The Science of Snowshoeing

Taking your first steps toward a new outdoor activity.

There are few things better than a great hike on a beautiful day, checking out gorgeous scenery and snapping the perfect photo. But for most hikers, that fun ends when the snow falls. However, a somewhat unknown alternative can help those who need to scratch their exploratory itch: snowshoeing.

Snowshoes gives explorers the ability to walk on up to 2 full feet of snow without falling through. In fact, any snow amount between 2 inches and 2 feet can call for snowshoes, enabling trekkers to keep their legs moving throughout the winter.

“Snowshoes give users the ability to explore, encounter and experience the most our outdoors provides in the winter,” explains Brent Tommerdahl of Expedition Outdoors. “The purpose of snowshoes is to allow you to stay aloft in deep snow conditions, in terrain you would never normally go.”

All About Aluminum

If you’re new to snowshoeing, there are a few factors to keep in mind when looking for a first pair. There are different bindings, materials and weights to consider. The binding mechanisms, either a ratchet strap or quick set–quick release, offer a couple different methods of keeping the snowshoe on your foot while allowing for an easy removal.

The ratchet style has two straps that feed through a small clip; then you simply pull until a snug, comfortable fit. To remove, simply press the release clip and remove the strap. The quick set–quick release, or “Quick Tight,” however, is made more for those younger snowshoers or folks who could struggle to reach down to their feet. It’s simply a matter of personal preference and what works best for the user.

When looking at frames, it might be difficult to find what works best for you. But according to Tommerdahl, anodized aluminum is a must.

“The benefits of aluminum is that it doesn’t rot or rust and it’s lightweight,” said Tommerdahl. “The type we use is very strong, so the frame is difficult to break. Anodization is twofold. It’s for cosmetics, meaning the color, and it protects the aluminum from corroding or tinting of the metal.”

Snowshoe Specifics

Once you get an idea for what materials and binding type works for you, the next step is to find and select the perfect pair to get you going. Expedition provides four models: Truger, Classic Trail, Expedition Trail and Explorer Plus. Each offers some different variations, so there’s no doubt you’ll be able to find the right pair. And if you’re in need of some accessories, many shoes come in kit form and include a carrying case and walking poles.

With the Truger series, you’ll find an anodized gray frame made of lightweight and strong 7075 aluminum, the “Quick Tight” binding system and an articulating silicone and stainless steel toe bar brace. The Classic Trail, while also made of the 7075 aluminum, offers a one-hand ratchet system as opposed to the “Quick Tight” system.

The Expedition Trail series boasts the same aluminum type as the two previous models but offers a dual ratchet system for added security, an articulating toe brace bar and a handy carrying bag. Finally, the Explorer Plus gets you a durable 6061 aluminum frame with a bright golden bronze frame and dual ratchet bindings.

Location, Location, Location

The world is your oyster when it comes to where to snowshoe. Most city parks, state parks and even national parks encourage snowshoeing. And if you know the right folks, even private land (as long as you have permission, of course) can be utilized for snowshoeing.

“Woods, lakes, parks, swamps, mountains and hills are great places to trek,” Tommerdahl suggested.

However, there are a few safety concerns to consider when hitting the terrain, like the use of caution in areas that are unfamiliar. When snow is covering the ground, it can be difficult to judge what’s underneath it, so consider that the terrain underneath could be dangerous, and proceed carefully.

Tommerdahl suggests trekking in the daylight hours, or if you do get out at night, make sure to bring a compass and have proper lighting. “If you are a beginner, practice in your yard, local parks or easy areas to trek,” he explained. “Once your skills improve, find your way into the outdoors.”

Even as the snow begins to fall, covering up the gorgeous green hiking trails that trekkers covered all spring, summer and fall, the exploration doesn’t need to end. With all of the various features available in Expedition Outdoors snowshoes, there’s no doubt a perfect fit out there to ensure that your sense of adventure can stay alive and well all winter long.

-Ski Bum

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Stockings are Hung!

Fill them up with some of this season’s most exciting toy offerings.

It’s that time of year when little boys and girls start dreaming of the exciting new toys that are the talk of the town. Big boys and girls dream as well, and why not, we all enjoy spending some leisure time with toys both classic and high-tech. This year, Dunham’s is offering the toys that are at the top of everyone’s wish list. And with the holidays approaching, now is the time to buy before supplies of the hottest new games and gadgets disappear.

Back From the Future

Everyone remembers the hoverboard that Marty McFly rode in his visit to 2015. Well as of 2017, genuine hoverboards — skateboard-like devices that magically suspend in the air — still aren’t available in anything other than large and clunky prototype form. But a device that replicates the feel and capabilities of a hoverboard is among the advanced toys now available from the high-tech startup, GOTRAX, and you can get it at Dunham’s.

