Event celebrates life of 'Snowshoe'

The 150th anniversary of the Snowshoe Thompson initial mail run from Placerville to Genoa will be celebrated on March 11.

Events will include the seventh annual Snowshoe Thompson Cross Country Ski/Snowshoe Tour starting at 9 a.m. in Hope Valley and the fifth annual dedication of the Snowshoe Thompson monument starting at 4 p.m. in Genoa.

John "Snowshoe" Thompson was a heroic Norwegian immigrant who delivered the mail and other goods between Placerville and Genoa from 1856 to 1876 on what was probably the first pair of wooden skis in the West, according to the Town of Genoa Web site www.genoanv.com/snoshu

"He performed these self-appointed duties at great personal risk, making the treacherous 9O-mile trek over the Sierra Nevada Mountains twice a month every winter. He was never fully compensated by the U.S. Postal Service."

"Snowshoe" is buried in the Genoa cemetery and a bronze statue was dedicated in Genoa in June 2001. The sculptor, Don Budy of Colorado, will be one of the speakers at the fifth anniversary of the dedication of the monument.

The days will begin with the cross country ski/snowshoe tour. Participants will meet at 9 a.m. at the Hope Valley Outdoor Center. Two guides will lead the group: Frank Tortorich is the historical guide and Nina MacLeod is the skiing guide.

The tour consists of a 5K ski tour or a 21Ú2 K snowshoe tour, with a longboard demonstration by the Plumas Longboard Ski Club. A light lunch is available.

The cost is a $10 donation and equipment may be rented at the Hope Valley Outdoor Center on Highway 88.

The day of skiing/snowshoeing will be followed by a celebration of Snowshoe Thompson's life, 4-8 p.m. in the Genoa Town Hall.

Norwegian folk dancers from San Jose who performed at the dedication of the statue, will perform again at the celebration. Speakers include the sculptor, Budy, the Norwegian consul from San Francisco and Frank Tortorich, historian and author who has written books on the Gold Rush Trail and the Emigrant Trail.

A smorgasbord will be catered by the Genoa Country Store, with wine and beer provided by Tahoe Ridge Winery.

The cost is a donation of $15. Call 782-5697 by March 6 for reservations or information. Make checks payable to: Friends of Snowshoe Thompson, Box 605, Genoa, NV 89411.

Funds raised are used for maintenance of the statue.

The event is sponsored by the Hope Valley Outdoor Center and Friends of Snowshoe Thompson.


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