One of the most frustrating aspects of being an avid snowshoer is waiting for the season to begin. I’m not a patient guy to begin with and seeing other parts of the country (I’m looking at you, Colorado and Utah!) getting snow while the Pacific Northwest is just rain makes me want to sit in front of my happy-light for a few hours.
While the Internet spews pictures of blue skies and white snow that I can’t touch, it also makes researching this winter’s adventures much easier. In between ballet, ice skating, and tae kwon do there will be a few weekends when I can get the family into the mountains to enjoy nature. Here’s what I’m planning for this season.
Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park
Hurricane Ridge is accessible year round, 17 miles from Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula. My family rarely gets to explore the Olympic Mountains and the Park because it’s 120 miles and three hours away. However, this winter it’s on our list.
Starting at the lodge, it’s six miles and 800 feet of gain to the summit of Hurricane Hill. However, there are plenty of spots to stop and enjoy the amazing views south into the heart of the Park, including Mt. Olympus, and north to the Straight of Juan de Fuca and Canada beyond.
Reflection and Louise Lakes, Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier dominates the skyline for much of Washington with good reason. It stands alone in the Cascades, towering above all the neighboring peaks. Much of the Park is closed in winter, but the Park Service does its best to keep Paradise open and accessible all year round. Most of our adventures in the Park have been on the north side at Sunrise, which is an hour closer than Paradise on the south side of the mountain. My kids haven’t been to Paradise, but that will change this season.
In addition to visiting the snow play area at Paradise, where the average annual snowfall is 53.6 feet (yes, FEET) and the lowest recorded snowfall was 26 feet, we’ll be snowshoeing to Reflection and Louise Lakes. Seven miles roundtrip with only 560 feet of elevation gain along the closed, snow-covered roads. Roads are perfect for hauling gear in a sled so I’ll be pulling mine, though everything will be in a backpack in case the sled turns out to be more of a hinderance.
The lakes provide iconic views of the mountain in both summer and winter. With the road closed, though, you won’t have the hum of traffic behind you as you look across the frozen lake to Washington’s highest mountain.
Grubstake and Northway Peak via the Crystal Mountain Gondola
Crystal Mountain is one of the premier ski resorts in Washington. They offer guided snowshoe walks, but they don’t get to the ridge that separates the ski area from amazing views of Mount Rainier. You could climb the 2,400 feet in a little more than a mile or you can ride the Crystal Mountain Gondola to the Summit House restaurant at 6,872 feet.
From the Summit House, we’ll head north along the ridge and the boundary with Mount Rainier National Park to Grubstake and Northway Peaks. It’s an easy snowshoe stroll along the ridge for only a couple of miles round trip with 500 feet of gain. The views can’t get much better so we’ll turn around when we’re satisfied or get hungry for lunch at Washington’s highest restaurant.
Artist Point, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Like Olympic National Park, Mt. Baker is a long drive for us at almost 160 miles. However, on the north side of the mountain is Artist Point. In 1999, a world record 1,140 inches (95 feet) of snow fell on Mt. Baker. Besides mountains of snow, Artist Point offers views of Mt. Baker (Washington’s third highest mountain) and Mt. Shuksan.
Unlike the other trips I’m hoping to take the family on, this is no walk in the park. Over a 5.5 mile round trip we’ll climb 1,200 feet. More importantly, there is avalanche danger so we’ll only get to try this hardest trip of the season if the conditions are safe and the weather’s good.
For all these trips, safety will be my top priority followed by fun and then the destination. Avalanche safety is a big issue with the wet snow in the Northwest, but there are usually enough safe times to get on the snow and alternative routes if it’s questionable.
Even if we don’t get to all of these amazing spots in Washington (or any of them), I’m sure we’ll have more than our fair share of time on the snow. Assuming it finally snows here. I’m dancing now.
Kids / Family Ambassador
Tubbs Snowshoes is excited to announce our Get Outdoors Program, a contest for schools and non-profits to benefit children and teens. Tubbs will award two winning groups with snowshoes and our Winter Fit™ for Kids Programming, to help children and teens adventure into the wintertime. With snowshoes and a lesson plan, all that’s needed is warm layers and hot cocoa to get all ages outdoors and exploring winter’s wonderland.
Snowshoeing is a great winter activity for children and teens to get outside and adventure during a season when outdoor activities become limited. It’s also affordable since no lessons are needed – anyone who can walk, can snowshoe. Tubbs is excited to get more youngsters on snow with the needed tools and resources.
