Inaugural Viking Snowshoe Invasion draws 80

| 29 Jan 2018 | 02:59

Conditions were ideal for the first-ever Viking Snowshoe Invasion on Saturday at Mountain Creek as over 80 participants enjoyed swiftly shuffling through the snow.
The event was staged by the collaboration between the Vernon Township Board of Recreation and the Department of Recreation, partnering with Mountain Creek, which hosted it.
“Adventure Manager Chris Haggerty worked with us to plan and organize the Invasion from the initial concept stage right through to being on hand that day to ensure a successful event and we are looking forward to working together on future projects,” Vernon Township Director of Recreation and Community Affairs Michelle Downtain said.
Led by Chairperson Denise Urbaniak, the members of the Recreation Board donned their viking hats and snowshoes to join the other participants in this mountainous challenge.
“Blue skies filled with sunshine and a mountain topped with freshly groomed snow set the perfect backdrop for a great day,” Downtain said. “People came from all over New Jersey and New York for the Invasion and the atmosphere was filled with excitement.”
The 5k course started at 10 a.m. at the top and went out along the ridge passed Granite Peak to Southern Soujourn then circled back and went down Great Northern to Khyber Pass ending by the Sugar Shack. There was also a one mile option that consisted of the last leg down Great Northern to Khyber Pass.
“Mountain Creek ski patrol did an excellent job preparing the course and volunteers were stationed along the way to guide shoers through the course,” Downtain said. “Everyone had a great time and we are already discussing plans for next year.”
Awards were given to the top three males and females in both the running and walking event.
Michael Merner from Highland Lakes placed first in the male runner category, with a time of 30:49.0, with Michael Schleer, from Sparta, coming in second in 30:56.2. Eric Zucaro, from Toms River, was third in 32:25.5. Vernonite Toni Cilli placed first for female runner category with a time of 34:00.6. Shannon Sullivan, from Danville, Pa., was second in 42:42.9 and Hope Breeman, from Highland Lakes, was third with a time of 45:47.0.
“Our Board of Recreation is a fantastic group of residents with a lot of energy, enthusiasm and new ideas to bring to Vernon that engage the community and everyone can take part in," Downtain said. "I am looking forward to working with them on all of the great things happening in Vernon.”