The GOTRAX HOVERFLY ECO is what McFly would have been riding if he had visited 2017. Designed by GOTRAX’s brilliant engineers, the board relies on space-age electric gyroscopes to self-balance. Lean forward and off you go in the direction indicated by your weight shift. Shift weight to your right foot and the board turns left. Shift weight to your left foot and the board turns right. If Marty had been riding this board, he could have snagged that problematic magazine on the fly.

The board’s gyroscope is powered by a lithium-ion battery that is UL approved for both use and charging. It’s fun, it’s safe, it’s a toy that even dad and mom will want to try.

Strap a Kart to Your Board

The HOVERFLY KART magically transforms the HOVERFLY ECO into a different transportation device. What was once a hoverboard is now a go kart, powered by the same space-age technology. The kart attaches to the HOVERFLY board with straps and provides a comfortable seat. Two handles with space-foam grips allow intuitive acceleration, braking and steering. Strap it on and off you go!

Classics LEGO Toys for Kids and the Young at Heart

Everyone loves LEGO sets. We all grew up building great stuff with these interlocking blocks, and so did our kids. Now, Dunham’s stocks a full line of LEGO products, so we can all do it again.

Amanda Madore, the senior manager of brand relations for LEGO Systems said, “If there’s a kid or a kid at heart in your household, there’s a LEGO toy for them.” And with many different LEGO sets now available at Dunham’s you can find exactly the right kit, right here. Stop in, and your Dunham’s sales consultant will be happy to help you choose an age-appropriate LEGO toy for the big and little kids on your list.

For the itty-bitty kids of 18 months to about four, there are DUPLO LEGO sets. About twice the size of regular LEGO bricks, they’re easy to work with and provide your toddler with a great first-time building experience. For the kids four and up, who might not be quite ready for the more challenging LEGO kits, LEGO Juniors is a great option. Sets in this range include standard size LEGO bricks, but some parts of build projects, such as walls for example, are pre-built and ready to snap into place.

For children with an engineering bent, there is LEGO Technic, with gears and other functional parts that enable the building of things like stunt bikes and stunt trucks. And of course, there are the LEGO licensed options, including five LEGO Star Wars project kits and a number of LEGO Ninjago sets to choose from as well.

Looking for the LEGO toy you remember as a child for your children? Dunham’s can fill the bill with LEGO Classic selections, which are open-ended collections of bricks and other parts kids need to design their own projects. Stimulating creativity while providing hours of free-form fun, LEGO Classic turns on the imaginative child in all of us.

Realtree from NKOK

NKOK, one of the most exciting and inventive toy companies in America, now has a line of toys based on Realtree camouflage — a natural for the outdoors-loving Dunham’s customer. Kevin Greene, a designer at NKOK, says Realtree is an iconic brand and a leader in exciting camouflage designs. That’s why his company was anxious to team up with the graphic design firm and is pleased to offer products utilizing their creations.

Among the exciting new entries is a 26-inch cross bow for kids that looks and works like the real thing but fires only safe suction cup tipped arrows. The arrows can be fired more than 30 feet, and the set comes complete with a target for practice. The toy teaches archery skills and safe hunting practices. It’s a must have for every outdoors-loving family.

Also offered by NKOK and available at Dunham’s are 1/24th scale toy trucks with friction engines and Realtree paint schemes in Ford and Jeep models. They’re plenty fast and a whole lot of fun for your truck-loving youngster. For the young one who is ready to master control functions, there are big and brawny 14-inch Realtree battery-powered trucks that can be driven by remote control. Looking for a remote-control truck on a smaller scale? Dunham’s has Realtree RC trucks in 1/24th scale as well.

Let’s Scoot

I see kids buzzing around the neighborhood on electric scooters, and it looks like those motor driven toys are a blast. The GOTRAX GLIDER (as shown on page 20) is a stand-up electric scooter that’s powered by a stout motor and a safe UL approved lithium-ion battery. Thanks to the muscle of its 250-watt electric motor, the scooter can reach a top speed of 17 mph. And it can take your older child or teenager up to 9 miles on a single charge. That makes for hours of fun in the neighborhood.

But wait! You can ride it to work as well. It folds into a relatively small package and weighs just 17 pounds. So, take it on the bus or subway. Unfold it when you get off and ride the rest of the way to the job. A day that starts with a scooter ride can’t possibly go wrong.

Science for Everyone

GOTRAX is a high-tech startup with a vision. Jason Wakefield, the company’s chief marketing officer and Don Stefanovich, the director of public relations, told Dunham’s about a plan they have to send kids to Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. GOTRAX is tomorrow’s toy company. The Colorado startup employs well-educated engineers and is constantly involved in the development of high-tech toys and gadgets. That’s our kind of toy company.

The feeling of discovery and excitement that is pervasive at GOTRAX is something the company wants to share. Soon they’ll be telling kids how they can win a trip to Space Camp, and you can be sure Dunham’s will be involved. Together, to the future. Let’s go!

-Your Friends at Dunham’s

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