The Snowshoe Almanac – March 2006

March 4: The snowshoe tours are beginning to focus on spring. One example: Naturalists at Mad River Glen in Vermont will bring snowshoers today out into the woods to find signs of migrating birds. On March 5, they’ll do some wildlife tracking.

March 8: Greenland is a pretty extreme place to snowshoe, especially on this date in 1972. The wind gusted to 207 mph in Thule, the highest recorded wind speed on record at a low-elevation site.

March 11: The greatest snow depth for anywhere in the United States was noted on this date in 1911. At Tamarack, Calif., they measured 451 inches of snow. Hey, spring snowshoeing at its best.

March 12: The Ndakinna Education Center in Greenfield Center, N.Y. goes comprehensive on this date. According to their Web site, they’ll take any teen or adult willing to pay $100 on an Adirondack Wilderness Survival and Tracking excursion. Topics covered: Primitive and modern navigation, snow shelter construction, finding water, basic wildlife edibles, fire making, natural insulation and other skills. Cybersurvivalists can find them at http://www.ndakinnacenter.org

March 13: A big snow day in the Northeast on at least two occasions on this date. The region was hit by the Blizzard of ’88 and the “Storm of the Century” in 1993. The ’88 storm was bigger, dropping 30 to 50 inches of snow. The ’93 storm doesn’t quite live up to its billing, but it was still impressive as it deposited 1 to 3 feet from Alabama to Maine.

March 17: Last chance in the season to snowshoe with a ranger at Sun Valley, Idaho. The ranger takes people on a snowshoe trip to discuss the natural landscape and history of the area. The trip takes an hour and a half and covers one to two miles.

March 20: First day of spring. Our snowshoe days are numbered at least until the end of the year.

March 23: Red wing blackbirds are coming back for the season in northern New England. Look for noisy males in marshes establishing territories.

March 25: If in Vermont for the USSSA Snowshoe Championship at Bolton Valley Resort, find time to head off to a nearby sugar house. The race coincides with the state’s Vermont Maple Open House Weekend. Dozens of maple sugar producers welcome visitors. Enjoy warm maple syrup fresh from the evaporator. (There’s nothing like it) And you know you’re at a traditional sugar maker if they serve a pickle with the sugar on snow.

March 26: Too hot for snowshoeing in Colorado. Denver had its warmest March day, 84 degrees on this date in 1971. The year 2003 was much better: Denver had its snowiest March, with 35.2 inches for the month.

March 30: In 1998, a decent snowstorm a week before this date created some good snowshoeing in northern New England. But by the 30th, temperatures were in the 80s, higher than had ever been seen before this early in the season.

About the author

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Matt Sutkoski

Matt Sutkoski is a freelance writer and a staff reporter for the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press. He also operates a small property maintenance business. In his spare time he enjoys recreational snowshoeing, trail running and hiking.

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