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Archive for the ‘Winter sports’ Category


Wandering Around This Winter

For thousands of years, man has struggled with getting around in snowy, icy conditions. Snowshoes made from pine tree branches and trekking poles made from tree limbs were about as advanced as this technology got. Lucky for us, we have the advantage of modern technologies and constant innovation to give us affordable, effective methods of getting around in the winter’s worst.
 
Staying On Top
 
What’s the real benefit to wearing a tennis racquet-looking contraption on your feet? How does that help you walk on deep snow? According to Dan Roy of Yukon Charlie’s/Synergy Sports, it’s the design that keeps a snowshoer from sinking down into the snow.
 
“In deeper snow conditions, snowshoes will keep the user from sinking right in up to their waist, which would make it almost impossible to walk or travel through,” Roy explains. “By using snowshoes, the user’s weight is distributed under the area of the snowshoe which allows the user to walk through snow with a much more reasonable level of exertion and stability.”
 
But it’s not just the deep, fluffy snow that is best for snowshoes. Because of their wider design and crampon treads on the bottom, walkers wearing snowshoes on harder, icier terrain will also benefit from the use of snowshoes.
 
One of the most important features to keep in mind when shopping for snowshoes are the bindings. Roy explains that with Yukon Charlie’s, they designed a 1-pull binding system that enables the user to take them off easily as well as EVA padding, which eliminates hot spots and pressure points for longer treks. No matter the terrain, be it deep and fluffy or hard and slick, snowshoes will keep you on your feet this winter.
 
A Well-Balanced Trek
 
What about keeping your balance in these wintry conditions? No matter the season or weather, trekking poles will keep hikers balanced and hiking as far as they can. In order to keep a trekking pole from sinking right into the snow, as a traditional walking stick would, snow baskets act as a snowshoe for your trekking pole. They displace the weight and pressure, keeping the trekking pole from sinking into the snow.
 
“Typically, the snow baskets are larger in diameter, which helps to prevent the trekking pole from just pushing right through a pile of snow and sinking to the bottom. The trekking baskets are smaller, as the ground conditions during non-snow seasons are firmer and do not need the larger basket to be able to gain some firm ground underneath.”
 
Through Snow and Ice
 
But if you’re not necessarily looking to be hiking or walking in terrain that would require the use of snowshoes or a trekking pole, there’s another variety for the minimalists out there. And the best part is that they’ll allow you to wear them with any type of footwear. Although, we wouldn’t recommend wearing these in high heels.
 
YakTrax are made from elastic outer bands with steel coils along the bottom — similar in design to the crampons on snowshoes — fit easily over existing footwear, offering a safe grip in icier conditions, even for runners.
 
“Anyone and everyone who has to stand or move across ice and snow can use them,” explains Eric Lund of Implus. “Mailmen, construction workers, utility workers, or anyone that spends a lot of time outside on their feet will appreciate the Yaktrax Pro. Runners and athletes will appreciate the Yaktrax Run, which has a hybrid coil and spike design and anatomic right/left design that makes it ideal for natural running and jogging on ice and snow.”
 
Dry and Repeat
 
As anyone who’s hiked, or even made a snowman, can relate, winter conditions often result in cold, wet gear. However, it’s not only moisture coming from the snow. As activity increases, so does the amount of sweat that winter gear can absorb. And when your gear gets wet, it means you get cold. Luckily, through warm air-circulation, DryGuy dryers can quickly get all of your attire warm and dry so you can get back out in the snow.
 
“Heating elements in the dryers warm the surrounding air which circulates in and out of the footwear, evaporating the moisture as it leaves,” said Lund. “This can be convection based, where warm air currents rise naturally which is usually a slower, overnight dry system. Overnight or it can be forced air based, which a fan physically pushes the warmed air for accelerated drying.”
 
As Lund explains, DryGuy has been on the forefront of innovating these older, convection-based dryers that kept snow enthusiasts at bay. The advances that they’ve made aren’t limited to speed of drying — they’re also focused on safety.
 
“There are also now a variety of portable units available,” said Lund. “Today, dryers also have timers to automatically shut off, and thermal switches to shut the unit down in the event of overheating, reducing risk of fire.”
 
When winter arrives, bringing in those beautiful snowy landscapes, they’ll also bring dangerous icy conditions. However, that shouldn’t sway anyone from getting out there and experiencing all that winter has to offer outdoor enthusiasts. While earlier man resorted to items found in nature to assist them in getting around, products from Yukon Charlie’s, YakTrax and DryGuys offer efficient, affordable and most important, effective methods to wander around this winter.
 
-Ski Bum
 
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The Hot Setup

A great pair of high-tech winter boots can keep your tootsies toasty warm on the coldest winter days.
 
