proved true; at no point in the race did I feel under trained in a general fitness sense, although I did feel vastly under trained when it came to this type of race. Basically, I felt fit but slow if that makes any sense.

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Skirack's Chloe (front), Brittany (middle), and Sara (back) scramble up a steep hill, while on a training trail run at Lone Rock Point in Burlington, VT. They are preparing to race in the Catamount Ultra 25K/50K on June 22. Photo: Zach Walbridge.

I’m less than two weeks away from racing the Catamount Ultra 25Kon June 22 and this trail running business is still a mystery. I feel like I’ve been working on individual elements but I haven’t put the pieces together. I think I have endurance built up from my Vermont City Marathon half training, but it’s been a bit of a weird transition going from recovery back into 25K trail training in early June.

I know I can run 15.5 miles, but I have never ever run such a long distance on this kind of terrain. My coworker Brittany Beland, who will be racing the 50k - double my distance, has previewed the Trapp Family Lodge course and confirmed my suspicions. The first 6 miles of this course will likely be the most difficult kind of racing I have ever done. It’s going to be steep and slow.

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Mountain Dew

Jun 3, 2019 4:56:41 PM

Skirack's Brittany (front), Chloe (center), and Sara (back) on a training run at Lone Rock Point in Burlington, VT. They are preparing to race in the Catamount Ultra 25K/50K on June 22. Photo: Zach Walbridge.

Trail running. The simultaneously more intense and more laid back version of road running. Back country running. I have to admit I don’t know a lot about the culture and sport, but I have my first Vermont summer in a while stretching out in front of me and I’m ready to dive in.

When I think of trail running, I remember reading Born to Run, a paperback I purchased from the downtown Borders and read during an angst-ridden senior year of high school. I recall a passage describing this phenom ultra runner’s favorite mid-race refuel. I read that she would pause to ingest a Mountain Dew along with a slice of pizza and my head exploded. I was afraid to eat mayonnaise on a sandwich six hours before my heat of the 800m at the Burlington Invite. Trail runners had to be a different breed.

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How I Became a Full Time Race Director for Ironwood Adventure Works

My name is Will Robens. I am the founder of Ironwood Adventure Works, organizer of challenging adventure trail races in the Northeast. Our races to date include the Frost Town Trail Fest in the Finger lakes of NY, Black River Beatdown hosted by Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Smuggler’s Mountain Race, Trapp Mountain Marathon, 24 hours of the Northeast Kingdom at the Northwoods Stewardship Center, Paine Mountain Race in Northfield, and last but not least the Catamount Ultra hosted by Trapp Family Lodge.

Catamount Ultra was our first and flagship event, created in 2014. That year, I had some free time as a stay-at-home dad and trail running became more of a presence in my life and a healthy outlet for me. For most people, trail running is a pretty attainable sport; all you need is trails and a decent pair of shoes! I was surprised that there wasn’t already a long distance trail race going on in the immediate area. As a lifelong runner and in more recent years, an avid ultra-runner, Catamount Ultra was created out of personal desire to have a great trail ultra-race in my own backyard. For some reason, at the time it didn’t occur to me that I wouldn’t actually get to run this super fun race!

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Comments | Posted in News Running By Will Robens
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