Do It On The Ice

Real fishermen & Women don’t call it quits when lake freezes over.
 
Fishing through the ice is a great way to extend the season. It doesn’t require a lot of gear, since casting isn’t part of the equation. What is necessary if you want to fish in comfort is an ice fishing shelter. Dunham’s, your ice fishing headquarters, carries a range of shelters in hub, cabin and flip-up styles.
 
Hub-style shelters provide plenty of room. They’re inexpensive, sturdy, light and easy to set up. Attached to the ice with anchors they remain in place when the wind howls.
 
Dunham’s stocks three Fatfish hub-style shelters from Eskimo. The Fatfish 767 measures 76-by 76-inches at the base and stands 67-inches tall. Collapsed, it can be carried on your back. Fatfish 949 and 949i shelters measure 94- by 94-inches at the base, stand 80-inches high and can accommodate three to four. The 949i is insulated, making it 35% warmer than a non-insulated shelter.
 
Two Shappell hub-style shelters are available. The Wide House 5500 has a floor area of 75- by 75-inches and is 68-inches high. The Wide House 6500 has a floor area of 90- by 90-inches.and is 80 inches tall.
 
Cabin-style shelters are heavier than hub-style shelters and set up like a tent. They come with a built-in floor for extra warmth. Once setup they should be anchored.
 
The Shappell DX 3000 shelter measure 45- by 72-inches and is 72-inches high. Features include six removable windows and two fishing holes with covers.
 
Flip-style shelters are for anglers on the move. If you fish more than a couple of spots each time you head out on the ice, a transportable flip-type shelter might be right for you. Built on sleds they can be easily raised and lowered.
 
Two flip-style shelters from Shappell are available: the FX100 and FX 200. Both feature solid one-piece flip frames. Full width padded sliding bench seats provide plenty of comfort and help reduce the amount of gear that you have to carry. Because the base is a sled, packing up and moving is painless. The FX 100 is 44-inches wide by 85-inches deep when set up. Overall height is 59-inches. The FX 200 is 60-inches wide by 88-inches deep at a height of 61-inches.
 
Also available at select Dunham’s locations is the Wide1 Inferno flip-style shelter from Eskimo. The shelter measures 85-inches by 51-inches at the base and stands 60.5-inches tall. Fully insulated for extra warmth, it comes with an expandable bottom and a comfortable swivel seat.
 
The fish await, so let’s gather up some gear, head out on the ice and drill some fishing holes. Few other outdoor activities are as inexpensive, entertaining and rewarding.
 
-Hook, Line & Sinker
 
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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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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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Jargon Jumping

Are you in-the-know when it comes to ski and snowboard jargon? Take this quiz to find out if you’re Black Diamond or podium worthy.

1. Air  

2. Bale  

3. Betty

4. Black Diamond

5. Carving

6. Egg

7. Fakie

8. Freestyle

9. Half-Pipe

10. Moguls

11. Nose-Grab

12. Piste

13. Pow pow 

14. Wedging

15. Switch

16. Ollie

17. Yard Sale

A. Using the edges of a ski or snowboard to make a turn

B. A U-shaped structure used to perform snowboard tricks

C. Grabbing the front of a snowboard during a jump

D. A female snowboard rider

E. A type of riding that involves doing tricks and jumps

F. Ski areas smoothed by Piste Basher or RatTrac machines

G. Jumping, as in the air under a snowboard

H. Freshly-fallen, undisturbed snow

I. Moving slowly and carefully down a hill to inspect moguls

J. Riding a snowboard backwards

K. Another word for “bumps” or mounds of snow

L. To pull out of a snowboard maneuver

M. A gondola lift, also called a “bubble” or “cabin”

N. A challenging ski trail or slope, usually reserved for experts only

O. The act of lifting the nose and tail of the board at the same time

P. To ride with the tail of your board in front

Q. Falling so hard your gloves, helmet, goggles, etc. go everywhere!

1. G    2. L    3. D    4. N    5. A    6. M    7. J    8. E    9. B    10. K    11. C    12. F    13. H    14. I   15. P   16. O   17. Q

-Ski Bum

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Jingle All The Way

Enjoy winter sports without giving away all your coin.
 
The classic winter sports scenario is the stuff of fantasies. It usually includes a cold, crisp day spent skiing fresh powder at a gorgeous mountain resort, followed by an evening in front of the fire at the clubhouse lounge. The very thought of it is enough to warm your heart — while putting a chill on your finances. What’s more, with airline inconveniences, long lift lines, icy slopes and unpredictable weather, expensive winter vacations often fail to live up to the imagery.
 
