Hey! Turn Down the Heat!

Last Friday we were excited to find our new Dion racing snowshoes waiting for us in the mail. With the snowshoe racing season upon us, we had been anxiously awaiting these Vermont, hand-made shoes. Ripping into the box, we pulled out the smallest and narrowest racing snowshoes that are approved for racing. The decking is a cool winter white color – to me they look like big polar bear paws.

But wait. Back up there a minute to “winter white”. Those two words just don’t seem to go together right now in the east. The temperatures so far this winter have been so high it has felt more like November, and we’ve seen mostly rain, not snow. We’ll have to wait a while longer to try the new snowshoes out, unless we want to hit the nearest sand dune or beach.

And speaking of polar bears – they are suffering a lot more seriously from climate change than not having snow to play in. Scientists are now finding that bears are drowning because of the increasing distances they have to swim between arctic ice shelves. Aside from the plight of the polar bears, you need not look far to see the devastating effects that global warming is having on our planet. (‘An Inconvenient Truth’ does a great job explaining the threat to our planet, and is a movie everyone should see.)

The thing I can’t help but think is that most people see a less severe winter as something to celebrate. Imagine if it were SUMMER that was shrinking away to nothing. My guess is that we would have licked this problem long ago. I truly hope we collectively do whatever it takes to bring back winter, and keep it here for good. Maybe no one will do it for the snowshoers…..but everyone loves polar bears, right?



About the author


Sara Montgomery and Derrick Spafford

Derrick and Sara are trail runners from Eastern Ontario who discovered that running on snowshoes in the winter months is a great way to enjoy their favorite trails year-round. They competed in their first snowshoe series (The Mad Trapper Series in Low, Quebec) in 2005, each finishing 2nd in their respective divisions. Plans for 2006 are to return to the Mad Trapper, to take in some races in New York and Vermont, and hopefully cap their season with the U.S. Snowshoe Championships in March, as Canadian guests. Derrick runs a company, Spafford Health and Adventure (http://www.healthandadventure.com), which specializes in coaching and event promotion. He is currently planning an annual snowshoe race to be held in the Kingston area, starting this winter.