Hill’s Resort is hosting its 50th annual snowshoe softball tournament this year over three consecutive weekends, kicking off on January 12. Originated when a local, Brick Harris, challenged some U.S. Forest Service employees to a softball game in the snow, since that first game 50 years ago teams from as far away as Oregon and California have played, and the tournament was even written up in an issue of Sports Illustrated. Teams consist of 12 players who play on a field groomed by a snowmobile (last year it moved to the Priest Lake Golf Course), and all players wear plastic snowshoes. While the tournament is perpetually at capacity, with the occasional coveted spot opening up for a new player in an existing team, the challenges of playing softball in snowshoes in diverse winter conditions makes for an excellent spectator sport. “People gather around burn barrels to keep warm and share a few laughs and cocktails,” says 30-year tournament veteran John Barrington, who plays for team Maxwell House.  This year in celebration of the 50th anniversary, Barrington says there are plans to recognize some of the tournament founders. “There may even be an extra field for some of the old timers to play if they want.” Two teams play at once the first two weekends and the third weekend is devoted to the championship game. Spectators are welcome to cheer on the teams and explore nearby Nordic and snowshoe trails in the Priest Lake area. //