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Snowshoe Thompson returns to Hope Valley

Snowshoe Thompson and the longboards at Hope Valley Outdoors
Hope Valley Outdoors

Snowshoe Thompson is a legend in the Sierra, from Placerville to Lake Tahoe and down into Genoa, Nevada.

Jon Torsteinson–Rue, also known as John A. Thompson, who became known as Snowshoe Thompson, took on the challenge of delivering mail over the Sierra. The year was 1855.

Attempts at winter mail delivery prior to Snowshoe stepping in simply didn't work. Torsteinson-Rue made it work rather well.

He was born in the Telemark region of Norway. His familiarity with long cross-country skis allowed him, along with his determination and skill, to make the trip over the mountains and successfully deliver the U.S. Mail. It was, and remains, an amazing feat. The legend is real.

He went over 7,500 foot mountain passes on 10 foot long, 25 pound oak skis that he made. Snowshoe did this for twenty years, regardless of the weather, two to four times a month. It took him 3 days to get from Placerville to what is now Genoa. Return time to Placerville was 2 days.

On Saturday, March 1st, Snowshoe, who, when not being Snowshoe, is known as Steve Hale, will be in Hope Valley. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. he will be leading the way with his longboards.

The event takes place at Hope Valley Outdoors, located on the south side of Highway 88, at Pickett's Junction. You'll be able to rent cross-country gear or snowshoes at the yurt. Joyce Coker runs Hope Valley Outdoors, and will be on hand to match xc skiers with the right gear. You can also bring your own.

The event is a fund raiser to support the Friends of Snowshoe Thompson and to promote awareness of him and maintain his statue in Genoa.

A voluntary donation of $10 is requested to register for this family friendly and fun day with Snowshoe. Children are welcome, and no donation is necessary for them.

There will be a children's scavenger hunt, historic anecdotes, and refreshments. That's in addition to a wonderful day of fun in the snow.

For more information contact Nina at (530) 573-8940, or Sue, at (775) 315-7777.

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