Day Hiking Ambassador
I followed the snowplow on the road into Carver Park and was the first snowshoer to make fresh tracks on the snowy trails and fondly recalled how I had done the very same thing six years ago when I first started snowshoeing regional parks around the Twin Cities. Much to my delight, I spent the next 3 hours alone in the woods with the falling snow covering me lightly as I looked for animal tracks. The animals must have taken the morning off as there were only a few tracks, probably made in the early morning as the storm was subsiding. My looking around yielded a brief enjoyable view of the Pileated Woodpecker I thought to myself, this was a nice end to the season of snowshoeing. I reflected on the new experiences I had as Tubbs Snowshoe Ambassador. My favorite experience was the Romp To Stomp event at the U of M Landscape Arboretum, the 200+ crowd energy was electrifying.
Way back in 2003 I took my first steps into the dark world of nightshoeing. At that point, I’d been snowshoeing for about a year and I did day hikes as well as the occasional backpacking trip. Certainly, I was not an extreme adventurer and my wife was only outside when I dragged her along.
It was an accident that my wife and I went snowshoeing the in the dark at all. We were at a cabin in Packwood, Washington, (near White Pass, if that helps) and ran into a member of the local ski patrol that told us about a trail around Leech Lake that would be marked with glow sticks for New Year’s Eve.
We had a great time on the mile and a half easy loop around the lake. The trench was well trod for the most part and where it wasn’t we could pick out the faint green glowing in the dark. As a bonus, the moon was out so even without headlamps we could see the faint outline of mountains around us.
That eye-opening trip introduced me to a world of after-dark outings. Some of my favorite and most memorable trips have started after the sun went down. The snow sparkles in the moonlight and headlamps seem to reach forever. The hush that falls on the forest when it’s snowing is somehow more intense when it’s pitch black all around you. And if you want to feel extreme, go out when the snow’s falling and the wind’s blowing. (Just make sure you go somewhere you’re familiar with and you take the 10 essentials.)
Perhaps the most important part of snowshoeing at night is the guilt-free opportunity to continue experiencing the outdoors as a new father. You see, my daughter was born in March 2003. I’d made a couple of rookie dad mistakes and disappeared for hours or days to indulge in the wonders of nature before I figured out what it was like to be at home alone with an infant. Then I swung the other way and stopped hiking for the most part so I could be at home as much as possible. That threatened to drive all three of us crazy.
Once I realized the night was a great time to get outside I started to find a balance. I could be home for dinner and get my daughter (and later another daughter and a son) to bed before heading out. It made for a late night, but it worked. Eventually, I found a group of hikers that did after-work hikes during Daylight Saving Time that reassured my wife I’d return safe and sound.
As my kids got older, they started coming with me. Both on nightshoe adventures and evening hikes. (You might remember a post describing my oldest daughter’s first overnight snowshoe trip earlier this year.) This mean that I could get quality time with my kids and give my wife some peace and quiet.
Today, I encourage everyone to try getting outside in the dark. As long as you’re prepared and you start with easy trips you’ll wonder why you wasted all those long winter nights inside.
A good 10 essentials link: http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ten-essentials.html
Link for Clara’s first overnight snowshoe: http://news.tubbssnowshoes.com/2013/02/26/what-could-go-wrong/
-From Forest Hills Elementary
I’ve broken done this blog into several categories so any readers can learn from our 1st experiences and make adjustments/accommodations for things that we encountered in the first year of our program.
The first thing I’d like to point out is the great and durable quality of the snowshoes we received. They were used daily (taken on and off) by three separate groups of students, five days a week, for approximately (on and off depending on snow cover and weather conditions) 6 weeks. I did not have one shoe break in any shape or fashion. I have no doubt in my mind they will last many more years and with the more tender touch and individual would give a “personal” pair I am sure that they would last a lifetime.