Winners from schools or non-profits will receive snowshoes for their class or group (kids aged 3-15 years old), snowshoes for the adult leaders, and our Winter Fit for Kids Programming. Throughout the year the winners will be promoted in Tubbs marketing materials. Keep reading to see how to enter, what we are looking for, and the rules and regulations.
Essay Submission Topic:
What sets your classroom apart from other programs and why would your group be the best recipient? What would you do to distinguish yourself and your program once you had the snowshoes? What would it mean to your community and the kids that you work with? We want to hear all ideas – from the most wacky to sincere!
We would also like you to answer the following questions (not included in word count):
Your name, position, school or program name, school or program website, address, age of students or kids, and where you heard about the contest.
How we’ll judge your entry:
A panel of Tubbs Snowshoe employees, including product engineers, graphic artists and marketers, will judge all entries. The entries will be based on the following criteria: originality (25 percent), creativity (25 percent), use of language (25 percent), and appropriateness to prompted question outlined (25 percent).
Email us your essay on the above topic in 500 words or less. Photos are not necessary but will also be accepted. We want to know why we should pick your group, get a feel for your writing style, the things that your group likes, and what makes you all happy. Incomplete and/or inaccurate entries and entries not complying with all rules are subject to disqualification. Decisions of judges are final and binding. Winner will be notified by telephone and/or email after October 30th. Names will be released online as well. The winners will be notified by Tubbs Snowshoes and will create a formal agreement with the Tubbs Marketing Coordinator.
No purchase necessary to enter, 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 the entrant. Mail-in entries must be postmarked by October 28th. Full explanation of contest rules can be found: http://news.tubbssnowshoes.com/2013/09/23/rules-and-regulations-get-outdoors-contest/. Void where prohibited by law.
Contest only applicable to public or private schools and outdoor outreach non-profit, youth-related organizations such as Boy Scouts and Special Olympics. Each organization must be able to submit a Tax Id number to identify their status.We are looking for elementary to middle school aged kids.
Sent your submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the title “Get Outdoors Contest”. You will receive an email receipt of your submission. Or send by mail to:
Attn: Get Outdoors Contest
4201 6th Ave South
Seattle, WA 98108
Entry must be received by October 29th.
What will the recipients of the Outdoor School Contest be asked to do?
In exchange for snowshoes and programming, Tubbs will ask for a monthly submission or “trip report” throughout the winter to share with our Tubbs community. We want to see where you went on your snowshoes, the games that were played, and the smiles that were shared. We are hoping other programs will be inspired by the fun you are having, while also learning some tricks to getting people of all ages on snow. You will work with Tubbs Marketing Coordinator to deliver this content.
About the Tubbs brand and products: www.tubbssnowshoes.com
About the Tubbs Romp to Stomp: www.tubbsromptostomp.com
Winter Trails celebrates its 16th year on January 8, 2011. Winter Trails offers children and adults new to snow sports a chance to try snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing FREE at venues throughout North America. There is no charge for the use of equipment or trails. Most locations offer snowshoeing AND cross country skiing. Some locations only offer snowshoeing. Current alpine skiers and/or snowboarders are also encouraged to try an alternative snow sport.
Winter Trails locations, hours and offerings are posted at WinterTrails.org as they are announced. Venues include alpine resorts, Nordic centers, state parks, National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service land. Details accompany each event’s listing on the Winter Trails website. Registration is also available on-site at each location.
There is no charge for equipment or trail fees. While most events take place on the “official” date, some are held on alternative dates. One of the largest – at Estes Park, Colorado – is being held on January 15, 2011 and is part of the Estes Park Winter Festival. The www.wintertrails.org Web site is regularly updated.
On-line registration for Winter Trails begins November 15, 2010. Those who register on-line will have an opportunity to win prizes offered by Winter Trails supporters. On-line registrants also will receive updates on events and any weather advisories that could affect a particular venue.
“Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are winter outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by individuals, groups of friends and family members,” said Reese Brown, a Winter Trails organizer. “They are affordable, easy to learn and they provide moderate to vigorous exercise, depending on an individual’s effort. With obesity rates in the U.S. at an all time high, Winter Trails can introduce active and not so active children and adults to sports that provide winter outdoor recreation.”
If you’ve ever wondered about the versatility and durability of modern snowshoes read on. I’m a professional dog musher and live in Greenland’s Ittoqqortoormiit with my 17 dogs: 16 males and 1 female. Her name is Girly and she’s very popular.
