SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE FEATURED ARTICLE:

Choose Your Own Snowshoe Adventure

Today I have a test for you. I know you weren’t expecting one and even mentioning that you’ll have to take one has brought that “old fear” upon you again. Relax. There are no wrong answers here. Stand quick! Think tall! Wipe the egg crumbs off your lips and take a long pull from your coffee! See if you can follow me and always be sure to Choose Your Own Adventure:

1. It’s a dull gray winter day. You are out near your local woods tromping around in 3 inches of crumby snow that shows tufts of brown grass poking up from the ground. Do you A) pathetically walk back to the car and drive to the nearest McDonalds to buy a Happy Meal to see if your toy prize will be more exciting than your snowshoeing experience was or B) run back to your car and re-park it as close to the woods as you can, opening up the doors as you blast Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Going to Take It” at full volume while you strip down to your skivvies and start jumping over logs, laughing like a hyena on a sugar high?

If you chose A) go to question 2.
If you chose B) go to question 3.

2. You leave the McDonalds with an upset stomach. Turning on the radio you hear that there is a town 3 hours away getting hit with a sudden snow squall. Do you A) Drive 85 mph to that town knowing you have to find your quiet winter wonderland soon or you’ll burst or B) drive to the 7-11 to pick up some Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and a lotto ticket in the hope that you’ll win ten million dollars so you can buy a house in the Rockies, allowing you to snowshoe 7 months out of the year?

If you chose A) go to question 4.
If you chose B) go to question 5.

3. Getting into your car, cold, but manically happy, you look upon the world with newborn eyes. You now realize, after all these years, that there are no rules and that you can do whatever you want with yourself. Do you A) Decide on the spur of the moment to visit your grandma in a town 3 hours away or B) decide that you want the image of two large wooden Snowshoes tattooed on your chest?

If you chose A) go to question 4.
If you chose B) go to question 6.

4. Three hours later you are almost to the town of Snowville when you skid off the road and get stuck in a snow bank. Strapping on your snowshoes, you decide to walk the rest of the way into town. After an hour you get lost in a blinding white wall of wind driven snow. Do you A) Escape to the woods to get out of the wind or B) seek refuge at an orphanage you spotted a mile back?

If you chose A) go to question 7.
If you chose B) go to question 8.

5. At home that night, eating the last spoonful of Chunky Monkey in front of the TV, you discover that you’ve just won 126 million dollars with your lotto ticket. Do you A) decide to give all your winnings to the United States Snowshoe Association in the hopes of promoting your greatest passion in life or B) fund a movie called “I am the Yeti” starring the French Canadian actor Pierre Jones, who is also the first man to climb Mount Everest in snowshoes with a Penguin?

If you chose A) go to question 9.
If you chose B) go to question 10.

6. At the tattoo parlor, Berserker, a bald man with one tattoo over his entire body, successfully etches two crossed wooden snowshoes on your chest with ink. When you get home your mate becomes enraged and kicks you out of the house. Do you A) drive to the town of Snowville where your grandma lives or B) fly to Hollywood to be an extra in the movie, “I am the Yeti”, a movie about a French Canadian snowshoer’s adventure on Mount Everest with his trusted penguin, Marco?

If you chose A) go to question 4.
If you chose B) go to question 10.

7. Amongst the birch and maple trees the wind quiets down and you spot a young doe eating at some rose hips. Although it is below freezing, the solitude of the woods brings warmth to your bones. Scotch pine and Cedar strike green poses against the winter backdrop while Chickadees seem to flutter around you as if you were Mary Poppins. The trees guide you to a fork in the road. The right fork has a sign that says “Orphanage Trail” while the left one has plumes of smoke rising from its timberline. Do you A) go right or B) go left?

If A) go to question 8.
If B) go to question 11.

