Running up Mary's Mt. - Freedom Town Forest
What is a trail runner to do when there is 3-4 feet of snow on the ground and it doesn't seem to want to stop falling from the sky or melt for that matter? Try running on snowmobile trails. If you do this make sure you have some good equipment. My weapon of choice is the Inov8 MudClaw 340 O+. Running on packed snowmobile trails is like running on a cushy trail, but about as wide as a dirt road. Many of the trails in my area here in northern New Hampshire are maintained better than the roads! The best time to hit them is in the morning before they get much traffic and are firm from the cold winter's night.
It is hard to get in good mountain running training around here in the winter, especially when you get 6-12 inches of new snow every week. Running the hiking trails is a crapshoot based on whether they have been packed out or not. The snowmobile trails are usually groomed every other day regardless of new snow. One of my favorites runs this winter has been a 10 miler that starts at 600ft of elevation in Kearsarge. Next you head 2 miles up Hurricane Mt. Rd., a 17% grade road that is only open to snowmobiles in winter. From there you climb another 1.5 miles to the summit of Black Cap at 2367 ft. From there it's bombs away on twisy narrow snowmobile trails to the NH State Corridor 19 Trail for another 4 miles. The MudClaws provide great traction on the icy and hardpacked surface. They are also light enough to really allow you to open it up when you want to fly on the downhills. I have worn these shoes twice in the Tuckerman Inferno team pentathlon for the grueling 3 mile, 2200 ft ascent into Tuckerman Ravine on the side of Mt. Washington. I wouldn't wear anything else.