Big Bear Lake, CA — For the first two rounds of Snowshoe the Bear, the local snowshoeing event launched by Equada Outfitters and Team Sole in 2008, the clouds parted and racers enjoyed fresh snow under sunny skies. Not so for this, the third annual Snowshoe the Bear, which launched from the Village of Big Bear Lake on Saturday, February 6—it was a wet morning and though there was plenty of snow coverage on the street at the starting line thanks to the City’s Public Works crews, conditions were a bit more arduous for the over 200 participants in the 5K and 10K snowshoe races. However, Saturday’s storm provided some snow during the race, at higher elevations where the course ran along trails of the San Bernardino National Forest.
The first snowshoer to cross the finish line was local Jonathan Stiles, who was also the first to cross the finish line in the 5K of September’s Run the Bear. Other top male finishers in the 5K were Steve Blaine and Dale Beeson; top 5K females were Lauren Sullivan and Susan Maya and Lisa Waner, both of Big Bear Lake. In the 10K competition, overall leader was Adam Williams, a Snow Summit ski patroller and resident of Big Bear Lake; Williams was followed by Iggy Rodriques of Argentina (who’s living in Big Bear for the winter) and 15-year-old Casey Willliams (no relation to Adam, and yet his mom Kim was the first female to take the Fastest Bear in the Bear title in 2008). Top female finishers in Saturday’s 10K competition were Theresa Uhrig of Los Angeles, followed by Big Bear Lake residents Kelley Brunson and Karin Parks. As Casey Williams finished third overall in the men’s category, he also took top honors in the juniors 10K, and was followed by Ramon Escobar of Baja Mexico and local Jordan Romero. In the free kids’ race, nine-year-old Carissa Wolcott, a fourth grader at Big Bear Elementary, won, retaining her title from last year.
As in years past, Snowshoe the Bear offers a perpetual trophy (in the form of a wooden bear carving by George Crezee) to the fastest locals in the 10K; this year’s Fastest Bears in the Bear are Adam Williams and Kelley Brunson, joining a list that includes the aforementioned Kim Williams, two-time champion Ted Devito and last year’s female Conquer the Bear winner Heather Devito. The Conquer the Bear series continues this year, and all who participated in Snowshoe the Bear are eligible to continue in the four-event series, which next includes a mountain bike race on June 20. For more information on Conquer the Bear, visit OpenAirBigBear.com.