Snowshoe Magazine https://www.snowshoemag.com The snowshoeing experience for snowshoers around the world: snowshoe racing, snowshoes, gear reviews, events, recreation, first-timers. Fri, 18 Jan 2019 15:17:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.3 28162661 Snowshoes Optional! Scott Mittman Ices MDRA 7 https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/01/18/snowshoes-optional-scott-mittman-ices-mdra-7/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/01/18/snowshoes-optional-scott-mittman-ices-mdra-7/#respond Fri, 18 Jan 2019 15:17:56 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=91144 After 2018’s incredible Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA) 7 race, be ready to join the fun at 2019’s edition on Saturday, March 30. NOTE: registration opens January 19!

But first, a recap of the icy 2018 race…

THE 2018 RACE… Continue reading

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After 2018’s incredible Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA) 7 race, be ready to join the fun at 2019’s edition on Saturday, March 30. NOTE: registration opens January 19!

But first, a recap of the icy 2018 race…

THE 2018 RACE

MDRA 7 Mile runners woke to a—surprise!—screaming snow event on the blustery Saturday morning in the last day of March 2018. A natural comeback might be “You must be joking”, except April Fool’s Day waited one day away.

Lisa Baumert (L) and Kelly Boler race together to share the women’s win. Ttoc Greg chases after them. (photo Joe Boler)

Race Director Heidi Miler told anxious entrants, who were waiting to brave the slick surfaces as temperatures continued dropping, sealing all melted flakes: “Use this as a training run today.”


Leading others in the race’s early stage, Mittman (r) and Kellmann recorded the win and second place respectively (photo Wayne Kryduba)

That advice fell on frozen ears as 11 managed a six-minute pace. They were led by Scott Mittman’s 6:02, who landed a 42:18 overall win for Iowa’s only entrant.

Well off the record, Mittman’s Luther College cross-country experience—securing two All-Iowa Conference awards earlier in the decade—came in handy with the 7’s slippery surfaces. Selection to the All-Academic Team three times led to a 2017 Northern Arizona University MS in mathematics. He now serves as an assistant coach for Luther’s Norse track and field team in Decorah, a center for Norwegian-American culture.

(photo Wayne Kryduba)

Scott said, “I wore my normal training shoes.  I tried to pay attention more to my internal sense of effort than to external things like pace. The ice and snow certainly made the running a little more difficult, especially over the first couple of miles, not unlike running on loose rock.  On the other hand, the snow and ice made for a novel experience.  Not too many events would have gone forward in such conditions, but I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s glad that this one did.”

With a 6:09 pace, St Paul’s Kurt Kellmann won the overall silver slot after reaching the finish line,  that curves around the Cross of Glory Church intersection of Shady Oak/Excelsior Boulevard for about a quarter-mile sprint.

Scott noted, “Kurt and I found ourselves at the front midway through the first mile.  I think I got some separation from him after two or three miles and led the rest of the way.  This was my first time running this event.  I was up in the Twin Cities visiting a couple of friends who convinced me to enter the race.  I had a great time running and thought it was an extremely well-run event.”

The MDRA ‘boggin has never been more appropriate, plus the red design stands out

Third overall found Lisa Baumert and Kelly Boler, teammates with the Twin Cities Track Club, tying at 45:22. They also captured first place for the women’s class. Kelly minced no words when describing the conditions: “A miserable morning for a race . . . Rock solid, refrozen slush . . . Oh, and 25 mph winds.”

She added that her and Lisa often finish near one another, and today was no exception though not planned. “We both realized as we warmed up on frozen slush this was not a day for PRs. As the race progressed, we fell into a comfortably uncomfortable tempo-pace together. We were keeping it quick, but also didn’t feel the need to push to the point where we might fall or really battle one another.” They talked back-and-forth, mainly about the icy, snowy roads and sidewalks, plus of course the wind.

RD Heidi Miler rouses racers just before the start (photo Wayne Kryduba)

(photo Wayne Kryduba)

Lisa described the rough, icy sidewalks saying, “Conditions on Saturday were definitely not ideal. There was never a time that the footing wasn’t ice, snow, or ice-and-snow covered. The course was pretty hilly, the wind brutal particularly when you crested a hill. Kelly and I both went into it hoping to have a solid race, but also intending to use it as a workout tool in our training for Grandma’s. I’m running the marathon and Kelly the half. When we warmed up and saw the condition of the roads and sidewalks we’d be running, our goal shifted to staying on our feet. We both ran in training shoes versus our normal running flats for some extra support.”

In a theme of the day for those who participated, Lisa pointed out: “It was a fun morning, though.” Giving a shout-out to the effort to have the race, she added, “I love MDRA races. The care and friendliness of the race officials and volunteers are second-to-none.”

Kelly added, “We had a fun and memorable run together.” Along with some other TCTC women not racing, Lisa and Kelly gathered for a post-race meal at Yum! Kitchen near Shady Oak Road and Crosstown Highway.

Additional Finishers

Ttocs Gerg finished out the men’s top-three following Baumert/Boler past the race clock.

Kiley Green won the women’s bronze while snaring 12th overall in 49:38. She was chased to the tape by David Gutermuth and Kraig Lungstrom. Suzie Fox made the Top 5 along with Golden Colorado’s Sarah Carrasco, who mined a 55:56 nugget of a finish.

Five rounding out the Top 10: James Rinek (1st 30 age), Doug Schroeder (2nd 30), Daniel Johnson (1st 60), Rily Moynihan, and Tim McManus (Eau Claire, WI). Then Aaron Rendahl (1st 40) nailed the last finish in the 6’s.

Suzie Fox on her way to a Top 5 class finish (photo Wayne Kryduba)

Minnetrista’s Mary Ryan took first in the 60+ women’s class in 1:07:45, the most senior female finisher of the day.

Vince Rohr (74) won his age class in 1:14:59 and Phil Erickson (77), second in class. Darrell Christensen, winner of the 80-age group, crossed behind Erickson by a couple of minutes.

Passing the aid station at mile-marker 4, Randy Fulton supplied goodies with his big-bear smile and effusive way, sending everyone up the Rowland/Bren mountain peak in a good mood. Norm Champ pointed racers to the right path to get that finish, “Just a quarter-mile left!”

Heidi concluded, “I have been working on-and-off in some capacity at the MDRA 7 Miler for at least 25 years, and these were the worst conditions I have ever seen. The runners amaze me with their fortitude and also how darn fast they can run in glare ice; nothing seems to phase this crowd. I guess these are the conditions that the MDRA Spring races were made for so many years ago.  They are certainly a test of runner’s Spring fitness or provide a good a kick in the pants.”

