Tag: Granite State Snowshoe Championship

The Picture Says It All

Always on the lookout out here for different perspectives and angles, and when we can get it, a peak behind the curtain for an event, process, etc. That’s exactly why I was excited to see Joe Viger’s blog post about a couple of shots he took of Nacho Hernando from the Granite State Snowshoe Championships.

With all the shots Joe takes, it’s easy to wonder just how he thins out the memory card to go from raw materials to finished product. What’s he looking for? What does it mean to him? In Joe’s words:

When ever make a photograph that I’m pleased with, I always look at it as a gift.  It doesn’t matter what type of photograph it is.  There’s a million examples.  The sun aligned and the light was sweet on the field of lupine. The baby looked at the camera and smiled.  The fall colors were peaking on the ridge as the morning fog burned off.  The model looked up and let her soul shine through her eyes.  These are all gifts that I’m fortunate enough to have recognized and preserved with my camera.  I say thank you to the universe and feel filled with gratitude every time it happens.  Mother Nature, the person, the weather… whatever… has given me something precious.  As a photographer, I value what those photographs say and the feelings they inspire.

Nowhere is this idea more apparent to me than when I’m photographing sports.  The athletes are generous with their gifts of winning, accomplishment, strength, endurance, inspiration and so much more.  I always feel privileged to have these amazing people in front of my lens.  I try hard to capture everything they are in 1/1000th of a second.

This past weekend I photographed the Granite State Snowshoe Championships.  I made a lot of photos that I’m really happy with but two series of images stand out to me.  In both frames, Nacho Hernando looked into my lens, showed me how he felt about his performance and gave me the chance to capture the story of the race.  The image on the left was made in the first 10 minutes of the race and Nacho was in the lead.  The photo on the right was about 35 minutes later and things had changed.  Jim Johnson, the race winner, had passed two minutes before and Nacho was now in second.  In both cases, whether he knew it or not, Nacho was giving me the photograph.  And like all the images I make, I’m thankful for that.

Viger Granite State Snowshoe Nacho DuoThose two pics side by side tell the story all by themselves, but it’s still great to get Joe’s take on it. Reading that really struck a chord with me because I had been thinking of some photos that Joe had taken during the US Snowshoe Championships back on March 1st.

That race had beaten me up pretty badly and before we even finished the climbing that constituted the first half of the 10k race, my goose was cooked. Over 1,100 feet of snow covered climbing was probably 1,000 more feet than I was in shape for and I was (for all of you people familiar with a certain mountain race) in an Upper Walking Boss kind of distress. Only difference is that instead of being near the end, here I was only half way through (and on snowshoes).

Something clicked once I got onto the groomed ski trails taking us back down. Perhaps it had something to do with running by that husky that started howling (my power animal?), I don’t know, but my legs regained some strength, the competitive juices started flowing and I hauled ass down the mountain feeling GREAT. I was catching everybody in sight (and some that had been out of sight) and was just pumped up. I got to the bottom of the switchback, almost done, saw Joe taking his shots and made a gesture in the moment that I thought conveyed my feeling. This is what I thought I was doing in my head:

Viger snowshoe nationals hernando
BUT…this is what I actually did:

Viger snowshoe nationals narcisi
Yeah, not exactly close. That’s Nacho in the first one, and his doesn’t look as awkward. It’s hard to ham it up for the camera when you’re still not confident that you’re not going to trip over your own snowshoes as you try to surge toward a finish line on exhausted legs. It’s fun though; I highly recommend it. For a closer, side by side look:

Viger Hernando Narcisi Snowshoe
Yeah, priceless. Can’t wait until we get the new Level singlets in. That sleeveless t-shirt just ain’t cutting it for race day.

Johnson Captures Series Title

Jim Johnson overcame a moment of pre-race panic to capture the 2014 Granite State Snowshoe Championship title. Jim would be upset if we didn’t remind everyone of this: he locked his keys in his car as he was about to go warm up. Along with the keys: his racing shoes, snowshoes, and bib number. PANIC!

Before any rash smashing was done, Scott Mason stepped up and worked some magic. Armed with a slimjim, years of knowledge from his work as a locksmith, and possibly some additional background from hours and hours of playing Grand Theft Auto, Scott was able to get Jim back into his car.

The race would end up going much more smoothly for Jim. Nacho Hernando tweaked his calf in the latter stages and struggled over the second half, allowing Johnson to pull away for the win. Jim crossed the line in 48:28 for 10k, with Nacho just behind in 50:51.

The win marked the 6th consecutive Granite State Snowshoe Series title for JJ. Dave Dunham was second and Ryan Welts was third. Dunham was also the masters champion. If Nacho runs a few more of the circuit races next year then he just might give Johnson a run for his money.

While we weren’t able to get race footage this time, we were lucky enough to get some first person video from Josh Fields. It’s a bit of a long clip, but if you scan through it you can get a sense of what it was like out on the trails. It’s interesting watching people pass on the single track portions.

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Blazing Trails: Ryan Welts

Ryan Welts talks about what goes into making a snowshoe course. He would know of course, since he was the brains behind the recent Granite State Snowshoe Championship 10k course. That single track doesn’t just magically appear on its own, after all. Ryan wasn’t just a behind the scenes guy either. He ended up running a 54:13 for 10k and finished 6th overall. For the series he ended up a measly point behind Dave Dunham for third place in the standings.

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First-person race footage is courtesy of acidotic RACING member Josh Fields. Josh had a GoPro camera on during the race and got a cool perspective on the terrain.

Dangergirl Gets An Axe

Interview with Kristina Folcik-Welts after she clinched her 2014 Granite State Snowshoe Series title with a win at the season-ending Granite State Championship. Kristina ran a 1:01:52 and finished 16th overall. Coming into the race, Kristina had a pretty good lead in the standings. During the race there was a sizable gap between her and second place Kyla Brustin, so it was up to her to choose her own level of punishment as she came to the climbs later in the race. Push on and compete with the men around her, or coast it in a bit and enjoy the last few minutes of snowshoe racing for the season?

Johnson’s Key To Victory: Scott Mason

Jim Johnson won the Granite State Snowshoe Championship (and the overall series) on March 8, 2014. Jim ran a 48:28 for the challenging, technical 10k course. The real story was how Scott Mason set Jim up for the win before the race even started. Warning: this video may contain some salty language.

We’ll go easy on JJ here. This was all done very tongue in cheek and the video was edited very deliberately to pull this off. There’s no Mason-Johnson feud brewing here. Jim’s already thanked Scott, but we saw an opportunity here for something entertaining. Scott pulled it off like a champ. The way he sits down with the beer to casually tell the tale, it’s reminiscent of Robert Shaw in Jaws. In other words, he nails it.

Granite State Snowshoe Coverage Coming…

Covered (and competed) at the Granite State Snowshoe Championships today. Race coverage coming soon. Jim Johnson (48:28) and Kristina Folcik-Welts (61:52) were the winners in the race, which was a 10k for those scoring at home. In case you missed it, here’s some instant stuff we published “live” via Instagram during the awards…

Open women, overall series. Wait for the axe leap…

Overall women, today’s Granite State Championship.

Double J, swinging the big axe…

It was harder than I planned to get it all. Thought it would upload and I could get at least the open men & women, but it took too long to upload the video with a weaker signal out there. Anway, much more on this coming soon. The race was well covered by top notch race photographer, such as Scott Mason, Joe Viger and SNAPacidotic (Gianina Lindsey) and we should be featuring some of their work here. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram to get this stuff as it happens.

And why not leave you with this, the parking lot Old Man On The Mountain…

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