When Margret Montag headed to Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks, she had never donned a pair of snowshoes.
Now, she not only wears them but races in them.
Montag, 19, is the daughter of Sheridan Davenport-Montag and Jeffrey Montag and a 2017 graduate of Romulus Central School. Although she has junior standing, she is in her second year at Paul Smith’s majoring in environmental studies.
A soccer player, her coach suggested she try snowshoeing last year as a way to keep in shape during the off season.
“I had no idea what I was getting into,” said Montag, who joined the snowshoeing team under Coach Jim Tucker (he’s also the athletic director and cross country coach at Paul Smith’s).
And probably no idea she would take as easily to the sport as she has.
Montag recently competed in the national championships in Wisconsin and in January traveled to Val di Non, Italy for the World Snowshoe Championships.
The large, traditional snowshoes she was familiar with before arriving at Paul Smith’s are not what Montag uses to race across the snow. Her Northern Lites snowshoes are short and light for racing purposes.
Paul Smith’s has one of the few collegiate teams so Montag landed in a good place to not only learn — but excel — in the sport. Tucker, who founded the Paul Smith’s College Striders snowshoeing team in 1987, said most of the team members (like Montag) tried the sport for the first time when they arrived at college. Endurance athletes and those who can tolerate the cold make the best candidates.
“For most kids, they’ve never seen a racing snowshoe until we put them on them,” he said.
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