Turning on Shady Oak Road, now with a face full of wind, 84 (including two after the clock) hardy—and hearty—competitors raced the two miles for 2018’s MDRA 7 conclusion on the race’s most challenging day.

All of the 2018 results can be found here  or at runmdra.org.

contact: phillip@ultrasuperior.com

 

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Winter Guide to the Best of Lake Louise, Banff National Park https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/01/16/winter-guide-to-the-best-of-lake-louise-banff-national-park/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/01/16/winter-guide-to-the-best-of-lake-louise-banff-national-park/#respond Wed, 16 Jan 2019 18:24:18 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=92491 Those of us living in Southern Alberta, Canada, know that if we want snow, Lake Louise is the place to go! Even when the prairies are dry, bleak, and completely brown, it is always a winter wonderland at Lake Louise.… Continue reading

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Those of us living in Southern Alberta, Canada, know that if we want snow, Lake Louise is the place to go! Even when the prairies are dry, bleak, and completely brown, it is always a winter wonderland at Lake Louise.

Living in Calgary, I haven’t seen much snow yet this winter. I see the photos coming in from Lake Louise though, and the snow is sitting on the trees like giant mushroom caps. Trails are groomed and tracked for skiing or snowshoeing. The lake is already cleared for ice-skating (with a giant ice castle built on it!)

I love magical Lake Louise and hope you will add it to your winter bucket list if you haven’t been fortunate enough to visit yet.

Try ice-skating in one of the most beautiful locations in the Canadian Rockies

Affordable Accommodations at Lake Louise

While there is no shortage of luxury hotels and resorts at or near Lake Louise, we prefer to stay at the Lake Louise Alpine Centre.  The Alpine Centre is an upscale version of a youth hostel, with a communal kitchen and fireside lounge area. There is also a restaurant on site for those wanting the occasional break from cooking.

Book a private room at the Alpine Centre if you want a bit more privacy for your family or group. There are several options for rooms, and some come with their own private bathroom.

Find affordable accommodations at the Lake Louise Alpine Centre

Ski or snowshoe right out the door of the Alpine Centre, where you’ll find trails leading up to the lake and along the scenic Bow River. You’ll be located a short walk from the Village Centre, where you’ll find rentals for any sport you wish to pursue during your stay. You can also grab a free shuttle to the nearby ski hill when you’re in the village.

Walk out the door of the Alpine Centre to access trails like this around the Village of Lake Louise

Winter Adventure Guide for Lake Louise

Go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or fat biking on the village trails

Stop in at the Visitor Centre in the village for a trail map of the area. During the winter season, the Moraine Lake Road is closed to vehicles and is converted to a 7-mile long trail (one way) for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or fat biking. Make it to the end of the official trail and you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views of the lake.

Gorgeous views on the Moraine Lake Road, Lake Louise (Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography)

For a snowshoe specific trail, I recommend trying the Louise Creek Trail. This trail connects the Alpine Centre, the Village, and the Upper Lake in a 3.5-mile-long trip one way. Hike up to the lake with your ice skates, and grab a coffee in the Chateau. Then enjoy a nice leisurely hike back down to the Alpine Centre.

For Nordic skiers, I recommend skiing across Lake Louise to the far end. Here you’ll be rewarded with views of Louise Falls. You can also walk across the lake to view the falls if you prefer snowshoeing.

The Bow River Loop is another great option for skiing from the Alpine Centre. This 4-mile long loop starts and ends at the Village.  You can hop on the trail right from the hostel.

The Visitor Centre can recommend many other trails for whichever sport you prefer to try. Or you can spend a few days here and try them all!

Hike or ski across frozen Lake Louise to see the frozen waterfalls at the far end

Louise Falls at the back of Lake Louise, a short ski or hike away

Spend a day at the Lake Louise Ski Resort

Spend a day at the Lake Louise Ski Resort and enjoy downhill skiing (the obvious choice) or a variety of other activities including guided snowshoe hikes, sightseeing gondola rides, and tubing.

My son and I enjoyed the scenic half-day snowshoe tour at the resort, which includes a 30-minute return gondola ride. While we enjoy both skiing and snowshoeing, this is a great activity for those who do not ski, but still want to ride the gondola to enjoy the views from the top of the resort. The tour then goes on to explore the ridgetop above, just outside the ski area.

Enjoy a guided snowshoe tour at the Lake Louise Ski Resort

Go Ice-skating on Lake Louise and play on mountains of snow around the lake

Visitors can try ice-skating on the few rinks that are always cleared off on the lake. This is in one of the most beautiful locations in the Canadian Rockies and is beside an ice castle that is usually built in time for Christmas. The Chateau beside the lake provides skates for rent.

Ice-skating doesn’t get better than this at Lake Louise

You can also attend the Ice Magic Festival which runs from January 16th to January 27th for 2019. The festival has many family-friendly activities and features an ice carving competition as the main highlight. The completed ice sculptures along with the ice castle can be viewed throughout the winter until they melt in spring.

If you’re visiting with children, make sure you also bring sleds with you to enjoy on the hill located beside the Chateau. My son had a fabulous time skating, sledding, and playing on gigantic mountains of snow when we were at Lake Louise last winter.

Sledding at Lake Louise with mountains of snow everywhere to play in

Go dog sledding with Kingmit Dog Sled Tours

Kingmit Dog Sled Tours is the only professional dog sledding company in Banff National Park. Sign up for a tour and enjoy flying along the Great Divide Trail in a cozy sled pulled by a beautiful team of Alaskan Huskies. A trained musher guides each sled, but you can try driving the sled together with your guide on the return journey.

Dogsledding is a historic means of travel in the Canadian Rockies. This is a one-of-a-kind winter experience to try when visiting Lake Louise.

Dog sledding at Lake Louise (Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography)

Take an overnight backcountry adventure into Skoki Lodge

Sign up for a guided backcountry snowshoe or ski trip into Skoki Lodge for 1-3 nights, all meals included. The journey begins at the Lake Louise Ski Resort with a ride up the gondola, followed by downloading a chairlift to Temple Lodge on the backside of the resort. From here, you’ll hike or ski 7 miles into the lodge over two alpine passes and across scenic Ptarmigan Lake.

For more information, read my previous story: In Search of the Ultimate Backcountry Ski Lodge (on snowshoes)

Sign up for a guided backcountry ski or snowshoe trip into Skoki Lodge from the Lake Louise Resort

Take a day tour to explore Banff National Park

Visitors spending several days at Lake Louise, will want to go exploring a bit beyond the village and the lake. I recommend taking a day trip to the Town of Banff, a 40-minute drive away. Here you can visit the hot springs or take a ride on the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. You can also go for a short drive out to Lake Minnewanka, Banff’s longest lake.

