When Winter Warrior Snow Traction Race founder Steve Ilg started this 10K snowbound foot race, originally a snowshoe race but now a winter traction race, in the mountains of southwestern Colorado, he didn’t know it would become one of the most celebrated winter endurance races of the year.

Ilg, a two time World Mountain Snowshoe Champion racer, designed the scenic race course at the Durango Nordic Center outside Durango, Colorado, to meet the criteria of the United States Snowshoe Association. Half groomed, half singletrack, it covers rolling hills at nearly 9,000 feet above sea level. The race is now a USAA sanctioned qualifier for other USAA national races.

But, as Ilg points out, winter running is more than competition.

“Snowshoeing is a fantastic, full body work out,” Ilg says. “It translates to every other imaginable sport.”

Many snowshoers describe the sport as quiet intensity. The stillness of the winter air and the soft added element of snow make for a tranquil outing, despite the cardio mania.

In its seventh year, the Winter Warrior has gained a national reception and is now considered one of the top snowshoe race events in the country.

Warriors up!