Snowshoeing for a cause

By Emily Cutts

KILLINGTON — On a windy and rainy Sunday morning, rain boots and a warm jacket might have been a better option than shorts and T-shirt, but that didn’t stop Sam Fogg of Rutland from running a snowshoe 5K in clothes made for warmer weather.

Despite the weather, the Killington Boot Camp Snowshoe 5K fundraiser for Killington Search and Rescue drew almost 30 participants and brought in more than $1,000.

The race, held at Base Camp Outfitters at Mountain Meadows Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe, had snowshoers make two loops of the course.

A large group of search and rescue team members were at the race and spread out along the course. Before the morning race began, the team used the opportunity to do some training.

“Every time people get together, it’s a good training opportunity,” said Killington Fire Chief Gary Roth.

Roth said the search and rescue team was started about three years ago.

“For the last roughly seven years, the cases of lost skiers in the woods and people lost on the Long Trail have more than doubled,” Roth said. “It put a tremendous strain on the fire department.”

Roth said the department had a need not only for those physically trained to go into the backcountry, but also those trained to find lost people.

The team receives funding through the town budget, according to Roth.

Roth said private fundraising allows the team to reach outside their budget and purchase unanticipated necessities or receive additional training.

The fastest runner, Fogg, completed the race in just under 21 minutes. Before the race, Fogg said the snowshoe race was new for him, as he is typically a runner. While Fogg was the only participant brave enough to ditch his jacket and coat, the others were in high spirits, joking about the less-than-ideal conditions.

Matt and Trish Kingsbauer, of Rutland, and their children Griffin and Madison, said they came to the race to support the search and rescue team. Matt Kingsbauer joked he was there to enjoy the weather.

“I’m going to be running just to keep warm,” he said.

Before the race, Griffin said it was the first time in a while he had been snowshoeing but would likely be running the race just to get out of the rain.

Toward the end of the race, participants had to deal with even more.

“A tree even came down at the end,” said Beth Roberts, Killington Boot Camp founder and race organizer. “It was pretty extreme.”