Take a day tour to Banff to visit the hot springs (Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Noel Hendrickson)

Going the other direction from Lake Louise, I recommend driving the scenic Icefields Parkway, one of the most beautiful highways in Canada. The Parkway heads towards the Columbia Icefields and Jasper National Park. Make sure you stop at Bow Summit along the way for a short 30-minute hike to the viewpoint overlooking Peyto Lake. This is one of the most photographed lakes in the Canadian Rockies. It is a 30-minute drive from Lake Louise to Bow Summit.

Reaching the Peyto Lake viewpoint is easy with a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis. You will follow a road (closed to vehicles in winter) up to the summer tour bus parking lot. From the parking lot, it is a 5-minute walk to the viewing platform. (Note that there is avalanche danger beyond the platform. Please return the same way and don’t go exploring too far afield.)

For more information on touring Banff National Park or the Icefields Parkway, stop in at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre for maps, detailed brochures, and suggestions for where to safely hike in winter without avalanche danger.

Ski or hike to the Peyto Lake Viewpoint on the Icefields Parkway

 

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Snowshoeing Through 25 Years https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/01/13/snowshoeing-through-25-years/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/01/13/snowshoeing-through-25-years/#respond Sun, 13 Jan 2019 23:22:28 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=92582 Putting on my snowshoes for the first time each winter is like a rebirth. Having done so before many times, the experience still seems new and fresh. I had that feeling again today as I headed out on my Continue reading

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Putting on my snowshoes for the first time each winter is like a rebirth. Having done so before many times, the experience still seems new and fresh. I had that feeling again today as I headed out on my snowshoes for the first time this season.” (Jim Joque, 2018 journal)

Finding time to journal after snowshoeing

For many years, I kept an outdoor-nature journal. I currently write my outdoor adventures and observations in my tenth cloth-bound journal. Periodically, I page through a volume to look at past details of a trip or to reminisce.

In thumbing through 25 years of pages in my journals (1993 through 2018), I found some passages taking me back to a few snowshoeing adventures that provided me with fond memories. Here are a few quotes and stories that come to mind.

We were out about 100 yards or so in two feet of snow, when Liz (my wife) stopped and said, ‘Is this your idea of fun?’ We turned around and went back to the Center. End of snowshoeing for her.” (Jim Joque, 1993 Journal)

Well, not really. Liz and I have since snowshoed a few times, it being a wonderful activity for couples. Her first time snowshoeing was on a pair of traditional wood-framed snowshoes rented from a nature center. We set out that day breaking trail through very deep snow. I looked forward to hiking through scenic wooded hills in Hixon Forest and over the snow-covered La Crosse River Marsh at Myrick Park in Wisconsin. However, my wife’s bindings were not compatible with her boots. She soon gave up after a very short distance.

At the time, my traditional snowshoes were a pair of green-mountain, modified bearpaws with leather webbing and neoprene bindings. A couple years later, I bought aluminum-frame Tubbs Eclipse recreation snowshoes that lasted a long time. Currently, I use Northern Lites Backcountry. I believe if my wife had better fitted traditional snowshoes or a pair of aluminum-frame shoes for her first time snowshoeing, she may have lasted longer….perhaps another 100 yards.

I bought a pair of snowshoes for Jade (my granddaughter). It amazed me that as soon as she put them on, she took off walking in the snow. She took to snowshoeing like a duck to water.” (Jim Joque, 1999 Journal)

Author Jim Joque with his granddaughters on Rib Mountain in 2003

I am so glad to have introduced my two granddaughters to snowshoeing at an early age. At that time, Jade was two years old. Four years later she was six and her younger sister Amber, was two. I took their family on a snowshoeing hike at Wisconsin’s Rib Mountain State Park. It delighted me to see the girls take to the snow. However, half way up a hill Amber became tired and ended up getting a free ride over her mother’s shoulder the rest of the way.

It is so important to introduce snowshoeing to children. Snowshoeing provides kids with a healthy recreation that can benefit them for a lifetime. For several seasons, a co-instructor and I led a weekend snowshoe program for kids and parents at Treehaven, a 1400-acre property of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). We taught basic snowshoe skill, went on nature hikes, played games on snowshoes, and told stories after making s’mores around an evening campfire.

Low and behold we found wolf tracks. It was very exciting to see actual wolf tracks in the wild. But then, it got even more intriguing. We followed the tracks into the woods about 25 yards or so and found a deer kill. As unpleasant as it was to see hide and head, it was most interesting to see the natural survival instinct of animals in the wild.” (Jim Joque, 2002 Journal)

I participated in a wolf study seminar at UWSP’s Treehaven where we snowshoed into the backcountry tracking wolves. During the program, our group found wolf tracks in the snow along the trail. We followed the tracks that led to a dead deer. We were most surprised to see how thorough the wolves were in cleaning out their prey.

Observing wildlife in nature on snowshoes can be challenging and exciting. All you need besides your snowshoes and a daypack with hiking essentials are binoculars, wildlife and bird field guides, tracking identification guide, and a camera. Don’t forget a pencil and your journal.

This is the third year teaching an 8-week snowshoeing college course. It keeps getting better, and students seem more satisfied with the class…probably since we spend more or most of the time outdoors.” (Jim Joque, 2004 Journal)

A college snowshoeing class on trail at UWSP’s Treehaven

I loved teaching snowshoeing skills to college students. But there was much more involved to the many courses I taught over 17 years. Once basic skills were mastered, students would hike trails, climb steep hills, and learn about snowshoes, clothing, layering, footwear, winter safety, survival skills, and more. Finally, we split into teams and played games on snowshoes, including ball games, hide-and-seek, racing, and maze challenges.

Most of my snowshoeing classes were weekend, 1-credit courses for UWSP. I also taught an 8-week course, where on our final evening I took students on a snowshoe hike up Rib Mountain. When reaching the summit, I grilled bratwurst with all the fixings. That was a memorable way to conclude a course.

Darkness was about an hour away. But in route we crossed a creek and one of my students went through ice…and he was in jeans. So, his boots, socks and jeans were wet. I decided to return to Balsam campsite, set up tents, start a fire and get this student into dry clothes.” (Jim Joque, 2005 Journal)

I also taught camping and backpacking courses at the university for as long as I taught snowshoeing. In addition to 1-credit weekend courses, I taught a 3-credit introduction to camping and backpacking. I concluded the course with a winter camping trip…often on snowshoes.

Warming up before setting up camp on a winter trip in the Sylvania Wilderness

The winter trip to Sylvania Wilderness Area of Upper Michigan where my student went through ice on a creek was quite a challenge, given the potential danger for hypothermia and frostbite. Temperatures were in the single digits. My students acted quickly. I had some of them gather kindling and start a fire, while others set up a tent. I immediately had the wet student change out of his clothing and into dry clothes. He spent that evening at the campfire with his boots hanging on sticks to dry.