Cold, wet feet. What could be worse? Only the proverbial “sharp stick in the eye” could be more uncomfortable on a damp and frigid winter day.
 
For those of us who refuse to spend the colder months confined to our home, few things are as important as a great pair of boots. When I was a kid, eons ago, winter foot protection called for heavily oiled or waxed leather boots pulled on over multiple layers of woolen socks that my grandmother knitted or rubber boots over shoes. The first couldn’t be counted on to keep the water out while the latter provided minimal protection from frigid temperatures and were seemingly designed to make one stumble awkwardly to the accompaniment of thumping and squishing sounds.
 
Thankfully, modern technology has changed all that. Today’s best boots can keep the outdoor enthusiast warm and dry for hours on end. They’re far lighter in weight and more comfortable than the boots of old and the best of the lot don’t limit mobility.
 
Dunham’s carries a wide range of outdoor footwear including the latest winter boots from Under Armour, Columbia and Ranger.
 
The Under Armour Clackamas boot for men and women was first seen at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Now this high-tech premium boot is in full production and available at Dunham’s. With 200 grams of PrimaLoft® insulation, the boot can ward off the worst of winter’s cold. According to Iiley Thompson, Senior Director, Outdoor Footwear for Under Armour, PrimaLoft insulates better over a longer period of time than other common insulating materials.
 
“We took a ton of weight out of these boots,” says Thompson. “They’re ideal for trekking around in the snow.”
 
Columbia Sportswear’s Bugaboot is a waterproof lightweight boot that’s available for men and women. Mark Waddle of Columbia, says the boots are temperature rated to -25°F. A Techlite™ lightweight midsole provides superior cushioning and high energy return. A full 200 grams of insulation helps ensure long-lasting cold-weather comfort.
 
The Apun winter boot from Ranger features a waterproof lower boot stitched to a flexible oiled-suede leather upper. A 3/4-inch removable foam liner provides insulation to keep feet warm even when temperatures reach -50°F. A steel shank supports the arch, and a ClawMax outsole provides superior traction in winter weather.
 
The great outdoors is a wonderful winter playground, but it’s no fun if you don’t have the right gear. Stop by Dunham’s today to try on some winter boots and see our full range of outdoor apparel. Your Dunham’s sales consultant can help you choose exactly what you need to stay warm and dry all winter long.
 
-Your Friends at Dunham’s
 
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Under Armour: A History of Innovation

The axiom is that if you build a better mouse trap, the world will beat a path to your door. In 1996, Kevin Plank decided he wanted to build a better T-shirt, one that would help athletes better regulate their body heat by wicking perspiration away from their body, thereby keeping them cooler and dryer. He created the original compression T-shirt and founded Under Armour.
 
Under Armour’s desire for innovation quickly resulted in the ColdGear® mock turtleneck, which was launched in 1998. Still available today, ColdGear products give wearers the ability to battle the elements with a soft, brushed inner layer that circulates heat, and an element-battling outer layer that keeps them dry and protected.
 
ColdGear Infrared
 
Helping athletes and the rest of us stay even warmer in cold weather is Under Armour’s ColdGear Infrared, introduced in 2013.
 
“ColdGrear Infrared products go well beyond the compression products favored by many cold-weather outdoor enthusiasts. It features a soft, thermo-conductive coating on the inside of the garment that absorbs and retains body heat. Then, by taking advantage of a print format also incorporated into the inner layer of the product, the absorbed heat is redistributed evenly, keeping wearers warmer longer,” said Under Armour’s Brendan Hanley.
 
ColdGear Infrared is ideally suited for any snow sport. It’s lightweight and it’s not bulky, meaning it’s not cumbersome, thereby providing full range of motion. That also makes it ideal when you’re looking to extend the season of your favorite activity. A number of my fellow golfers use wear ColdGear Infrared apparel in early spring and late fall.
 
“For those who are likely to spend a great deal of time outdoors this winter, we recommend beginning with a ColdGear Infrared baselayer that includes leggings and a fitted mock turtleneck or crew neck shirt,” Hanley added.
 
From this base, it’s easy to transition into mid- and outer layers that are sport-specific. For example, for hunters, Under Armour offers ColdGear Infrared camo jackets and pants with the company’s UA Scent Control technology. This outer layer is 100% waterproof and features tapered seams to keep you completely dry and protected from the elements.
 
“Don’t overlook the importance of keeping your extremities warm. A number of our Under Armour hats, gloves and footwear also feature ColdGear Infrared, making them ideal for colder weather,” Hanley explained.
 
