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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