Fortunately, winter fun need not be expensive. The beauty of the season and a full measure of cold-weather exhilaration can be had close to home for minimal dollars. Many winter sports require very little equipment, investment, or travel, yet they can be very enjoyable. Among them are snowshoeing, sledding, and ice fishing.
 
Snowshoeing
 
Snowshoeing? Didn’t that go out of style a few hundred years ago? Hardly. Snowshoeing has become one of America’s fastest growing winter sports. And it offers a number of benefits that have led to its rise in popularity.
 
First, a trek on snowshoes gets you moving in the great outdoors, and some of the best places to snowshoe are beautifully remote locations where others have not tread. Unlike skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing is easy to learn. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. And you can do it for a minimal investment. Snowshoe prices start at less than $100, and even top-of-the-line models are affordable at around $300.
 
Finally, snowshoeing offers significant health benefits. It’s a low-impact sport, so your chances of injury are minimal. Long snowshoe walks build endurance and strength while burning calories. If you use poles while walking on snowshoes, you’ll build upper body strength as well.
 
Yukon Charlie’s, a major supplier of snowshoe equipment, says that while poles are not required they’re recommended, since they provide balance and stability on challenging terrain, while reducing stress on the knees and increasing overall cardiovascular activity.
 
Sledding
 
Sledding offers much of the speed and thrills of skiing without the expense. If you have a hill near home that gets a good coat of snow in the winter, your entire family can enjoy this winter sport for a truly minimal investment.
 
H2O Recreation, a major supplier of sleds, says that inexpensive plastic sleds are among today’s top sellers.
 
“These range from the basic round saucer at less than $10 to 39-inch, 48-inch and 66-inch sleds, ranging in price from about $10 to less than $20,” H2O says. “They’re used for recreational sledding, but also see service for things like hauling wood and ice fishing. They’ve been popular for more than 25 years.”
 
Inflatable sleds and tubes have come more recently to the slippery slopes. They provide a soft ride, but do not offer much steering control.
 
H2O says that foam sleds are a fast growing category. They are lightweight and fun to ride. Many come with colorful graphics. They’re available in various lengths, and most are priced between $20 and $30.
 
Among other available snow toys that can provide thrills on hills are snow scooters, which combine a snowboard with a scooter-like hinged handle. Classic wooden sleds are available as well. While more costly than modern alternatives, they are a blast from the past.
 
Ice Fishing
 
Ice fishing is a fast growing sport that offers relaxing entertainment for countless anglers. In the cold northern regions of the country, it’s not uncommon to see a flotilla of fishing huts out on a frozen lake.
 
The first rule of ice fishing is “be safe.” The U.S. Army Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory recommends that only those in good physical condition should venture out onto the ice, because of the intense exertion that can accompany ice emergencies. Clothing should not restrict your ability to stay afloat. Hip boots and waders are taboo. A flotation vest or jacket is recommended. Ice picks that can help a fallen fisherman grip the edge of an ice sheet can be life savers.
 
When heading out on the ice, check the thickness every 150 feet or so by drilling a hole with your drill or ice auger. Check it more often if you find that the thickness varies. Determining how thick the ice has to be to support a load is complicated, as there are many variables. You can find detailed charts and specific recommendations on the U.S. Army web page at http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/ierd/ice_safety/safety.html.
 
While elaborate ice-fishing equipment is available, you don’t need a lot to get started. South Bend Sporting Goods, says her company offers a kit that includes everything you need to start ice fishing. It’s called the R2F Panfish Complete Ice Fishing Combo, and it comes with a rod, pre-spooled reel, a tackle box, and more.
 
Of course, you can’t fish until you’ve cut a hole in the ice. For that you’ll need an ice auger. A sled to carry the auger is most helpful as well. An ice scoop — essentially a dipper with holes in the bottom — is needed to keep your fishing hole clear.
 
The dangers of frostbite and overexposure can be significant for the unprotected fisherman. If you plan on being out on the ice for more than a couple hours, a shelter is a good investment. Frabill, Inc., a leading manufacturer of ice-fishing shelters, says that hub-style shelters are lightweight and range in price from $150 to $300. Black in color, they retain quite a bit of the sun’s heat on a bright day.
 
Whether you snowshoe, sled or fish, you’re going to want to end the day just like those folks at the fancy resorts do: in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate in hand. It’s the perfect conclusion to a great day of active winter fun. And you don’t have to travel to Aspen to enjoy it.
 
-Ski Bum
 
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