That being said I do want to make a distinction for anyone in a school setting, the Flex junior models were measurably easier for our students to put on and take off by themselves without any assistance when compared to the Glacier models. Practically all of our 4th and 5th grade students could wear the Flex Jr. model. 30% of our boys had shoe sizes in 6th grade that made them need to move up to the Glacier. The Glacier models once on rarely fell off a student’s foot. The flex jr.’s fell off student feet more often, but made up for it by how easy it was for students to fix the binding themselves.
When planning your program take this into consideration. My recommendation would be the Flex Jr’s. If you have groups of 20 students you don’t want to spend half you activity time putting on snowshoes. I would also use some down time to have students practice taking on and off their shoes (even on non-snowshoeing days) the more accustomed they become to strapping on the shoes the betting. We found that by their 3rd time out on the shoes most students were able to put them on or take them off by themselves.
We have two storage methods. On days shoes are in use we simple stack them upright (with bottom treads facing each other) in empty milk crates (most schools will have these lying around. It seemed to prevent needless scratching and ensured a right and left shoe didn’t get separated. We could usually fit 4 pair in a crate.
The second storage method was for long term storage. We simply tied them upright tread facing tread and them hung them from a leftover piece of pipe with pieces of rope.
-From Forest Hills Elementary
A continued post of our 1st year reflections on our snowshoeing experiences….
Our policy at school was if the temperature was below 20 degrees we did not go outside (this does not include wind chill). This policy may or may not work for you depending on your location and climate. Our winters in January and February can typically past a rather nasty wind chill and even though we did our best to enforce a hat, winter coat, boots, and glove policy we always had students try to minimize what they needed to truly be warm outside and many students (being in a low income area) in our district do not have proper winter clothing.
Snowshoeing is a great outlet to introduce a health or multi-disciplinary lesson on proper winter dress to all your students. We made sure to spell out our winter dress code requirements to parents in all our communications that were sent home. We also had the luxury of having 2 physical educators always on site. One conducted an outdoor lesson and the other conducted and indoor “traditional class”.
We missed out this year on the several 6-8” or more snowstorms that we usually get. Our recommendation, especially in the first year of your program would be to get out the shoes and do what you can. Most of your activities can be done on the shoes even in grass. If you take this approach you’ll be able to see how students handle simple thing like: (a) the time it takes to put on their shoes, (b) how to store shoes without dragging snow and mud into the building, (c) how long it takes the students to get in and out of their winter clothes. These are all minor things that can truly affect how much activity time you have with your students in a school setting.
Our students were anxious and excited to get outside every time they put on the shoes. We were able to see how snowshoes and the winter landscape transforms even the simplest activities like taking a walk into something new. Simple tag games, relays and other low level games also take on new shapes and challenges when paired with shoes and the winter landscape. It might be a great way to re-introduce or re-visit some primary grade favorites with your middle and upper grades.
-From Forest Hills Elementary
Here’s a list of how we think a good introductory snow shoeing unit should run after our 1st year.
Lesson 1 – Outdoor Dress & Snowshoe Basics – Come up with an indoor game to play as you discuss the proper components of outdoor in the winter and how to take off and put on shoes. Note: Watch your gym floor surfaces, poured, wood, and rolled rubber gyms floors will get scuffed or damaged. Conduct these activities in a carpeted area of your school. Don’t let the students run on the carpet with shoes on. Maybe hold this lesson 2 weeks prior to your 1st planned day outside. Usually it takes at least that long to collect permission slips, etc… if you district would require you to get permission for an activity of this nature.
Lesson 2 – Grass Trekking – This lesson could take the place of lesson 1, but we did find that students that went out in grass conditions in early December and did simply relays, tag games, and just experienced moving on the grass and putting on /taking off the shoes showed more interested and were better equipped when the snow came. Winter gloves and mittens take away a lot of the dexterity in their fingers and in my opinion they just give up easier when these things are on. Train them to put on and take off their snowshoes in conditions that don’t require gloves so when they need to do it in a situation where they have gloves on they are already familiar with the process and know it can be done without assistance. As we mentioned before this is a great chance to re-introduce some of their old time favorite tag games or relays with a snow shoe twist.