Ittoqqortoormiit is very remote but it’s home for 460 people and over 400 working Greenland Dogs, the only breed allowed above Greenland’s Arctic Circle. By remote I mean 500 miles from the next community. There are no roads leading in or out of Ittoqqortoormiit. Outsiders coming to work here have been known to freak out, panic and want out because it’s so isolated. There’s no plumbing. Storms and cold are brutal and polar bears are always about. It’s a tough place.
Ittoqqortoormiit is a place of extremes. Despite summer’s 70 days of perpetual daylight it’s very rarely T-shirt weather and there’s not a single day in the year when you can’t see snow. We get only two re-supply ships per year and what’s here by September is what we rely on until the following July, for me it means gear that withstands abuse and brutal cold.
Come winter we have 56 days when the sun never rises and we live in total polar dark. It can snow any month of the year in Ittoqqortoormiit and Christmas here is always white. Gravity-sped cold dense air can rush down vertically off cliffs to create colossal coastal 100-knot piteraq winds. Windows pop and houses have been known to explode. Everyone is vigilant for polar bears wandering about houses, bears that fear nothing and have a tendency to eat people. No-body walks far unarmed. Reach twelve and kids can legally carry a firearm.
The Ittoqqortoormiit sea ice sledding season – November to July – is probably the longest in the world and sometimes I’m away travelling with my dogs for three months. Minus 40 temperatures aren’t rare here. There’s no getting away from the cold and there are only three things I can do to warm up: put on more clothes, eat, or exercise. My dogs don’t carry me. Skis or Tubbs snowshoes enable me to generate heat and stave off hypothermia while breaking trail for my dogs through snow that’s sometimes chest deep.
When I’m home I train twice daily by running, whatever the weather even in deep snow I run my own trail system wearing Tubbs snowshoes.
I know about other makes of snowshoes, enough not to be impressed.
If you’d like to know more about how and where I use my Tubbs snowshoes:
3,881 snowshoers turned out for the Romp to Stomp out Breast Cancer Snowshoe Series® this winter to raise a total of $190,234 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. Tubbs Snowshoes, the leading manufacturer of snowshoes in North America and now a national partner of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, just finished its 8th year of hosting the Romp to Stomp, which has raised nearly one million dollars for the fight against breast cancer.
“Word about the Romp to Stomp keeps spreading,” reports event manager Wendy Miller. “Each year more and more people participate in the Romp—many trying snowshoeing for the first time. Although economic conditions contributed to lower fundraising totals at each event, Tubbs kept event operations expenses low, ensuring that more registration fees and event income went to Susan G. Komen than ever before.”
Helping to drive the Romp’s fundraising effort was the largest individual fundraiser for the Colorado event, Jill Overdorf of Hermosa Beach, CA. In the six years Ms. Overdorf has participated in the Romp to Stomp, she’s raised nearly $25,000.
This year, the Romp to Stomp took place in five locations around the country: Mountain Creek Resort, New Jersey, Stratton Mountain Resort, Vermont, Salt Lake City, Utah, Mt. Hood, Oregon, and Frisco, Colorado. Additionally, Tubbs Canada held a Romp to Stomp event in Town of the Blue Mountains, Ontario. Modeled after the highly successful Race for the Cure®, the Romp to Stomp consists of a 3 or 5 km snowshoe walk with an optional 3 km snowshoe race. Participants take advantage of free snowshoe demos from Tubbs, a goody bag, and fun sweepstakes prizes from sponsors. Top racers, fundraising teams, and individual fundraisers also walk away with special prizes from sponsors.
Tubbs is looking forward to expanding the Romp to Stomp for 2010 by adding an event in Washington state and hopes to engage 4,500 snowshoers and raise $200,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.
“The Romp to Stomp out Breast Cancer has incredible potential for future growth” says Wendy Miller. “Not only is the sport of snowshoeing affordable and easy to learn, but the atmosphere of the event itself is incredibly encouraging and uplifting. At the end of each event if the cheers of encouragement, crazy pink costumes, or energetic snowshoers don’t put a smile on your face, the sheer dedication to stomp out breast cancer will!”
For more information on the Tubbs Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer Snowshoe Series, visit www.tubbsromptostomp.com
Families with kids may forego popular winter sports activities because they’re too expensive, take too much time and require too much gear. Tubbs takes the sting out of cold weather adventures with its 2009 series of snowshoes that make getting on snow easy, fun and affordable for the whole family.