There were a few stairs that led up to the Roche-A-Cri mound to view the side of the sandstone wall with Native American pictographs. We found them, but they were quite faint.” (Jim Joque, 2008 Journal)

When snowshoeing for the purpose of exploring nature and history, I find it enriching and a learning experience. Places where friends and I have explored trails include: Upper Michigan and Wisconsin state parks, forests, recreation areas, wildlife areas and state trails; National forests, wilderness areas and national scenic trails – specifically the Ice Age Trail and North Country Trail; county and city parks, university land and conservancy land. The trails, nature, history and fabulous sights seem never ending.

The park where a friend and I found the Native American pictographs and petroglyphs was at Wisconsin’s Roche-A-Cri State Park. Our small discovery was significant in that it reminded us of the importance of those who lived and cared for the land before us. The geologically unique 300 foot high rock mound is the park’s main feature.

I snowshoed toward the lake. When I got up on a ridge, I found a bench and took a break there. I had a great view looking down on Trout Lake.” (Jim Joque, 2013 Journal)

I enjoy snowshoeing trips with friends, and I also enjoy taking an occasional trip by myself. On one such trip in Wisconsin’s Northern Highland American Legion State Forest, I spent the day driving to various designated snowshoeing trailheads to explore a segment on each trail. I visited Crystal Lake, Fallison Lake, Star Lake, Escanaba Lake, White Sand Lake and Trout Lake.

One of many trails in the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest

The author taking a break on a bench overlooking Trout Lake

While hiking on the North Trout Nature Trail, I took a break at a bench that overlooked Trout Lake. Finding benches are rare, but a nice stop after spending most of the day on snowshoes. I enjoyed looking down on a frozen lake and at winter scenery of snow topped conifers.

The 10K race started at 10 AM with 16 racers. There were 86 5K racers who started about 10:20. I stood beyond the starting area about 50 or so yards to point the way…followed by my spot later for pointing the way to the finish line.” (Jim Joque, 2016 Journal)

Snowshoe racing is an integral part of snowshoeing sports. Its popularity has grown in the past couple decades bringing athletes and spectators together at community events. The United States Snowshoe Association (USSSA) has contributed greatly to keeping snowshoe racing active and alive. During the winter season, races are held regionally around northern parts of the country, culminating with the USSSA National Snowshoe Championships. Championships this season are scheduled for March 8-10, 2019, at the Lakewoods Resort in Cable, Wisconsin.

And they are off…. at the Treehaven Tromp

For six years, ending in 2017, Treehaven sponsored the “Treehaven Tromp” snowshoe races. A little over 100 racers from around Wisconsin and beyond participated annually for 5K and 10K racing events. Many participants were from the regional Braveheart Snowshoe Racing Series. At the time, Treehaven Tromp was a qualifying race for Braveheart and USSSA, as well being a local race. I did not compete, but I did work the start and finish lines.

In addition to snowshoe racing, other snowshoeing community events include candlelight hikes and moonlight hikes, often sponsored by nature centers, parks, recreation programs and schools. Attending such events are worth writing in your journal.

Maintaining an outdoor-nature journal has provided me with records and memories. I hope to continue recording activities and events for years to come. My journals also remind me how time goes by and how important it is in finding a quiet place to reflect on occasion. I did just that on my 50th birthday many years ago.

Liz said, ’What do you want to do for your birthday?’ I just wanted to spend the afternoon snowshoeing on Rib Mountain. So on my 50th birthday, I took my snowshoes, bought a Turtle candy bar (my favorite) and headed up Rib Mountain by myself. At the first bench, I stopped and ate my Turtle bar. I was captivated by the natural beauty of the forest, fresh with its thick blanket of snow. This moment gave me time to enjoy the winter views of Rib Mountain and also to reflect on my 50 years. I felt in harmony with my immediate winter surroundings and complacent with my point in life.” (Jim Joque, 2000 Journal)

 

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Stay Warm and Dry On the Move with the Lightweight Lifaloft Insulator Jacket by Helly Hansen https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/01/13/stay-warm-and-dry-on-the-move-with-the-lightweight-lifaloft-insulator-jacket-by-helly-hansen/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/01/13/stay-warm-and-dry-on-the-move-with-the-lightweight-lifaloft-insulator-jacket-by-helly-hansen/#respond Sun, 13 Jan 2019 18:32:09 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=92575 Call me seriously impressed with a new offering by Helly Hansen.

For about the last month, I’ve been trying out the Lifaloft Insulator Jacket, and it’s been a bit of a revelation.

This jacket is amazingly light and thin, … Continue reading

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Call me seriously impressed with a new offering by Helly Hansen.

For about the last month, I’ve been trying out the Lifaloft Insulator Jacket, and it’s been a bit of a revelation.

This jacket is amazingly light and thin, yet amazingly warm as a piece of active wear. It’s made with fiber and down proof fabrics, along with the Lifaloft lightweight insulation. It’s been so awesome it’s pretty much blown me away.

“Feel lighter yet warmer with our revolutionary new insulation jacket,” Helly Hansen proclaims on its website. “An exclusive collaboration combining our unique LIFA® technology with Primaloft® insulation and extensive expertise in synthetic insulation. The new LIFALOFT™ insulation retains more heat while remaining lightweight and comfortable during even the most intensive activities.”

I haven’t had quite enough snow to go snowshoeing as yet, but as a winter hiking jacket and for shoveling my 300-foot driveway, it’s been incredibly useful.

Lightweight, Warm, and Dry On The Move

The hooded version of the jacket is what I’ve been trying out. It’s as light as a windbreaker but remarkably warm while moving around. It’s definitely not a “standing-around” piece of apparel. This jacket is designed to keep you warm while you’re moving, and it might be one of the ultimate items of apparel for that I’ve ever encountered.

Since it’s so lightweight (0.84 lbs for a size large), it will also easily double as a mid-layer as occasion demands, in truly cold weather. On its own, I’ve worn it in temperatures down to -13 Celsius, and I’ve been completely comfortable while on the move.

Even better, it’s treated with a durable water repellent finish, and the insulation itself rejects moisture and is wicking. I’ve had some wet snow and rain simply slide off this jacket, which is very helpful.

It doubles up as a great car coat too. The lack of bulk makes it perfect for driving.

Keep A Look Out For Fit and Accessories

There are a few minor shortcomings in the jacket, though. The fit is a bit questionable, especially through the torso, where I found it runs tight… and that’s after I’ve dropped nearly 50 pounds and several inches due to some ongoing medical problems. A looser fit would definitely help, as would the double zipper I always look for in a longer winter jacket.