For additional warmth, a number of Under Armour products, including outer shells and boots, feature PrimaLoft insulation, a proprietary combination of natural down material and high-performance synthetics for optimal warmth. It was created by an Under Armour partner.
 
“Staying warm in cold weather used to require bundling up so much that movement was difficult. That’s not the case anymore. Our products with PrimaLoft insulation, for example, are lightweight, water-resistant, breathable, and can be compressed without losing warmth. A great deal of our hunting apparel features both PrimaLoft and ColdGear Infrared technologies, ensuring warmth and maximum movement for more successful hunts,” Hanley said.
 
UA MagZip
 
One of the latest innovations from Under Armour is this year’s UA MagZip. It features an ingenious design that makes it easier to zip jackets using only one hand.
 
“Our UA MagZip features magnetic male and female connections, so the minute the zipper ends get close, they line up and snap together. This a huge leap forward for anyone who’s ever had to fumble with lining up a zipper while wearing gloves,” Hanley added.
 
The idea for the MagZip came from Under Armour’s Future Show Open Innovation Challenge, a contest that allows entrepreneurs to submit ideas for consideration. It was submitted by someone who has a family member with myotonic dystrophy, a genetic disorder that affects many parts of the body.
 
Innovations Abound
 
Here are a few other noteworthy Under Armour innovations:
 
• Charged Cotton – 2011. It features the comfort of cotton, but dries much faster and performs with an athlete’s body.
 
• Charged Cotton Storm – 2011. It adds water-resistance to Charged Cotton, enabling the wearer to stay warm and dry. This makes Charged Cotton Storm ideal for hiking, running, practicing or playing.
 
• Coldblack – 2011. There’s a reason why summer colors are lighter and winter colors are darker. Darker fabrics absorb the sun’s UV rays and heat up quickly, while lighter ones repel UV rays. Thanks to Under Armour’s coldblack, a revolutionary fabric that reflects even the nastiest heat, you can wear black (or other dark colors) even in the middle of summer.
 
Kevin Plank went well beyond building a better mousetrap. What started as a business in Plank’s grandmother’s basement is today a global, multi-billion-dollar brand, creating some of the most innovative apparel, footwear and accessories in the industry. That’s testament to the company’s dedication to continual improvement.
 
Visit your local Dunham’s Sport and speak with one of our knowledgeable experts to discover Under Armour products that can make your favorite sport or hobby more enjoyable.
 
-Your Friends at Dunham’s
 
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Take a Vacation from the Winter Blues

 
Winter is almost here. That means staying in and waiting for spring — right? Not at all! There are plenty of activities you can do in the winter, no matter where you live. You can even plan a getaway to one of the many winter sports resorts in the United States.
 
From coast to coast, you can find a resort for yourself or your family to satisfy all your winter sports desires. Those traveling to the West Coast, Midwest and northeastern parts of the country will find an abundance of resorts close by, but others will not have to travel far. There are winter sports resorts all over the country to satisfy any of your cold-weather interests.
 
“States as far south as North Carolina and Tennessee feature ski resorts that also offer other winter sports, such as ice skating and tubing,” said TripAdvisor Public Relations Specialist Julie Cassetina.
 
You don’t even need to find mountains to find great winter sports, Cassetina said. There are Winter Wonderlands all across the U.S.!
 
“While the mountainous regions of the East and West Coasts are the most popular destinations for winter sports, travelers in the comparatively flat Midwest can find resorts that offer plenty of snow-filled fun across the Great Plains,” Cassetina said.
 
Popular resort destinations in the western half of the United States include Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.; Park City, Utah; Big Bear Region, Calif.; and Sun Valley, Idaho. Eastern destinations include Lake Placid, N.Y.; North Conway, N.H.; and Stowe, Vt.
 
Those living in the Midwest can find a variety of Winter sports resorts as well, including Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs, Mich.; Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior in Lutsen, Minn.; Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Mich.; and Granite Peak in Wausau, Wisc.
 
Ski-lovers will find a plethora of trails to suit their needs at nearly any winter sports resort. For example, Boyne Highlands has 55 trails on 435 skiable acres, which makes it the largest ski area in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. You even find a resort —like Boyne — with a variety of room styles, from hotel rooms to condos and cottages.
 
Erin Ernst, director of communications for Boyne, suggests that resort-goers consider their skill level when choosing a resort. If you are new to skiing, for example, you should see if the resort offers lessons or free hills to beginners.
 
“There are many factors to explore when considering a winter resort for vacationing,” Ernst said. “Lodging options, resort offerings and variety of winter sports should all be taken into consideration.”
 
