Change is a good thing.
The light of day is shortened by the beckoning darkness, geese are flying overhead, the angle and intensity of the sun is different, there is a noticeable nip in the blustery wind. September is the advent of the football season, the apple picking excursions, the commencement of another school year, and the rest of it.
The beauty of September in Rhode Island and similar venues is that summer has officially ended. This is a gold mine for snowshoers. The mostly deserted beaches provide not only a welcomed cross-training diversion from road and trail running, cycling, and the gym workouts, but a tutorial for our winter exploits. Inspect your prized possessions and rekindle your snowshoe gait at the beach, desert, or similar locale where you reside.
The sand offers a treasure trove of lessons and a reliable barometer of your winter fitness level – whether you are a competitive, recreational, or first-time snowshoer. The beach sand – wet or dry – does a fine job of mimicking what you can expect once the snow nestles on the ground. The surfers, kayakers, and onlookers previously aghast at the presence of a lone snowshoer on the beach now witness legions of people scratching their winter itch.
The Ocean State offers hundreds of coastline miles of the granular substance in addition to dunes, reservoirs, state parks, open spaces, and other jewels harboring the particulate for snowshoers to test their mettle.
September is an appropriate time to assess your winter plans, just in case you were too busy enjoying the summer to get it done. It’s a prime time for existing snowshoers to showcase the sport to others.
In order to enhance your snowshoe experience during the winter it is advisable to put forth some effort during the off-season so to speak. You are well-advised to acclimate your body representative of your intended exertion level. Competitive snowshoers know that the work done during the off-season will profoundly impact their performances during the season. This is true for the recreational, backcountry, and the first-time snowshoer.
If you have chosen to forgo your fitness regimen during the summer, or you are simply contemplating the snowshoe experience, there is still some time to help prepare for the grandeur of winter. The first step is to visit your sports-knowledgeable physician. It is an opportune time to discuss some necessary planning to optimize your winter goals.
Merely walking in snowshoes will expend more energy, elevate your heart rate, and test your musculature more than you might think. Snowshoeing has a short learning curve with minimal impact on your joints. Proper conditioning will only heighten your experience and help prevent or mitigate injuries often induced by fatigue.
If you possess a membership to a gym or a fitness facility – use it. If you have equipment at home or a facility on site at your apartment complex – use it. Consult a certified trainer about how to prepare for the upcoming winter. He or she ought to be able to provide tips or design a program to incorporate at least strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility training specific to your age, fitness level, and relative to the type of snowshoeing planned. Never underestimate the far-reaching importance of nutrition and hydration. Read books like those listed below. Request catalogs from manufacturers. Educate yourself.
Check with local ski shops, associations, outdoor stores, the park service, and so forth to learn more about snowshoes, local trails, and the appropriate apparel for your region of the world. September is often a time when retailers have tent or pre-season sales on winter equipment and apparel. Snowshoeing is a low-cost way to experience the splendor of winter; it’s also the most intrinsically rewarding.
Take a risk…rent a pair. You will not be disappointed. The exhilaration will hook you. You will begin to understand why it is the fastest-growing winter sport.
The Earth offers us abundance. Snowshoeing is a safe way to witness its reverence and even learn more about yourself. I encourage you today to place a value on your fitness, to try something different, to enjoy our planet during the winter. Your snowshoes can handle what our Earth has to offer.
The question becomes whether or not you are willing to accept the opportunity.
Live with boldness. Explore the inner sanctity of perhaps the most sublimed form of human exertion in its purest, most simple manner – whether you are at 11,000 feet or in the backyard with your kids. You are limited only by your imagination.
“Snowshoeing” by Gene Prater;
“The Essential Snowshoer” by Marianne Zwosta
“The Winter Athlete” by Steve Ilg