The hood is quite functional and the size is about right for me, although it lacks any adjustment if needed.

There are two hand-warmer pockets, and two interior pockets at the bottom. An addition of a chest pocket, whether internal or external, would be welcome.

It also lacks a carrying pouch, which would be a highly-useful addition.

Those aren’t much more than minor quibbles, though. All in all, this is a jacket I wouldn’t want to be without, and I’m using it far more than anything else I have in my closet currently.

The Helly Hansen Lifaloft Insulator Jacket is available in 5 colors: graphite black, grenadine, black matte, Olympian blue, and black. The jacket can be purchased at hellyhansen.com.

Helly Hansen provided the Lifaloft Insulator Jacket for testing by Snowshoe Magazine. The opinions expressed in this article, however, are the writer’s own honest opinion of the product. 

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Don’t Forget To Stretch! https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/01/02/dont-forget-to-stretch/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/01/02/dont-forget-to-stretch/#respond Wed, 02 Jan 2019 21:04:48 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=92518 Snowshoeing is a great way to stay in shape and have a great time doing it too. There’s just something about being in nature, hiking trails covered in fresh snow, that really brings us back to the days of our … Continue reading

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Snowshoeing is a great way to stay in shape and have a great time doing it too. There’s just something about being in nature, hiking trails covered in fresh snow, that really brings us back to the days of our ancestors that never had to sit in a crowded office all day. While the benefits of exercise like snowshoeing far outweigh the risks, there’s an important step that many people forget to take to help keep those risks to a minimum. Stretching!

Stretching your muscles after exercise helps maintain your joints full range of motion and your muscles flexibility. Without it, your muscles can become tight and unable to extend fully, which can cause joint pain, muscle strain, and even muscle damage.

By making stretching part of your normal routine after a great day out on the trail, you’ll decrease your risk of injury while increasing your performance. There’s just one more thing to keep in mind. It’s best to stretch after a brief warm up, such as starting your hike, or stretching once you’ve walked for about 10 minutes, or after the hike itself. This isn’t an exact science, so have fun with it. Try stretching once you get to your first checkpoint, the first trailhead marker, or while you’re talking with your friends about all the birch trees you saw on the trail. Mix it up.

One thing to remember, make it fun!

Here are 4 stretches that will help you improve your flexibility and keep your muscles healthy:

Standing Quad Stretch

This exercise helps stretch the muscles in the front of your leg. These muscles can become quite tight, especially after a long hike.

To perform this stretch, stand up straight in a neutral position and bend your leg behind you and hold onto your ankle or foot with the opposite hand. Using your opposite hand makes it easier to keep your leg and knee straight without putting unnecessary strain on your MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) and knee joint. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Do 3 repetitions on each leg.

Standing Calf Stretch

This exercise helps stretch the lower part of the leg, your calf, and helps reduce your risk of an Achilles tendon tear when the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) become strained and tight.

Stand up straight and place the leg you want to stretch about a foot behind your opposite leg. While keeping your back leg straight, lower your front leg as if you were doing a single leg lunge. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg. Do 3 repetitions on each side.

You can also perform a variation of this stretch by placing your hands on a hard surface like a large tree or your car and lean into it until you feel the stretch. This variation provides more stability and support for those that need it.

Heel Drop Stretch

This is a great stretch for your calves and it can quickly turn into a fun strengthening exercise for them too. If you’ve ever dived off of a diving board this one is for you!

Position yourself with your toes on the edge of a flat raised surface like a staircase and lower your heels below you. Hold this position for 30 seconds. To improve strength, lower yourself slowly, resisting the pull of gravity until you reach the stretch. Then slowly perform a calf raise by using your calf muscles and raising yourself above the step until you’re on your toes.

A fun adventure I’d always like to go on is during a hike I’d always look for rocks I could do these exercises on. They are difficult to find sometimes because of the need for a very flat stable surface, which made it even more exciting when I’d find one and do a few calf stretches and raises on. Plus, I’d usually have to go off of the trail (just a little bit of course!) and who doesn’t want to take unexpected adventures off course from time to time?

Standing Forward Bend

This yoga exercise also stretches the calves while stretching both the hamstrings and hips. It also helps relieve tension in your spine, back, and neck.

Stand up straight and bend forward at your hips, keeping your legs straight. Run your hands down your legs as you bend forward, lengthening your torso while pressing your heels into the ground until you can touch your ankles. Hold for 30 seconds.

Remember, it’s a lot easier to make stretching a habit if it’s fun to do, so don’t worry if you only do one or two of these exercises or experiment with different variations of these stretches and make them your own. The goal is to keep your muscles healthy so the only thing that breaks down are your snowshoes!

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Don’t Stress Out: Pre-Race Anxiety Tips https://www.snowshoemag.com/2018/12/27/dont-stress-out-pre-race-anxiety-tips/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2018/12/27/dont-stress-out-pre-race-anxiety-tips/#respond Thu, 27 Dec 2018 17:08:52 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=92468 Standing at the starting line ready to race is always exciting despite butterflies in my stomach. Once I am settled in my pace, the butterflies are gone.

Pre-race anxiety is not uncommon according to health clinician, mental performance consultant, and Continue reading

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Duncan O’Mahony prepping for a race

Standing at the starting line ready to race is always exciting despite butterflies in my stomach. Once I am settled in my pace, the butterflies are gone.

Pre-race anxiety is not uncommon according to health clinician, mental performance consultant, and avid runner Duncan O’Mahony. He said, “Because all sports put the individual under a certain amount of stress, all athletes will experience anxiety in their sport. Anxiety is to be viewed as either facilitative or debilitative with regards to performance. In the general population an anxiety disorder is thought to affect 1 in 3 people at some point in their lifetime.”

O’Mahony, in his private practice works with high performance athletes ranging in age from eight and up. He said, “Amongst this population most are healthy individuals trying to push themselves to greatness, while the others are exceptional athletes who have concurrent mental health concerns that are affecting their performance.”

Racing hard to the finish in first place

Ways to Cope

What helps me do my best in the event, is the following:

Be well prepared for your event

Visualize the route and how you are going to feel at each mile

Do a warm-up before the start that helps you to relax

Last, but not least, keep a positive mindset. Focus on success instead of worrying about the outcome.

Be Well Prepared for the Event

Preparation is the key to dealing with anxiety while training for an event such as a marathon or a snowshoeing race. Having a plan will keep you calm, and to also have a back up plan is a good idea just in case your fitness goal has changed. If you have been training for a half but you are not ready, then perhaps do a shorter distance.

Visualize the Route

Duncan mentions, “The old cliché practice like you play and play like you practice is a good rule of thumb. The use of visualization, breathing techniques, and even goal setting are important in the training phase. Anxiety for most people is either a physical or cognitive trait. Understand how your anxiety manifests and how you respond to it is the first step in taming it,” he adds.