Looking to branch out for your winter sports vacation? You aren’t limited to skiing! You can find resorts that offer almost any winter activity you desire. Cassetina said resorts are branching out in their offering to accommodate sports such as horseback riding, dogsledding, snowshoe hiking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
 
Heading out into the snow is fun—but it can be dangerous and downright unpleasant if you aren’t prepared with the correct gear. The National Ski Patrol says that having the proper clothing is a key to safety and enjoyment when participating in outdoor winter activities.
 
The right equipment means not only having the right skis, skates or sled. It also means having the proper clothing to stay both warm and dry. The National Ski Patrol says that the key to dressing for the cold is in the layering. The organization suggests lightweight layers. You should have an inner moisture-wicking layer, a middle insulating later and an outer shell layer.
 
Check the weather forecast to be sure you are dressing appropriately. Also consider your exertion level. Are you going on a horse ride, which requires very little exertion, or cross-country skiing, where you will be exerting a high amount of effort? Layering allows you to shed and add clothing as it is necessary, but you should always be prepared for the worst.
 
If you are searching for a resort, the best way to find the one you want is to use a service such as TripAdvisor to look at reviews and photos from real travelers, Cassetina said.
 
“When searching for a resort, travelers can use the filters on TripAdvisor to sort by price, traveler rating, distance and more,” Cassetina said. “They can also select from additional categories such as ‘family,’ ‘romance,’ ‘ski-in/ski-out’ and more to identify resorts that will fit their travel type.”
 
Don’t take the chilly season off from being active. Get all the cold-weather gear you need at your local Dunham’s, and head out into the snow!
 
-Ski Bum
 
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Dr. Dunham’s Cabin Fever Cure

 
“I’ve got cabin fever, it’s burning in my brain. I’ve got cabin fever, it’s driving me insane,” sang the Muppets in their 1996 blockbuster, “Muppet Treasure Island.”
 
Well, in truth the movie may not have achieved blockbuster status, but most of us won’t soon forget the “Cabin Fever” song. Perhaps because it hits close to home.
 
Cabin fever has been recognized as a very real affliction for almost 100 years. It results from being confined to one place for an extended period of time. It’s exacerbated by inactivity. The usual result is extreme irritability and feelings of anxiety. It often strikes in winter when many of us shun the cold and curl up on the couch for the duration.
 
The most obvious cure is getting outside and interacting with the rest of the world. For those of us whose favorite activities include things like gardening, swimming or hanging out at the beach, the winter world may seem foreign and forbidding. But winter sports can be invigorating and entertaining. And there’s no better cure for the ills of cabin fever than the crisp air of a January day.
 
Did we hear someone say it’s too cold to play outside? Well, that’s only true if you’re not dressed for outdoors. Today’s winter clothing is light yet warm, so there’s no need to fear the frigid air, and bundling up need not cramp your style.
 
Winter Games, Out and In
 
Once you’re dressed for the occasion, the possibilities for winter entertainment are almost unlimited. Those who appreciate a good workout might try cross-country skiing or snowshoe hiking. Snowboarding and downhill skiing can provide a good amount of exercise as well, and few thrills compare to that of racing down the side of a ski slope at speed.
 
Ice-skating and sledding are a bit less taxing than skiing but can be just as much fun, particularly for the younger set. Most towns have a good sledding hill or two, and winter afternoons will likely find a happy group of kids enjoying the ride downhill. Ditto ice skating rinks or frozen ponds. You can find them everywhere, and there’s always something special about tracing lines on the ice as gentle flakes fall from a moonlit sky.
 
Of course you can invent your own winter games. When I was a kid, a zillion years ago, we would play football in the snow – on our knees. That required only a small parcel of land, which was all that was available in the urban area where I was raised. But while the playing field was small, the games were big.
 
For those who hanker to get out and do something but would prefer to minimize the strenuous part, there’s always ice fishing.If you’d prefer to fish on open water, some fast-moving streams in Colorado, like the South Platte River, offer winter fly-fishing.
 
On days when it’s just too cold to go out, try changing your indoor routine to relieve symptoms of cabin fever. Table tennis, a popular indoor sport, is a great way to stay active. There’s also billiards, air-hockey and Wii games that are played in front of the television. Some games, like Wii Grand Slam Tennis, mimic outdoor summer sports and can provide a pretty good workout. Or for a top-notch workout do some cardio and resistance training to get ready for swimsuit season.
 
Getting Away From It All
 
If you really have to get out of town to cure that cabin fever, then get out of town. There’s a winter resort in the U.S.A. for any winter sport you can think of, and accommodations range in price from very affordable to lavish and expensive.
 
