Expanding Winter Sport Options at B.C. Resorts

North Face Dirty Feet Snowshoe Series | BCBusiness
The North Face Dirty Feet Snowshoe Series.

Kamloops entrepreneurs’ snowshoe race series leaves its footprint around the Interior

As temperatures dip and snow flies, the B.C. outdoors play host to a wide range of winter sport activities.
Thrill-seekers will love Mount Seymour’s award-winning terrain park and the two new high-speed lifts opening this month at Whistler Blackcomb, while Grouse Mountain focuses on the family with its annual Peak of Christmas celebration.
In the B.C. Interior, husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Phil and Grace Hiom have grown their North Face Dirty Feet Trail Series to include four snowshoe races for participants of all fitness levels.
The Hioms relocated from Calgary to Kamloops in 2010, looking for better weather and terrain for their own trail-race training. They had experience in the outdoor retail sector, but found the Kamloops landscape too crowded to open a shop of their own.
Instead, Dirty Feet was born. Starting as a single trail-running race, the series has now expanded to include a year-round slate of trail-running, mountain-biking and snowshoe races.
Right from the start, Phil says he and Grace had support from their contacts in the corporate community. “North Face was excited about what we were doing and has been on board as a title sponsor since the beginning.”
Snowshoeing has exploded in popularity in recent years. It’s affordable, great exercise and offers a unique opportunity to get deep into nature.
Dirty Feet launched its first snowshoe race near Kamloops in 2011, and word quickly spread. “We got approached by Sun Peaks Resort to host a race up there as well, so we did two snowshoe races in the second year,” says Phil. In 2013, Vernon’s Silver Star and Kelowna’s Big White also asked to come on board.
All categories of the North Face Dirty Feet races have seen strong year-over-year growth—a pattern that’s expected to continue this snowshoe season. “I love the environment that racing provides,” says Phil. “We have some people who are competitive, which is great. But there’s a huge gap between running in snowshoes and what most people can walk. The group behind is there more for the social aspect—they’re with their friends, they know they’re not going to get lost, and it’s a fun time.”
The North Face Dirty Feet Snowshoe Series runs from February 2 to March 2, 2014.