Do A Warm Up Before You Start

There are many benefits to warming-up before the race. Warming-up helps prevent injuries and also warms up your muscles, which enhance your performance. Before every race, I normally jog for about 5-10 minutes depending on the distance. In my warm-up to fight off pre-race jitters, I will run part of the course to get a better feel for it. It is also a good idea to do about a 5 minute cool-down followed by some stretching.

Positive Mindset

O’Mahony notes, “Positive self-talk goes a long way to calming the nerves and getting someone in their optimal state of mind. Trigger and cue words are good reminders when self-doubt creeps in. This can be a power phrase, a single word, or even a tactile thing, such as pulling on a jersey, slapping your leg, pumping up your chest. Make it your own and make it have meaning to you.”

“Mindful breathing is important. Using your breath as an anchor to focus your self and to let the thoughts come and go is a skill that takes repeated practice and is very effective when used.”

Managing anxiety can help you reach the finish line!

Anxiety As A Tool for Success

I asked Duncan about the relationship between anxiety and athletic performance.

He explains, “Anxiety is a necessity to perform at one’s best. Too much anxiety and performance will drop, not enough and performance will come up short. Basically, anxiety is the body’s physical response to stress. We need it for survival. Athletes over time become aware of their thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in response to stress. Understanding how to manage these states and what is the optimal state for that individual will help navigate them through the task at hand.”

The signs you do have anxiety, he says, “Some common signs are increased heart rate and breathing, jittery and fidgeting, sweating, nausea, irritability, focusing and concentrations troubles. Everyone is different and understanding how you respond to stress is key.”

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Take Your Friends Snowshoeing!  (Really, They’ll Love It!) https://www.snowshoemag.com/2018/12/21/take-your-friends-snowshoeing-really-theyll-love-it/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2018/12/21/take-your-friends-snowshoeing-really-theyll-love-it/#respond Fri, 21 Dec 2018 16:44:19 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=92315 Snowshoeing is the ultimate winter crowd pleaser. Rent some snowshoes for your friends and you’re good to go for an easy fun day playing in the snow.

Don’t believe me that snowshoeing is a fun way to plan a day … Continue reading

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Snowshoeing is the ultimate winter crowd pleaser. Rent some snowshoes for your friends and you’re good to go for an easy fun day playing in the snow.

Girls Day in the Mountains! Just add snowshoes

Don’t believe me that snowshoeing is a fun way to plan a day out with your friends? Keep reading:

Six Reasons Snowshoeing is the Ultimate Winter Crowd Pleaser

1. Snowshoeing requires little to no skill. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. On the flip side, you can’t just grab a group of friends and take them skiing for the day without a lesson or some training.

2. Snowshoeing doesn’t have to require a great level of fitness. Choose a flat trail, ideally well packed down, and you’ll be able to bring all your friends (and even their kids) with you.

3. Snowshoeing is a sport all ages can enjoy. My mother goes snowshoeing every week with her seniors’ outdoor group. They choose easy trails and they happily get outside all winter long without worrying about falling, losing their balance, or having to be coordinated on a pair of slippery skis.

Snowshoeing is a fun winter sport for all ages

4. Snowshoeing is a fun family sport! Bring sleds, have a snowball fight, stop to build a snow fort at your destination, take turns playing snow-a-lanche (think avalanche while knocking snow off the trees on one another,) and bring lots of yummy hot chocolate. Snowshoeing is all about playing in the snow for kids, so don’t forget to make at least one snow angel too.

5. Snowshoeing allows you to hike year-round. For many young people in the Canadian Rockies, cross-country skiing isn’t something they were raised with. Hiking on the other hand is very popular here with millennials and what I like to call “the Instagram generation.” A pair of snowshoes is a cheap investment with a great reward of being able to continue hiking through the winter months.

6. It’s affordable! Buy the snowshoes and you’re done. No lift tickets and no additional boots to pair with skis, and you also won’t have to buy new gear for children who are constantly growing. Most kids will be able to use the same snowshoes for many years (with their regular winter boots).

Playing Snow Tag on a frozen lake – lots of fun for all ages!

How to Plan a Group Snowshoeing Day with your Friends

Gearing Up!

First, let’s assume your friends don’t regularly go snowshoeing and will need to rent gear. You can either go snowshoeing at a Nordic centre where they have rentals on site (though you may have to pay trail fees), or you can just rent in the city before heading out. This is usually the cheapest option and many places let you pick your gear up the night before so you’re good to go the next day.

Another favourite method of mine for outfitting friends with gear is to borrow from other friends. Chances are there’s somebody not able to come along, but who has snowshoes you could borrow.

Dressing The Part Of A Winter Hiker

Second, give your friends a list of what they should be wearing in order to stay warm and comfortable. Chances are they won’t have any fancy technical gear, but hopefully they have a pair of snow pants and a warm winter jacket.

While it would be ideal for everybody to be wearing base layers and non-cotton winter clothing, a simple pair of fleece pants and a fleece sweatshirt will work in a pinch under their snow pants and jacket. (Especially if you aren’t doing a long hike.)

Make sure everybody is bringing good waterproof gloves or mittens and a warm hat for their head. A scarf or tubular wrap (like a Buff) to wear over their face is also advised if it’s going to be cold.

Finally, encourage your friends to wear the warmest winter boots they have. Think bulky Sorel type boots and not city fashion boots with a heel! And stress good warm socks. Ideally, socks that are smart wool or something that is not cotton would be best.

If they enjoy other winter sports (downhill skiing for example) chances are they have clothing that will work, even if it doesn’t look as high tech as what most people are wearing on the trails.

Basic Winter outerwear is perfect for a snowshoeing day with friends

Packing Your Bags

I’ll never forget the year we took a bunch of newbie outdoor friends into a backcountry hut for a weekend (with zero guidance on what to pack). Once we got there, let’s just say their backpacks were incredibly heavy (with items they didn’t need) but were lacking in some of the important stuff.

Below is a short list of some of the basics you’ll all want to pack.

  • Hand and foot warmers, which could be something you pack in case your friends need them
  • A first aid kit (at least one per group) and any other emergency gear you’d normally pack for a day hike (headlamps for example if you get a late start)
  • Bear spray, depending on where you live- It’s never a bad idea to have at least one can per group, especially early season
  • Lunch, snacks, a hot drink in a thermos and warm drinking water that will cool down to the right temperature quite quickly
  • Spare mitts, socks, and a hat – in case you get wet (again, something you the leader could pack extras of)
  • Sunglasses (and sunblock if the sun is strong and it’s a bright day –  important for spring snowshoeing especially)
  • A map or clear directions (even a photo of your route on a cell phone can be helpful – as long as your phone doesn’t freeze)

A well packed bag and a sled. Check!