Looking for something novel? Durango Mountain Resort in Colorado offers ski biking. Another Colorado attraction, Ouray Ice Park, offers ice climbing in the Uncompahgre Gorge. In Alaska you can try dogsledding. Skijoring, which is popular in Minnesota, is a melding of dog sledding and skiing.
 
What’s that you say? You want to get away from the cold? Then head south or west to Florida, Arizona or California. Caribbean and Mexican vacations can be very affordable. There’s always somewhere where one can find a bit of summer in the throes of winter.
 
A Cure That’s Sure To Work
 
But you don’t have to leave home to defeat the winter doldrums. Why not organize a winter Olympics for the neighborhood? And your event doesn’t have to focus on winter sports. Playing softball in the snow is a hoot, as is Frisbee golf. Picnic games like a three-legged race are even more fun in the snow.
 
Plan a post-Olympics tailgate with plenty of hot chocolate, some hot dogs or pizza, a blazing fire pit and some marshmallows to roast.
 
That’s a sure cure for even the worst case of cabin fever.
 
-Fun For All Ages
 
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Pond Hockey’s Simplicity Appeals to Growing Fan Base

Think back to your pick-up softball games. They didn’t require much in the way of equipment: a mitt, a bat and a ball. There were no umpires, no foul lines, no groomed infields. You played for the love of the game; you learned to be creative and to compromise when there was a dispute. In northern climates, including many areas of the Midwest, baseball gave way to hockey in the winter. The same simplicity, however, applied: minimal equipment, makeshift rinks and ever-changing teams and conditions. After decades of organized hockey, it’s good to see many are now embracing a return to the game’s roots.
 
“All you need for outdoor hockey is your gear and a shovel to clear the snow and turn the surface into a hockey rink,” said Corry Kelahear, Reebok-CCM. “It’s less formal and offers more opportunity for more creativity. It’s great for individual skill development and it’s a nice way to reconnect with the simplicity of the game.”
 
“Pond hockey (also known as shinney) is how a lot of NHL players got their start. Those who participate in pond hockey are doing it for the love of the game. They love being outdoors, playing hockey in its original elements,” added Peter Bartlett of Bauer.
 
Unlike indoor hockey, outdoor hockey doesn’t require a great investment in equipment.
 
“The equipment is essentially the same as indoor hockey: skates, a stick, we always recommend wearing a helmet and it’s even more important to do so for outdoor hockey. A pair of gloves adds protection while making it easier to grab the stick and keep warm,” Bartlett added.
 
Kelahear explained that since outdoor hockey, or pond hockey, ice surfaces tends to be rougher, participants will need to have their skates sharpened more frequently. He actually recommends not using the high-end equipment of indoor hockey and getting pond hockey-specific equipment.
 
“With the Reebok-CCM products that Dunham’s carries, you can get the basic outdoor hockey equipment for about $150. That’s a reasonable investment for something that can deliver years of pleasure,” Kelahear said.
 
Bartlett echoed Kelahear’s sentiment. “A lot of kids get their first taste of the game playing shinney. Bauer makes everything needed for the game – from the first pair of skates for 4- to 5-year-olds to the skates being worn by 65 percent of NHL players and everything in between.”
 
If you’re thinking about giving pond hockey a try, here’s what our two experts recommend:
 
• Make sure the skates are comfortable. You don’t need a pro-level skate. Rather, look for something that is comfortable to wear and with plenty of padding. In addition to keeping your feet warm, the padding will absorb some of the blow, should you get hit with the puck.
 
• Skates don’t come sharpened, so the first experience won’t be a pleasant one without the proper edges. Your local Dunham’s store is a great resource for this service.
 
• Get a basic stick and tape it. Bartlett recommends an entry-level composite stick, as they are more durable and lighter weight.
 
• A helmet is especially important because the ice is not perfect as it is in indoor hockey.
 
“Beyond the basics, we always recommend a mouth guard, a jock strap for boys, elbow pads, probably shin guards and a very thin layer of gloves under the hockey glove. The latter help keep the hands a little warmer,” Kelahear added.
 
With any new product, be sure to consult with the sales staff to ensure you have the right product and the right fit. Bear in mind that skate sizes don’t correlate directly to shoe sizes. (Most people choose ice skates one size smaller than they wear for their everyday shoes.)
 
-Fun For All Ages
 
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Taking on the Great Outdoors

While some outdoor sports are relaxing, others are invigorating. Tramping through the woods, hunting wild game, paddling upstream — they’re all activities that not only entertain but get your heart rate up as well. Let’s take a look at some activities geared toward the more adventurous outdoor types among us, along with some tailor-made gift ideas. 
 