8. You approach the Orphanage and gently knock on the door. Soon, an undersized seven-year-old boy with freckles, dimples, fawn eyes and a missing front tooth answers the door and asks, “Cans I ‘elps you mista?” Inside, you are given a tour by the young attractive caretaker of the orphanage, who greatly admires your love of snowshoeing. After some hot cider and cinnamon cake donuts, you give a lecture about the fundamentals of snowshoeing to the children, including its history with native cultures and its recent innovations in design. Do you A) adopt the little boy at the door and ask the caretaker out on a date or B) realize your knowledge of snowshoeing might be needed on more important things, like as an expert consultant for the movie, “I am the Yeti”, a story of hope, triumph, and a frozen penguin set on Mount Everest and starring Pierre Jones?

If you chose A) go to question 12.
If you chose B) go to question 10.

9. The United States Snowshoe Association eagerly accepts your monetary gifts. They purchase a private jet to escort they’re National Team Members to Italy and other racing venues. They also, with your generous support, campaign successfully for snowshoe racing to be made a Winter Olympic sport. Every year the National Champion, for both Men and Women, receives an over large trophy with your smiling bronze head on it. Snowshoeing becomes so popular that Oprah, J-Lo, Tom Cruise and the President rave about its benefits. Soon, parks and recreation areas throughout the Snow Belt regions of the U.S. receive special government funding to create exclusive snowshoe trails. You are revered and celebrated throughout the snowshoeing community as the greatest person that has ever lived.

10. You arrive on the set of “I am the Yeti” and are immediately accosted by the star of the movie, Pierre Jones, who mistakes you for a stalker. Before you can say anything, you are thrown out of the studio. Scraped, bruised and ashamed, you sit on the curb and wonder why people can’t get along anymore. You don’t stay down for long though, because your resolve is deep and your ambitions high. You immediately start to write a book entitled, “Snowshoe Transcendence: Everyday living in snowshoes.” It details how one can find an inner peace by wearing snowshoes wherever they go. Although this unorthodox method is only practiced by a few “keyed-in” people, those people have proven, in your opinion, that going grocery shopping in 35 inch wooden snowshoes actually frees you from the stresses of modern day living by getting you more in touch with the practices of your ancestors. Ten months later your book is on the New York Times best sellers list and snowshoeing is the fastest growing sport in the world.

11. The trail becomes dark and the birds stop singing. Enclosed in pine trees, whose boughs are layered with fresh snow, you push on in the hopes of reaching civilization. You drive through the choking pine and enter a clearing were you spy an old Native American man in front of a fire. He tells you to sit down and hands you a blanket. Soon it will be dark in the woods but you feel safe by the fire with the white haired Native man. He begins to tell you how his ancestors migrated from Asia across the Bering Land Bridge 6,000 years ago. He goes on to say that those ancestors used snowshoes to hunt, trap, explore and survive in the winter, that the snowshoe was an integral tool for the native people and that he knew you weren’t some weirdo from the insane asylum nearby because you wore snowshoes and “none of them crazy’s would think about grabbin’ a pair when they come alurchin’ in dees wood.” Soon Bob Chicken Legs, as he’s called, pulls out a peace pipe and passes it over to you saying, “How’s ’bout it?” You’re up late that night and your cheeks are pink and your tongue loose and Bob Chicken Legs is one hell of a fella’.

12. As it turns out the 7-year-old boy is actually a 17-year-old midget who “doesn’t mind it so much,” at the orphanage. Although that didn’t work out, the caretaker takes you up on the proposed date and soon you are proposing 5 months later. Married in an ice castle in Fairbanks, Alaska, wearing bearskin coats, Mukluks and snowshoes, you and your new spouse quickly produce a child, little Bigfoot. The little guy’s abnormal body hair growth frightens most other children and unnerves some adults but he’s a natural in the snow, ambling on all fours in the underbrush on family snowshoe outings and breaking snow for you when you take him backcountry winter camping. You’re happy now with your furry snow boy. He’s everything you’ve ever wanted and wanted to be. Living vicariously through him, via his grumbling unintelligible words and erratic wild ape like behavior, has given you a liberty you never knew you needed.