Choosing The Trail

If your friends don’t normally make a habit of tromping around in the snowy wilderness, make sure you take it easy on them and don’t choose a mountain summit as your destination. Pick a relatively flat trail. For example, a maximum of 1000 feet of height gain is recommended if your friends are fit and do a lot of walking.

I also recommend halving the distance you’d normally choose for a summer hike. 5 Miles is the most you’d likely want to tackle round trip.

Finally, scenery usually matters for people that don’t hike a lot. Choose a scenic mountain lake as your destination or a beautiful viewpoint. Alternately, some forests can be especially scenic and breathtaking when they look like a winter wonderland.  I’m partial to snow covered bridges.

Making It FUN

Below are a few suggestions for ways to make your hike fun:

  • Be playful! Encourage your friends to have a snowball fight. Shower snow on your friends from trees you pass under (and encourage retaliation), and stop to make snow angels.
  • Bring sleds or crazy carpets (especially if you have children). It can be a great way to descend the trail after reaching your destination. And I always suggest helmets if you think you’ll be coming down a twisty windy luge track
  • Bring candy (yes, even for adults,) hot chocolate (perhaps with some added Baileys for the adults,) and other fun treats
  • Keep the pace relaxed. Stop to take lots of photos, to play in the snow, and to enjoy the scenery.

Gorgeous scenery and a sledding hill in a 30 minute hike!

The All Important Après-Snowshoe Activity  

We have favourite coffee shops and pubs that we love to visit after spending a day hiking in the mountains. Sometimes I think this is the real highlight of the day and the reward that you work for.

Introduce your friends to your favorite watering hole, that awesome coffee shop you’ve discovered, or choose a new place together. And I can assure you even children look forward to a treat at the end of an adventure.

In addition, other fun après-snowshoe activities (especially if your hike is short) could include ice-skating, sledding, or even shopping in a local mountain town if you’re out with your girlfriends for the day.

Goal number one: Get out and play this winter! And have fun doing it!

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The Amazing Backcountry Snowshoe: Gold 10 by Crescent Moon https://www.snowshoemag.com/2018/12/19/the-amazing-backcountry-snowshoe-gold-10-by-crescent-moon/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2018/12/19/the-amazing-backcountry-snowshoe-gold-10-by-crescent-moon/#respond Thu, 20 Dec 2018 05:12:50 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=92330

The Gold 10 snowshoes by Crescent Moon are made both for walking on-trail and off, in shallow or deep snow and were tested in both of these conditions. If you want to make your own path towards your goal, these … Continue reading

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The Gold 10 snowshoes by Crescent Moon are made both for walking on-trail and off, in shallow or deep snow and were tested in both of these conditions. If you want to make your own path towards your goal, these are the snowshoes you need. These snowshoes are built for neverending exploration and adventure, even when the trail ends.

They simply bring more to the table. They offer a larger surface area (32 x 10), more traction, and larger bindings. If you are looking for one of the best snowshoes that you can find, this is it. There are a very few other snowshoes on the market that can compete with this product.

Now let’s see what makes them so great.

Adjustable size

Even though you can find descriptions online where it says that Gold 10 are men’s snowshoes, this simply isn’t the case. They can be worn by both men and women. They have bindings which can be expanded or contracted so that anyone can fit their foot in them comfortably and tightly, no matter what kind of boots they are wearing.

Approximately, they can go from a size 6 for women to a size 15 for men. The foot is easily tightened, with one hand needed to lock it securely in the center of the snowshoe. This allows you to climb any kind of angle and walk through snow no matter how deep it might be.

Per the manufacturer, the Gold 10 can carry up to 225 lbs of weight. Keep in mind though that the 225 lbs includes the weight of the individual and the weight that the individual is carrying. If packing more weight than recommended, be sure to use a longer frame (36”) to limit sinking in deeper snow.

Easy to maneuver

One of the greatest issues with large snowshoes is that they can be difficult to maneuver. Even though the Gold 10s are 32 x 10, which is larger than most traditional snowshoes (30 x 10), they are far more comfortable and easy to maneuver.  In this writer’s opinion, the large dimensions don’t present a problem because of the moderated design with a teardrop shape that makes movement easier.

This teardrop tail does not only make it easy to walk on a variety of terrain and do multiple types of movement, but it also prevents the possibility on stepping on the deck of one shoe with the other. This is really amazing, especially when you consider how large they are.

If you are packing more weight than the 225 lb recommendation, this writer would recommend considering the Gold 17 as an alternative to the Gold 10 because the Gold 17 is considerably larger and capable of carrying 300 pounds of weight. Size does impact the maneuverability, so have this in mind if you’re a recreational hiker.

No slips, no unexpected twists

Larger adventurers often experience difficulties due to their size when walking across difficult terrains in snowshoes. Some of the most common issues are heel twists and slips due to pressure and wet environments. However, with the Gold 10 snowshoes, this is surprisingly not an issue at all.

 

Our tester weights 210 pounds and with the U-shape straps on the Gold 10, he was able to tighten the arch straps and forefoot without any issues. In fact, the platform is designed so that there is no room for unexpected movement at all. The binding is very stable, which can be the difference between falling down or spraining your ankle.

In all, these snowshoes are one of the best and are highly recommended by the Snowshoe Mag team. Crescent Moon Gold 10 can be purchased directly from Crescent MoonBackcountry.com, Amazon, or a store near you.  

The product reviewed in this article was supplied and tested by the writer, and expresses the writer’s honest opinion of the product.

Please note that the links in this article may contain affiliate links. When a purchase is made using these links, part of the proceeds go to Snowshoe Mag. These proceeds may help us pay for site maintenance and article contributions. Please see our disclosure for more details.

 

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Sunrise Hiking Mount Quandary in Colorado with MSR’s New DynaLock Explore Backcountry Poles https://www.snowshoemag.com/2018/12/19/sunrise-hiking-mount-quandary-with-msrs-new-dynalock-explore-backcountry-poles/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2018/12/19/sunrise-hiking-mount-quandary-with-msrs-new-dynalock-explore-backcountry-poles/#respond Wed, 19 Dec 2018 17:05:18 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=92221 The conversation started with something like “We’ll leave at midnight, make it to the trail head by 3am, and reach the summit for sunrise.”

My response: “Sounds crazy, lets do it.”

That’s how my experience of hiking Mount Quandary started, … Continue reading

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MSR DynaLock Explore Backcountry Poles

The conversation started with something like “We’ll leave at midnight, make it to the trail head by 3am, and reach the summit for sunrise.”