Dashing Through the Snow
 
Snowshoeing is America’s fastest growing winter sport. That’s not surprising, since this odd and ancient footgear, which can resemble an oversized tennis racket, is a great way to venture forth into places where others don’t dare tread. That means getting away from the crowd and enjoying nature at its most pristine.
 
Snowshoes are as old as recorded history itself, going back all the way to about 4000 B.C. or earlier, and first coming to this continent with Asian adventurers who crossed the Bering Strait and settled in Alaska — long before Europeans got the bug to travel.
 
So how difficult is snowshoeing? Can you walk? If the answer is yes, then you can snowshoe. At its most basic, the sport involves nothing more than putting one foot in front of the other with snowshoes on your feet. But in truth, efficient snowshoeing does require a technique that is somewhat different than walking in ordinary shoes. When walking in snowshoes, it’s best to lift each shoe a bit and slide the inner edge over the inner edge of the other shoe. If the shoes don’t overlap a bit when you stride, you’ll be forced to walk with a bowlegged gate that can be taxing.
 
While ancient snowshoes were made from wood and leather, most of today’s snowshoes are made with aluminum, plastic and various synthetic materials. But the idea is the same: the snowshoe gives walkers a big footprint, so they won’t quickly sink into the snow. Because snowshoes distribute body weight over a large area, even soft snow can provide adequate support for walking.
 
The health benefits of snowshoeing are multiple. First, it’s good aerobic exercise that can keep your heart rate up for an extended period of time. What’s more, it improves leg muscle tone, and if trekking poles are used, it can improve upper body fitness as well.
 
Bill LaPierre of Yukon Charlie’s, a major supplier of high quality snowshoe equipment, recommends using poles, since they can help you remain stable and upright on challenging terrain, while reducing the burden on your knees. Dunham’s carries a wide range of Yukon Charlie’s snowshoe gear.
 
Snowshoes are available in a variety of lengths and widths. The larger snowshoes are for bigger people and more difficult conditions. Children’s sizes are also available. In addition to various sizes, snowshoes come in a range of styles, each designed for a particular type of hiking. Aerobic or running snowshoes are small and light and are not meant for wilderness hiking. Recreational snowshoes are larger than the aerobic models, and are great for moderate walks. Mountaineering snowshoes are the largest. They usually have a long tail and are meant for long-distance trips and serious hill climbing.  A Dunham’s sales consultant can help you choose the size and type of snowshoe that’s right for you and every member of your family. 
 
Hoofing It
 
Most winter sports require some heavy-duty foot protection. And while some, such as skiing, call for purpose-built footwear, for many activities a pair of high-quality insulated boots can keep you warm and on the move. In fact, for those whose idea of great winter sport is a hike through the woods on a snowy day, boots and warm clothing are all the equipment that’s necessary. Of course a good boot is essential gear for hunters as well.
 
Winter hikes are an activity that the entire family can enjoy. Because only minimal gear is needed, it won’t break the bank. Hunting has also become more of a family activity in recent years, as parents strive to teach their offspring the value of self-sufficiency, while experiencing the joys of outdoor activity and skill development.
 
While a variety of boots that claim to be waterproof and insulated are available, not all are created equal. Nothing ruins a nice afternoon hike or a winter hunting trip faster than cold feet. Dunham’s carries several types of heavy-duty insulated boots that can keep your tootsies warm in the most severe conditions.
 
For men, the Rocky Jasper Trac Insulated Pac Boot is a superb choice. With a polar-trac outsole for great grip, a removable three-ply liner, 200 grams of Thinsulate insulation, and guaranteed waterproof construction, this boot is ready to take on old-man winter.
 
The Itasca Snowbird Boot is a popular choice for the ladies. This heavy-duty insulated boot is great for hunting and other winter activities. Dunham’s also carries boots for the kids. Ask your sales representative to help you find the winter footwear that’s right for your outdoor activities. 
 
Safe, Not Sorry
 
While most hunters think of gear in terms of what they’ll be taking out to the field, a good gun safe is a critical piece of equipment for every hunter.
 
Gun ownership carries with it a measure of responsibility. In the home, the only safe weapon is one that is stored in such a way that it can’t be accessed by an intruder or curious child. And the best way to ensure that your guns are secure is to lock them in a safe. Of course, a good safe has other uses as well, such as the storage of precious metals, jewelry, cash, and important documents.
 
A small safe is okay for cash and handguns, but for long-gun hunting weapons, a fairly large safe is necessary. However, many modern safes are designed to economize space by allowing for alternate rows of barrel up and barrel down storage.
 
Plan carefully before choosing a safe. Consider possible future needs as well as current requirements. Fire and water protection should also enter into your decision. ETL ratings are an assurance of fire protection, but waterproofing can be important as well, particularly if you live in a flood zone. Your Dunham’s representative can help you decide what kind of safe best meets your requirements.
 