Lesson 3 – Winter Hike – Winter Scavenger Hunt – A simple walk, hunt for animal tracks in the winter snow, a tree identification search by type and texture of bark, etc… are all great ways to keep students moving while ironing out the little problems and bumps that occur the first time you take a large group of students out in the snow.
Lesson 4 – Snow Shoe Race – Straight up 1 mile race, integrate with orienteering or GPS/ geocaching challenge, or be creative. We tried a human dog sled race in honor of the Iditarod. It didn’t work as expected with all our groups, but all of our kids had a great time.
Lesson 5 – Sledding Day – For one of our lesson we strapped on our shoes and hiked to one of the steeper hills in the rear or our school for a traditional day of sled riding.
Lesson 6 –Snow Games – Put on your snowshoes and have some fun contests like snowman building, snow fort, who can roll the biggest snow boulder, etc… you’d be surprised we live in a pretty rural area and a lot of our upper elementary students never tried or experienced some of these things. If you live in a suburban or urban district this number might be even higher.
Contact your closest state park and take a field trip for a snow shoe hike. If you contact the parks/conservation department they might even be able to arrange for an educational presentation by one of the rangers.
Tubbs Snowshoes is excited to introduce the second year of our Ambassador Program! We’re looking for 8 intrepid snowshoe enthusiasts who can best capture the experience of snowshoeing – from the lessons of a beginner to a seasoned veteran – with words and photos to help show winter’s wonder. With four categories to enter, and four prize packages for contest winners, don’t miss your chance to win new Tubbs snowshoes and contribute to the Tubbs team all winter long!
Ambassador Entry Categories: The Tubbs snowshoe line is divided into four main categories and we are looking for two ambassadors to represent each category. Choose the category that best represents you, and send us your entry today!
Have you ever gone snowshoeing before, or are you a snowshoer newbie? Are you interested in a new winter fitness opportunity? You might be a perfect candidate if you like being outdoors and trying new things. We want to hear about your experiences starting something new and what feedback you can give to those new to this winter activity.
Short Story Submission Topic: What new opportunities do you think snowshoeing will open up for you?
Ambassador Prize Kit: 2 pairs of Tubbs Frontier Snowshoes, 2 pairs of Tubbs 2-Part Snowshoe Poles, 2 sets of men’s or women’s gaiters, Tubbs custom belt, Tubbs water bottle and Tubbs branded playing cards. Retail value: $495.
Are you a hiker that becomes a snowshoer in the winter? Do you like to travel your favorite trails in the winter to see how they have become transformed in winter white? Do you have some set trails that you consistently follow or do you like to find new trails? If you answered yes to some of these questions you might be the perfect candidate for this category! We are looking for people to share their outings and experiences with others to inspire more people to get outdoors and explore the winter trails.
Short Story Submission Topic: What was one of your favorite past trips? Why did this trip stand out?
Ambassador Prize Kit: 2 pairs of Tubbs Wilderness Snowshoes, 2 pairs of Tubbs 2-Part Snowshoe Poles, 2 sets of men’s or women’s gaiters, Tubbs custom belt, Tubbs water bottle and Tubbs branded playing cards. Retail value: $575.
Do you plan backpacking trips in the winter? Or do you prefer to leave the trail behind to make your own? If backcountry travel is your favorite way to spend time in the winter, you would be a perfect fit in this category! We want to hear where you like to go, how to best tackle backcountry adventure, and what your tips and tricks are.
Short Story Submission Topic: What was your most brazen snowshoe adventure? What made it stand out?
Ambassador Prize Kit: 2 pairs of Tubbs Xpedition Snowshoes, 2 pairs of Tubbs 3-Part Snowshoe Poles, 2 sets of men’s or women’s gaiters, Tubbs custom belt, Tubbs water bottle and Tubbs branded playing cards. Retail value: $725.