My response: “Sounds crazy, lets do it.”

That’s how my experience of hiking Mount Quandary started, which led to seeing my first sunrise above 14,000 feet.

As a bonus, I had a pair of MSR’s DynaLock Explore Backcountry poles. They are a high quality, aluminum, 3 section pole with MSR’s new DynaLock locking mechanism (pictured below). The big selling point of MSR’s new poles is this locking mechanism. It is a new system they designed specifically for quick adjustments on the mountain. It has a clicking system and the wheel adjusts the tightness of the clip. The system worked great while hiking, as explained more below.

DynaLock locking mechanism

Hiking Mount Quandary, Colorado

If you are thinking about hiking Quandary, you’ll definitely want to check out the hike on 14ers.com, which is the first place to look when researching a 14er hike. There are multiple approaches to Quandary, but the standard route is the East Ridge route. It is an easy trail and has gentle slopes. It is around 3.5 miles one way and includes a 3,450 foot gain.

As for hiking the peak in winter, it is possible. Be prepared for a winter hike with both snowshoes and crampons for ice. You’ll also want to take avalanche training before attempting the hike. You’ll want to stay mostly on the ridge to avoid being under an avalanche slope.

For us, Quandary was a perfect hike to try and achieve a summit sunrise. The first couple of hours up the trail were mostly looking at what your headlamp could show, which wasn’t much. Basically the trail ahead of me. The moon was not out, so we were unable to see the drop offs (which are minimal at Quandary) and the other mountains.

The view when hiking in the dark up a 14er.

I wanted to see how the poles helped on the steep hike up the final slopes of the 14er. The first part of the hike was fairly flat, so I didn’t use the poles. They were folded and put into my backpack. The design of the poles (three sections) allowed them to mostly fit into my backpack. This is one of the convenient features of the DynaLock Explore Backcountry poles, they can easily fold into packable places.

Sunrise was slated for 6:30 am that morning. Our hiking was fairly steady. Quandary isn’t a difficult 14er, however, it is still a 14er. That means after passing 12,000 feet, the hiking is slow and steep. When the hiking got steep is when I took out my new MSR poles. The poles were really helpful in keeping my balance on lose rocks and they helped pull me up the mountain.

At around 13k feet, the sky started to glow from the sun below the horizon. That lit a fire under us since we wanted to summit before the sun rose over the horizon.

Photo of the beautiful sunrise colors

I remember huffing and puffing and pushing myself to the limit. I had my heart rate at the limit. The poles definitely helped me keep my balance while I was rushing up the mountain. When the mountain gets steeper, it helps to shorten the poles slightly to help get more leverage. The converse is true when going downhill, you’ll want to lengthen the poles to reach the trail ahead of you.

With all my efforts, I didn’t make it to the peak by sunrise. I did see my GPS click over to 14,000 (the peak is 14,265 feet, and 250 feet is around 15 minutes of hiking) feet right before the sun rose.

The sunrise at 14 thousand feet.

I must admit, I am kind of a Colorado snob. I’ve been seeing beautiful views for the last 10 years, so I’ve gotten used to them. Not that day though, the sunrise was something worth the effort. The colors, the quietness, the exercise, and the altitude high. It is an experience that pictures do not do justice. If you are able to see the sunrise on a mountain, I highly recommend it. If you ever have a chance to hike a 14er, make it happen. It is an experience you will take to your grave.

Obligatory sunrise selfie.

After the sunrise, the hike up was pretty uneventful, and slow. Up the mountain (we were the first ones up on a Saturday!), a few minutes at the top, and then we started our track back down.

View of South Park (the supposed location of the show) in the distance from the Peak

The poles were very useful on the hike down. Normally, the steep hike down takes a rather painful toll on my knees. The poles helped with this in that they helped me stabilize myself and take a little bit of the shock out of hitting my knees. Again, make sure to extend the poles a little bit for the downward slope. The DynaLock on the poles made this really easy by just unclipping the DynaLock system, extending the pole, and then re-clipping the DynaLock system. It takes only a few seconds.

Oh, and we saw a mountain goat.

The Goat

If you are looking to hike a 14er, Quandary is a good beginner hike. If you are looking for great poles, make sure to give the MSR’s DynaLock Explore Backcountry Poles a look.

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Explore Wisconsin’s Northwoods at the Forest Frenzy Winter Triathlon https://www.snowshoemag.com/2018/12/16/explore-wisconsins-northwoods-at-the-forest-frenzy-winter-triathlon/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2018/12/16/explore-wisconsins-northwoods-at-the-forest-frenzy-winter-triathlon/#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2018 02:08:57 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=92459

The second annual Forest Frenzy Winter Triathlon returns to the state’s scenic Northwoods this February. The race will take place Feb. 16, 2019, in beautiful Boulder Junction and includes a challenging snowshoeing, fat biking and cross-country skiing course in the … Continue reading

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The second annual Forest Frenzy Winter Triathlon returns to the state’s scenic Northwoods this February. The race will take place Feb. 16, 2019, in beautiful Boulder Junction and includes a challenging snowshoeing, fat biking and cross-country skiing course in the snow-covered forests of Vilas County.

Registration is now open, but act fast—space is limited to 100 entrants.

“If you love winter sports, this is a triathlon you won’t want to miss,” said Theresa Smith, director of the Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce. “We had a great response from endurance athletes during our first year, so we’re asking them to spread the word and help us grow this awesome event in 2019!”

This fun, challenging wilderness endurance event features a 7.5-kilometer cross-country ski (classic or skate) course, a 5-kilometer snowshoe loop and a 7.5-kilometer fat tire bike course, all tucked in the woods of the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.

The Forest Frenzy takes place at the historic Camp Manito-wish YMCA in Boulder Junction, a beautiful Northwoods retreat that overlooks Boulder Lake.

Every racer receives a finisher medal, and top individual finishers and relay participants will receive special awards.

Limited ski, snowshoe and fat bike rentals are available in Boulder Junction and Minocqua at Coontail and Chequamegon Adventure Company.

Participants are encouraged to book lodging early at one of Boulder Junction’s welcoming hotels, resorts or cabin rentals.

Forest Frenzy racers and fans can enjoy a tavern tour of Boulder Junction on Friday and Saturday evening. Patrons who get their cards stamped at all seven locations will have a chance to win a complimentary entry in the 2020 Forest Frenzy Winter Triathlon.

To register for this year’s Forest Frenzy Winter Triathlon, visit the event website. Follow the Forest Frenzy Winter Triathlon Facebook page for the latest news and updates.

For more information about visiting Boulder Junction, visit the Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce’s website.

 

 

The post Explore Wisconsin’s Northwoods at the Forest Frenzy Winter Triathlon appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

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