Snowshoeing 101-Outfitting Snowshoe Enthusiasts
“Why do you need to go to a workshop, I mean it’s just walking on snow right?” Prior to my attendance at a recent snowshoe clinic I would have conceivably agreed with the friend of mine who said this. The truth is that snowshoeing well; it’s just not that simple. I am a rookie snowshoer who can now appreciate the intricacies and joys of the sport, thanks to the knowledge I gained at the Snowshoes.com Get Going! Workshop.
The free workshops started in November and are coming to a Recreational Equipment Incorporated near you. Julie Hudetz, outdoor adventurer and snowshoe enthusiast from Boulder, Colo. is touring 32 REI’s around the nation to teach people about the pleasures and the pains of the sport. The Nov. 8 workshop at the REI in Englewood, Colo. had approximately 50 people ranging from 7 to 60 years old with varying snowshoe abilities. No matter how the participants came to arrive at the workshop; all left with valuable lessons.
“My goal is to educate people on all of the aspects and equipment they need to enjoy the outdoors in the wintertime,” Hudetz said. The educational features of the workshop include demonstrations on shoes, equipment and clothing. Also available were resources for snowshoe enthusiast networking, and spots to explore and or discover shoeing. Much of the Nov. 8 workshop focused on debunking the somewhat complicated snowshoe gear.
One valuable tip, especially for shoers in unpredictable climates such as Colorado, is to wear layers of protection from all possible elements including, rain, heat and frost. A most essential piece for any snowshoe wardrobe is GORE-TEX, Hudetz said. She reiterated this point with a hands on demonstration.
Participants were given a package containing two gloves, one made of GORE-TEX, the other of regular plastic. Hudetz instructed participants to put the gloves on. She then passed around compressed air in a can, which participants blasted onto each gloved hand. The difference in temperature and breathability was obvious; the GORE-TEX glove was clearly a better protector than the plastic. This real life demonstration did not fall short with the participants.
“I liked the hand thing,” said Matthew Heller, 7, of Highlands Ranch, after the workshop. Matthew and his older brother Andrew, 10, and father, Sam, 34 attended the workshop in Englewood to gain a better understanding of local spots to shoe, Sam said.
“It’s hard to know with so many options,” Sam said. “This definitely helped; there are a lot of resources to go to (online).”
Hudetz also provided a lesson on how to buy the right equipment. She used the latest Atlas Snowshoe Company and Tubbs Snowshoe models to demonstrate the different technologies and reasoning for snowshoe styles. Snowshoes, much like walking or running shoes, are designed for different people and uses. When buying any snowshoe equipment the athlete should consider their gender, age and use. Women who like to run with their shoes prefer a narrower and shorter shoe. While those who are looking for incline climbs or hikes should choose a shoe with a lift out feature. All of these lessons and more will continue through the first of the year.
The last workshop is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2012 at the Denver REI from 6:30-8:30 p.m. All workshops are free of charge. The first few weeks were sold out with waiting lists, so register early. The schedule and registration are available online at www.snowshoemag.com/calendar and www.Snowshoes.com you can also contact your local REI for more information.
Heller Family attend workshop
Left to right: Andrew, 10, Sam, 34, Matthew 7 of Highlands Ranch, Colo. attended Get Going! Nov. 8 at the Englewood REI.
Julie Hudetz, outdoor adventurer and snowshoe enthusiast, of Boulder Colo.
Tubbs Snowshoe, one of the shoes demonstrated during the Get Going!
Tubbs Snowshoe representative talks to some participants about the shoes Hudetz mentioned during the Nov. 8 workshop .