Would your family benefit from some time in the snow but do you not want to spend money on expensive gear, tickets, and lessons? Do you encourage your family to get outside in the winter? If so, your family might be the perfect fit for this category! We are looking for families to share their all-age outdoor adventures. We want to know everything from how to best plan outings, what favorite snow games you play and how to keep the kiddos happy while out in the cold. We’d also love to hear from your kids as Junior Ambassadors and what they think of snowshoeing!
Short Story Submission Topic: Who most inspired you or gave you an appreciation for snowshoeing and outdoor winter fun?
Ambassador Prize Kit: 2 pairs of Tubbs FLEX TRK Snowshoes, 2 pairs of Tubbs FLEX JR snowshoes, 2 pairs of Tubbs 2-Part Snowshoe Poles, 2 sets of men’s or women’s gaiters, Tubbs custom belt, Tubbs water bottles and Tubbs playing cards. Retail value: $655.
Choose an entry category above, and email us your entry (400 words max, please!) on the category topic. We want to know why we should pick you, get a feel for your writing style, the things you like to do, and what motivates you. All contest submissions are due by May 11th, 2013. Winners will be decided by the Tubbs Marketing Manager, deciding on who best exemplifies each category. Winners will be announced after May 11th, 2013, and selected Ambassadors will create a formal Ambassador agreement with the Tubbs Marketing Manager. No purchase necessary, contest only for those in the United States, and no employee of Tubbs Snowshoes will be considered. All entries become the property of Tubbs Snowshoes when submitted and will not be returned to entrant. Mail-in registrations must be postmarked by May 7th, 2013. Full explanation of contest rules and how we will judge the entries can be found: http://news.tubbssnowshoes.com/2013/04/01/rules-and-regulations-for-201314-ambassador-program/
Send your submission to:
firstname.lastname@example.org with the title “Tubbs Ambassador Contest” or by mail to:
ATTN: Tubbs Ambassador Contest
4201 6th Ave S
Seattle, WA 98108
What will Tubbs Ambassadors do?
Tubbs Ambassadors will be responsible for sending us content from their awesome adventures – adventure posts, inspirational stories, and fun photos of their exploration over the year!
- Provide a written profile and photo for the Tubbs Ambassador website.
- Send in monthly web content and photos for posting to the Tubbs website and inclusion in collateral. Your home base should consistently get snow or you should be willing to travel to snow in order to get your monthly content submitted throughout the winter.
- Post short bimonthly Facebook posts to the Tubbs Facebook page.
- Participate in online graphic/product focus groups for new Tubbs products.
- Attend a regional Tubbs-sponsored event like Tubbs Romp to Stomp out Breast Cancer Snowshoe Series as a guest of Tubbs.
Get Started Today!
Don’t wait! Start your submission today, and show us why you should be the next Tubbs Ambassador! We can’t wait to hear your enthusiasm and share your stories with other Tubbs fans and the next generation of snowshoers.
About the Tubbs brand and products: www.tubbssnowshoes.com
About the Tubbs Romp to Stomp: www.tubbsromptostomp.com
Formal Rules and Regulations for the Tubbs Ambassador Program
How to enter: This contest begins at 11 A.M. pacific time (PST) on April 2nd, 2013, and ends at 11:50 P.M. PST on May 11th, 2013. To enter online, choose your category and corresponding question prompt and then send your typed response (400 words maximum) to email@example.com. To enter via postal mail, submit your essay by mailing your entry to Sarah Rose, ATTN: Tubbs Ambassador Contest, 4201 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108. Entries must be postmarked no later than May 7th, 2013, and received no later than May 11th, 2013. Limit one entry per person or e-mail account. Essays should be submitted in English at a maximum of 400 words and typed on 8½-by-11-inch paper. Essays exceeding this length or handwritten may not be considered. Sponsor is not responsible for lost, late, illegible, or incomplete entries; postage-due mail; or entries not received for any reason. Entries become sole property of Sponsor, and none will be acknowledged or returned. By entering, Entrant warrants that his or her entry (1) is original and does not infringe the intellectual-property rights of any third party and (2) has not been published in any medium. You will receive an email confirming receipt of your submission.
