Alaska Snow Running Madness

Running in snow can be so beautiful and peaceful under the right conditions. A nice hard packed trail on a crisp winter day is heaven on earth. But the week before we were supposed to tackle the annual Sven Eriksson Tour during the Willow Winter Carnival, conditions were anything but ideal.

Temperature Inside Dodge Ram 2500 February 3 2024 Willow Alaska
Yep, it was that cold on Carnival weekend.

Let me give you a better picture of what kind of conditions we were facing. First, there’s the fact that every day leading up to Carnival, our front door was freezing shut. I had no idea that a house entry door could freeze from the inside! Who knew that door hardware and thresholds could get so covered in ice that you had to push hard to get the door moving!

Yes, that’s ice in the threshold.

During that week, ice was forming on the inside of our windows. That’s a common thing here, even in a well-insulated cabin with an oil heater running 24/7 at 64-degrees. All of our windows looked like this for about three weeks.

These are double-pane windows covered in ice.

By the time we discovered that people would still get out to have fun at events like the Willow Winter Carnival, we knew were surrounded by insanity. Rugged. Total. Insanity. The question was, how far would we dip our toe into the pool of crazy?

A Perfect Day for a Run?

As Jim previously explained about his personal misogi, he wanted to run the the Sven Eriksson 25k Tour during those Carnival festivities. Named after a rugged Swede who was very involved in this area for decades, the Sven is Willow’s annual ski / bike / run / walk event that’s held during Carnival weekend.

Thankfully, on Carnival weekend of 2024, common sense overtook Jim. It was just too damn cold to get out there and do the 16 miles on foot! So he ran a shorter, modified version instead. As for me, I promised the race organizer that if I paid my entry fee and got the patch ahead of time, that I would run the route as soon as temperatures got above zero.

The following week, we got what we wanted. Both of us got to tackle the Sven’s exact 25k route when weather did a 360, and hit us with a 50 degree increase in temperatures.

The morning we set out for our DIY race, it was a balmy 25-degrees! And this is what happened:

Peer into the madness …

Twenty five kilometers of snow running insanity. Who does this?!

Who does stuff like this, you might be wondering? Alaskans, that’s who. Plenty of ’em run way, way longer distances than we did that day. Do we want to join them? Nope. Short and sweet is how we like it when it comes to snow running. We got the patch and that’s enough.

Alaska is such a great teacher. She just keeps on educating us about the definition of “rugged” and helping us set new benchmarks for what we are willing to tolerate in the name of adventure, fitness, and fun. Before this winter, I used to think running on desert dirt was sucky and painful. Today, I welcome the chance to get back on that cactus-infested wasteland. Soon enough, I know it will happen and I’m sure I’ll dream about the peaceful Willow swamps we once conquered.

I’m so proud that we finished the Sven route, but I never want to do any kind of challenge in these wintery conditions ever again. Check it off the list, it’s time for some easier running now.

3 thoughts on “Alaska Snow Running Madness”

  1. Your doors and windows look like ours did when we had an extended below zero time. I used a hairdryer and turned the humidity way down. It sucked!
    You guys keep on keeping on! Great job.


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