A Reflection on Our Snowshoeing Experience

-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.

Equipment

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.

Storage

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.