Judging: All entries will be judged by the Tubbs Marketing Manager, based on the following criteria: originality (25 percent), creativity (25 percent), use of language (25 percent), and appropriateness to prompted question outlined in each category (25 percent). We want to know why we should pick you, get a feel for your writing style, the things you like to do, and what motivates you. Incomplete and/or inaccurate entries and entries not complying with all rules are subject to disqualification. Decisions of judge are final and binding. Winner will be notified by telephone and/or e-mail after May 12th, 2013. Names will also be released online as well.
Eligibility: Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, age 19 or older at time of entry (“Entrant(s)”). Void where prohibited by law. Employees of Sponsor and its promotional partners and their respective parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries and participating advertising and promotion agencies (including members of their immediate family and/or those living in the same household of each such employee) are not eligible.
I irrevocably grant to Tubbs Snowshoes, its affiliates, agents, representatives, licensees and assigns in perpetuity, for no additional consideration, permission to use the photographs or pictures (including but not limited to transparencies, negatives, prints, digital data, or other photographic images) (“Photos”) an unlimited number of times in any manner Tubbs Snowshoes deems fit in all media now known or hereafter devised, in whole or in part, or composite or distorted in character or form, without restriction as to changes or alterations, or reproductions thereof in color or otherwise, throughout the universe, as provided in this Section. I also consent to the use of printed matter in conjunction therewith.
I understand that upon my submission and/or delivery of any Photos to Tubbs Snowshoes, the Photos may be used by Tubbs Snowshoes for any purpose whatsoever. I represent that I independently created the Photos I submitted to Tubbs Snowshoes and/or that I have all rights, permissions (including, but not limited to, the rights to use the likenesses of people, if any, appearing in the Photos), consents and/or entitlements to use and license such Photos to Tubbs Snowshoes. I agree to take any actions (including execution of documents) reasonably requested by Tubbs Snowshoes to effect, perfect or evidence the foregoing representation and/or the license set forth herein.
I hereby waive: (i) any right that I may have to inspect or approve the finished product, the advertising copy, or any printed matter that may be used in connection therewith or the use to which it may be applied; (ii) any rights to injunctive relief I may have in connection with this Release; and (iii) the right to revoke this Release.
My sons are two and four now, so this was the first year I was able to go out snowshoeing with them without packing one of them on my back. It was also the year I learned that my boys love the snow! They could stay outside and play all day. It’s been so much fun snowshoeing with them and experiencing the excitement of my sons learning a new sport and all the beauty of winter and of playful young minds. Here’s a brief report of our family outings:
December: Christmas snowshoe scavenger hunt. Of course there was lots of treats lying around at grandma’s house, so we took them outside and hid them around the yard and let the kids snowshoe around and find them. They learned to snowshoe without realizing it!
Early January: Snowshoe sledding. The snow was deep and the hill was steep. Every kid loves to sled down, and using the snowshoes to get up made it so much easier!
Mid-January: Snowshoeing with the dogs and chasing snowballs. Moab, UT where we live had a January of big snow, so we got the kids and the dogs out for their exercise along the parkway with snowshoes (no, the dogs didn’t wear snowshoes!). The kids made snowballs and the dogs loved to chase them. So much fun for all!
Late January: Snowshoe decathalon. This one took some planning and creativity on mom’s part. The kids helped with the creativity. We used the decathalon events as a guideline and came up with our own snowshoe decathlon. So we had snowball toss, stick throw, 25 meter dash, 400 meter long run, hurdles (we made hurdles out of snow), long jump and high jump-off. It was so much fun. I gave both the kids a toy award along with hot coco when we were done.