Among Dunham’s most popular safes is the Stack-On Elite Gun Convertible Fire Safe. With storage for up to 24 long guns, the safe features reinforced steel doors and five large live-action locking bolts. An additional three solid-steel dead bolts secure the hinge side of the door. It’s a safe that will protect your weapons and provide peace of mind.
 
 Paddle the Day Away
 
Kayaking is a water sport the entire family can enjoy. Few outdoor sports offer as big a return in fun for as small an investment. And because kayaks are light and compact, they’re easy to store and transport.  
 
While kayaks are well suited to hunting and fishing, they’re now used primarily for recreational boating. And in comparison to other watercraft, kayaks are a bargain. For example, KL Industries eight- and ten-foot Water Quest Kayaks are very stable and come with padded seats and storage. And they’re available at Dunham’s.
 
Other very affordable choices are the Pelican Ultimate 100 and Escape 100 kayaks. These boats turn and track with the best of them, yet they’re stable and easy to paddle. Ask your Dunham’s sales representative to help you choose the kayak that’s best matched to your needs.
 
-Deer Abby
 
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A Frozen Treat

It’s time to play nice on the ice.
 
We’ll take our winter on ice. There’s no better way to enjoy the cold months than by taking up a winter sport, a winter sport played on ice. Whether it be hockey, figure skating or just a pleasant afternoon spent tracing circles on a neighborhood pond, ice makes winter a special time of year.
 
While ice sports have always been part of northern winters, the proliferation of indoor skating rinks has made sports on skates a favorite of those who live in places where ponds never freeze. But the indoor trend has reversed a bit in colder parts of the country, as skaters and head back outdoors to play on the ponds.
 
Pond Hockey
 
Those of us approaching senior-citizen status undoubtedly played our first hockey on a frozen pond or lake. I ventured onto the ice at the age of five on Chicago’s Midway Plaisance, a remnant of a long-ago world’s fair that the city fathers would flood for skating. In later years, my friends and I played hockey on ponds in city parks. There was something about one’s breath turn-ing into ice crystals and the tingle of single-digit temperatures that invigorated. My kids, who grew up in the eighties, missed out on that, as indoor rinks became the skating venues of choice.
 
Today, pond hockey and outdoor skating are coming back in a big way. Like the pond hockey we played as kids, today’s games are usually held on a rink that is smaller than an NHL rink. A barrier of snow is often the only thing that serves to keep the puck on the ice, although organized pond-hockey competitions – of which there are more every year – are played on natural rinks ringed with minimal wooden boards.
 
Dunham’s can provide the equipment you’ll need to play pond hockey. Of course, you need a good pair of skates, a hockey stick, gloves and a puck. For most venues, helmets aren’t mandatory but are highly recommended. Shin guards are a good idea as well, since a flying puck can leave an ugly bruise. But since hard physical contact isn’t part of pond hockey, the armor worn for organized indoor hockey is often not worn.
 
Although pick-up pond hockey can be played with a makeshift net, Dunham’s carries the Mylec 810 and EZ Goal nets that can be quickly set up on the ice.
 
Figure Skating
 
Figure skating experienced a surge in popularity when the friends of one prominent lady skater tried to break the kneecaps of another prominent lady skater. Why it took an unseemly event to draw attention to figure skating is a mystery to devotees of the sport, but today nearly every little girl and quite a few little boys dream of becoming Olympic skating stars.
 
Of course reaching the upper echelons of any Olympic sport is a one in a million shot, but there’s plenty of fun to be had at less competitive levels. Figure skating demands coordination, good muscle tone and a certain amount of grace, so benefits de-rived from making the effort are multitudinous. And because most skating schools conclude the season with a public perfor-mance, students get a chance to show off their skills.
 
While the majority of figure-skating students are youngsters, many schools have classes just for adults. If you’ve always wanted to learn to do a double axle, you can do so at any age, and you don’t have to worry about being shown up by a five year old.
 
At the beginners level, all that is need to learn figure skating is a decent pair of skates. As a student progresses, more ad-vanced skates with special toe points are required to perform the jumps and spins taught at higher levels. Dunham’s carries a full selection of figure skates. Ask one of our sales assistants to help you choose the right equipment.
 
Recreational Skating and Ice Games
 
While hockey and figure skating offer competition along with the joy of skating, just making figure eights on a frozen pond can be lots of fun. And if that’s not enough to keep the youngsters interested, there are many games that can be played on the ice.
 
