Snowshoeing first activity featured in new adventure series

In hopes of getting UAA students more involved in the Alaska outdoors, the Student Union and Student Activities kicked off their Outdoor Adventure Series Feb. 1. The series started with “Snowshoeing Alaska” presented by Julie Udchachon, 2004 USSSA National Snowshoe champion and founder of the Alaska Snowshoe Club.

“People should be more involved in the outdoors. This is Alaska,” Sarah Fraher said. “We are hoping that giving students a chance to learn from professionals will make them want to get out and do it themselves.”

This was the same attitude held by Udchachon. She began by depicting the history of snowshoeing before speaking on the personal motivations that got her involved in this winter sport.

“I was really looking for a way to stay on the trails in the winter when there was too much snow to run in, so I began snowshoeing, and have been doing it ever since,” Udchachon said.

Despite having only been snowshoeing for about four years, Udchachon has already made her mark on the sport, having not only won at Nationals last year but also holding several record times and placing second in the Westward Regional Championship. She also desires to kindle a greater interest in snowshoeing, and has founded the Alaska Snowshoe Club that operates out of Anchorage.

“The snowshoe following in Alaska may not be that of Colorado or Washington, but it is growing,” said Udchachon. “Snowshoeing is an excellent low impact sport, and any one from beginners to the more experienced are welcome to join the club.”

The presentation was followed by a slide show narrated by Tong Yeo, a member of the Snowshoe Club, who is also an advocate for winter outdoor activity.

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“Anyone who likes running, hiking, or even just enjoys the scenery that the winter season provides should get out and experience it, and snowshoeing is a great way to do that,” Yeo said.

The series will include four more presentations, spaced out over the next few months. The next presentation will be “Extreme Adventures” given by Roman Dial, a mountaineer and instructor at Alaska Pacific University, Feb. 15 in the Student Union.