Snowshoe race in Readsboro on Jan. 20

READSBORO — The ninth annual Hoot - Toot & Whistle 5K Snowshoe Race and Hike is scheduled for Jan. 20 on the Catamount Trail at 10 a.m. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Readsboro Central School on Phelps Lane, and at 9:45 a.m. the last registrants will be transported by bus to the starting line.

This 5K snowshoe trek takes in one portion of the old railroad bed from Readsboro to the Harriman Dam in Whitingham, with bus transportation for participants being provided at both the start and finish locations. Parking is at the Readsboro School.

The Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington Railroad, or the HT&W, was one of America's premier short line narrow gauge railroads of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The railroad was affectionately known as the Hoot - Toot and Whistle. Known by some as the Hitch, Twitch & Wiggle, referring to its many high precipices and sharp turns with beautiful vista views which it traversed. It was famously known for its many hills and curves as well as numerous train wrecks. Today the old railroad bed serves as the gateway to the Catamount Trail, a hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country ski trail leading from the Village of Readsboro to the Canadian border — some 300 miles away.

It is the perfect trail for young and old, as the railroad bed was built as a gentle grade to support a slow moving passenger and freight train of years gone by. It literally snakes its way up the valley. The HT&W trek covers only one small section of the 300-mile Catamount Trail. The Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment organization recently built a parking lot with map kiosk at the trail head where this 5K event begins. The purpose of the lot is to provide parking and attract more winter sports enthusiasts to Readsboro to enjoy the Catamount Trail and the town's rural environment.

The minimum snowshoe size must equal a 120 square inch surface. The entry fee is $15 for the day, but those over 65 or under 18 years of age will be admitted free of charge. Directions/info can be seen at or you can call Bob Dion at 802-423-7537. Limited snowshoe rentals will be available at registration. The major sponsor of this event is Dion Snowshoes, which is a prominent manufacturer of snowshoes for trekking of any kind. This event is part of the WMAC/Dion Showshoe Series.

Free end of race chili will be provided to participants, at the end of their trek, at the Readsboro Central School. While the chili is free, donations are gratefully accepted as all proceeds are to benefit the Bullock Building Restoration Project, managed by Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment, Inc.

The Bullock Building is a large, highly prominent landmark building located in the center of Main Street in Readsboro. The building was not in use and in disrepair when RHR purchased the building and began the cleanup and restoration process. Fundraising events like the annual Dion Snowshoe Race assist in supporting the use of the building and small projects, or are added to other resources for major building projects. Much progress has been made and the Bullock Building now serves the community as a site for many functions; a seasonal art gallery hosting many local artists and musical performances. A great deal of work still needs to be done from a new roof to a heating system (where none currently exists). Donations are very much needed to continue the restoration of this important community project. For more information, contact: or


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