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Saranac Lake considers hosting World Snowshoe Championships again

Racers spring past spectators on Feb. 25, 2017 at Dewey Mountain when Saranac Lake hosted the Snowshoe World Championships for the first time. (Enterprise photo — Lou)

SARANAC LAKE — Will Saranac Lake host the World Snowshoe Championships in 2024? That’s the question the village board here is considering.

Paul Smith’s College Director of Athletics Jim Tucker approached village Trustee Rich Shapiro with the idea and board members say they are thinking about hosting the event again. Saranac Lake hosted the championships in February 2017, bringing 262 snowshoers from around the world to race here.

Tucker said he’s been in Spain, Italy, Canada and the American West for snowshoe championships and believes they’re best when held in small communities, where they bring a bigger economic impact and have a larger footprint of entertainment and hype in the community.

“I think it’s a great idea,” village Manager John Sweeney said at a village board meeting last week.

Trustee Tom Catillaz said board members should think about this first before making a decision. They’ve got plenty of time. A bid to host would need to be submitted by the end of 2022.

Competitors leave the start line in a wave at the Dewey Mountain Recreation Center during the 2017 Snowshoe World Championship race on Feb. 25 in Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Trustee Kelly Brunette said the village having already hosted one World Championsip before would be an “advantage.”

Shapiro said the feedback from the World Snowshoe Federation on the 2017 championship was “fantastic.”

“They loved Saranac Lake. They loved our spirit,” he said. “International racers were amazed they pulled it off because they had seen the snow disappear in the days leading up to the races.”

Warm weather in the five days before the races melted all the snow but locals came out in force to shovel snow and get the trails ready. Tucker said Jason Smith, who runs Dewey Mountain where the races were held was “tremendous.”

Shapiro said the village would reach out to the state for funding assistance if it is selected to host. He said he’d like this to be a “zero cash cost” for the village.

Mayor Clyde Rabideau said the village’s infrastructure would be more conducive to hosting this time around.

“The Saranac Lake village actually lost out on a lot of the economic impact because most of the out-of-towners stayed in Lake Placid,” Shapiro said.

Rabideau said Saranac Lake now has two more hotels than it did in 2017.

Tucker also said the village should consider hosting a National Snowshoe Championship, as it has never hosted that event before.

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