Early February: Snowshoe Obstacle course. This is always a favorite of mine, and it was for the boys too! I set up a short loop in the park that included over and under obstacles and some challenges such as backwards snowshoeing, snowball basketball hoop toss, build a snowman, and snowshoe pull-ups. We timed each other. It was so much fun and I got in a good workout too!
Late February: Snowshoe tackle football. When you have boys, there will be rough-housing. We took the rough-housing outside in the snow and set some rules. It was still rough, but boys will be boys and in the end it was fun and exhausting and wet.
Early March: Romp to Stomp out Cancer, Frisco: This was a fun event for the whole family. Nana and Papa, along with my sister Michelle, and her two kids, brought all the kids to the event to compete in the Lil’Romper race while I helped out working. The 4 year olds had a blast and did well in the race finishing 1st and 3rd in their respective category. The two year olds were a little intimidated by the big kids in the race, so they didn’t make it much past the start line. They all enjoyed the festive atmosphere and found a mound of snow to climb and slide down with bunches of other kids and it was a blast for them. We could barely get them to leave!
It’s been a fun year of snowshoeing and I think next year will be even better once the boys are a little older!
-Splore, Get Outdoors Program Winner
In the heart of the Wasatch mountains lies East Canyon, a local’s favorite for everything from snowshoeing and cross country skiing to swimming and biking in the summertime. On a bright Saturday afternoon, Splore took a group of families affected by early onset Dementia on a snowshoe adventure.
The journey started with an opening circle to make introductions, talk about the day and outline all the safety details, followed by instructions for how to walk in snowshoes. Everyone enthusiastically took to the snow and began exploring the mountains and enjoying a day in the sun.
Most of the families had never met before but everyone immediately felt a bond once the trip started. People from different backgrounds and locations were suddenly joined by an invisible force: a family member who has dementia. During frequent breaks to take in the beautiful scenery and fill up on water, endless conversations were happening: wives comparing notes on obstacles with school, kids sharing snowball fights or fathers discussing the latest Jazz game. It’s one of the mysteries of nature that being in the outdoors together has a way of deepening relationships and sparking new communities.
One of the spectacular things about Splore adventures is that entire families or groups of friends are able to experience the thrill of adventure together instead of being separated for ability-specific opportunities. Everyone who was part of the trip was a spouse, parent or child to someone else on the trip and was able to experience something completely new and bonding.
By the end of the trip, we heard things like “We have never done something like this as a family,” and “It’s amazing to get out and do things that people would normally say I’m not capable of.” Here at Splore, we are grateful to be able to provide trips for people of all abilities and their families.
As many winter outdoor enthusiast know the Iditarod is scheduled to start this year on March 2nd. This amazing 998 mile race running from Anchorage to Nome has plenty of ways in could be incorporated into a traditional classroom’s curriculum. The question is how can you integrate this idea into a physical education curriculum. Scooter’s are a novel ways to hold pseudo- dog sled races in the gym during the winter, but Sportime has recently added Idita-Harnesses to their physical education catalogs. This piece of equipment along with sleds and snowshoes makes a great cooperative/fitness/interdisciplinary game/activity/or challenge to have your own mini-iditarod race with your students as the sled dogs (teams of 6) in your physical education curriculum. We had a great time experimenting with the idea this year and our students got a great workout. Believe it or not the hardest job seemed to be that of the sled rider who needed to hold onto the reins and steer the sled to keep the nose pointing in the same direction the snowshoers were moving.
We’re excited for the opportunity to come around again next year and train our “dogs” before the event so we can have a longer duration and more complete snowshoe/human dog sled race than we did in our initial year. We’d love to hear if anybody has tried anything of this nature before and if so what distance worked best and what activities you used to help the students understand the importance of pulling and moving as a team. We’d like to try a 1-mile race next year with riders and sled dogs switching at various parts of the course.