Snowshoeing requires no special skills beyond common sense and the ability to walk, and it can be enjoyed everywhere from the backyard to trail systems at destination resorts. While getting the family outdoors in winter makes fitness sense, the Tubbs Family Rebate program, available on snowshoe purchases between November-December 2009, makes fiscal sense. Buy any two adult Tubbs snowshoes, such as the men’s and women’s Frontier (MSRP: US$159.95) and one kids snowshoe, like the Flurry ($59.95) and receive $30 back! That’s like getting a Flurry at half price!
• 5.5. million participants went on more than 22 million snowshoe outings last season
• The snowshoeing population is composed of 51% women and 49% men
• More than 500 elementary, middle and high schools include snowshoeing as a part of their physical education curriculums
Snowshoeing utilizes major muscle groups which, when combined with a higher metabolic rate in cold weather and the added resistance of moving through snow, results in a higher energy activity. The following muscles are used while snowshoeing:
• Quadriceps during climbs
• Hamstrings while descending
• Abductors and adductors while traversing slopes
• Hip flexors and quadriceps while breaking trail
• Chest, back muscles and arms when snowshoeing poles are incorporated into the workout
According to an independent study conducted by the University of Vermont, snowshoers can burn 420-1000 calories per hour. It burns twice the calories as walking at the same speed.
If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Snowshoeing offers a low-impact workout for all ability levels.
Walkers, Take Note
Snowshoeing improves your coordination, balance and endurance, so you’ll become a more fit walker. Here are the benefits of snowshoeing for walkers:
• Enhanced total body strength, which boosts energy and endurance
• Tone hip flexors, thigh muscles, and butt, due to the lifting motion involved in every step forward
• Improved arm strength as a result of the swaying you’ll do to propel yourself forward, with or without snowshoe poles
Snowshoeing’s growth in popularity and participation has resulted in the advent of thousands of snowshoe trails across the United States and Canada. Tubbs TrailNet™ is a free online directory of places to snowshoe where snowshoers will find thousands of trails for all abilities and interests plus snowshoe reviews at www.tubbs-trailnet.com.
Guided snowshoe tours, community based marked trail systems and public parks, and most winter resort destinations offer snowshoers access to fields, forests and peaks. The National Ski Areas Association, U.S. Forest Service, and National Park Service all promote snowshoeing programs and access in winter months. In addition, country inns and bed & breakfasts, health spas and fitness centers, and YMCAs/YWCAs all offer snowshoe demo and rental programs to their guestsand members as a winter recreational sport.
Snowshoe Selection – Get the FACTs
Four key elements of snowshoe design – Flotation, Articulation, Control and Traction – are the basis for every snowshoe design. Understanding these FACTs gives you the technical know-how to select the right snowshoe based upon intended use and snow conditions.
Flotation is calculated from the snowshoe’s frame perimeter and decking surface area. While more surface area means more flotation to disperse a snowshoer’s weight, the largest snowshoe is not necessarily the best choice.
If you frequently snowshoe on packed trails, flotation is less critical so think smaller, and lighter for more manuverability and ease of use. If, however, you often break trail in untracked conditions, flotation is vital for efficiency and to reduce fatigue.
Articulation is the amount of movement your foot and ankle require for maximum comfort as terrain and snow varies. A well designed snowshoe interfaces three ways on a pivot point located under the ball of the foot, the natural pivot point of your stride as you step forward. Biomechanically, this
rotating pivot responds quickly to diverse terrain and snow conditions, effectively performing like ‘four wheel drive’ in deep powder, steep slopes or challenging traverses.
The pivot point is also the balance point, which means the snowshoe, binding, and boot, all integrate seamlessly. This pivot location varies by snowshoe length, style, and gender, to optimize maneuverability and responsiveness, and eliminate shin bang or over rotation.
Control is a function of any snowshoe’s binding as the user interfaces with the snowshoe via the binding. Just like footwear, the proper fit of a binding can make all the difference in performance and enjoyment.
Traction is delivered via a snowshoe’s crampon system, which is designed and differentiated based upon intended use, tine length and placement, and crampon materials to meet the requirements of terrain and snow conditions.
Depth of tooth below the snowshoe frame, location of crampon teeth forward of the pivot point, number of crampon ‘points of contact’, overall surface area, and material (steel or aluminum) are all unique to condition of use, and to style.
Snowshoeing dates back as far as 6,000 years when North America’s first human inhabitants used a foot extender to migrate over the ice bridge in the Bering Strait.