At the pond where I hung out as a teen we played “crack the whip.” To play, a line of half a dozen or more skaters is formed, each holding the hips of the skater in front or linking hands. The lead skater pulls the line with those behind assisting. As speed builds, the skater at the head of the line executes a sharp turn, which cracks the whip and causes the last couple of skaters in the line to accelerate rapidly towards the snow banks at the edge of the rink.
 
Informal races can be fun on ice. And while these can just pit each skater against the others, they can also involve complexi-ties, like skating backwards and pulling a second skater or towing a sled and rider. An obstacle course made up of sticks, rocks, boots, and whatever else is available can also add a different dimension to on-ice races.
 
-Ski Bum
 
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Out of the Gym and into the Snow

While a lot of people view the winter season as a chance to stay inside and hibernate until spring, there are a lot of valuable ways to keep your body healthy while enjoying the beautiful snowy weather.
 
Two fun activities that actually have a bevy of health benefits, snowshoeing and sledding, are fun, inexpensive ways to make sure your body stays in tip-top shape for the coming spring.
 
According to Carol Wilson, R.N., M.S.N., snowshoeing is a low-impact activity that can be beneficial to people with bad knees. It also burns calories better than running, about 400-900 per hour, and is recommended by the American Heart Association as an excellent aerobic activity for the cardiovascular system.
 
“It works quads, hamstrings, calf muscles and muscle groups in feet and ankles,” Wilson explains. “With poles, it works muscle groups in the back, shoulders and arms.”
 
Judy Shanks, CVCSN, echoes Wilson’s statements and adds that there are other ways snowshoeing can be a benefit, such as alleviating stress and contributing to overall health and well-being.
 
“Cold air increases metabolism, contributes to better sleep patterns, balances hormones and promotes weight loss,” Shanks says. “It increases positive emotions and decreases negative emotions through exposure to nature.”
 
While jumping onto a plastic disc and sliding down a hill might not seem like the best type of exercise, sledding can actually burn about 470 calories for a 150-pound person in an hour. With the long trek back up the hill after the ride, you’re toning your leg muscles and keeping your heart rate up.
 
“The steeper the hill, the more beneficial the workout,” Shanks said.
 
One aspect of sledding that might go overlooked in terms of exercise is the fun factor. Just think about how much you laugh when sledding. That giggle while on the hill actually has some health benefits.
 
“Fun that is free,” Shanks said. “It makes you laugh, and laughter doubles heart rate for one minute afterwards. Muscles re-lax for 45 minutes after you laugh, and the immune system is boosted by decreasing stress hormones, increasing immune cells that fight infection and releasing endorphins.”
 
To fully enjoy all the benefits of snowshoeing and sledding, there are some preseason preparation exercises that should be implemented prior to hitting the hill or strapping on the snowshoes.
 
“At least two weeks prior, begin gradually increasing endurance exercising until you reach a 45-minute session three times per week,” Wilson said. “Include incline work on a treadmill.”
 
If you’re a parent and will be pulling your child around on a sled, Wilson recommends that you check with your doctor, espe-cially if you’re over 50, and see if you’re able to engage in some light weight lifting. This will prepare you for performing a mo-tion you’re not accustomed to.
 
“Lift weights so that you can easily lift a child weighing 40 pounds if you plan to take them sledding,” Wilson said. “Ride an exercise bike with moveable handlebars, pedal hard, and turn the handlebars since you will be steering the sled.”
 
Wilson also suggests that you perform stretches prior to your winter activity. Calf stretches, calf raises, leg raises and angled walking should get the body warmed up to prevent any injury. A good warm-up will raise the body’s temperature about 1-2 de-grees Celsius. Some endurance running on a treadmill can prepare the body for extensive outdoor winter exercise. She also rec-ommends some items to bring with on your journey.
 
“Keep hydrated, and keep water with you,” said Wilson. “Take sunscreen and lip balm, energy bars, a cell phone, flashlight and a portable GPS, if available.”
 
Prior to sledding, Shanks explains, sledders should perform some warm-up exercises to aptly prepare for the activity, includ-ing some easy squats and chest-knee stretches.
 
“Before sledding, do knee-to-chest stretches to avoid compression injuries due to repetitive bouncing over snow,” she said. “Either sitting or lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest and hold for 30 seconds. At the bottom of the sledding hill, do some more knee-to-chest stretches or squatting movements to restore flexibility.”
 
With some preparation before the season and before your snowshoeing or sledding experience, your winter wonderland can stay just that. Preparing the body in the fall for your winter activity, ensuring sound hydration before, during, and after, as well as warming up before and after exercise can keep the body healthy throughout the season and throughout your life. So next time you strap on your snowshoes or wax up your sled, make sure your body is just as prepared.
 
-Fitness Fanatic
 
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