Sharing an active lifestyle

I've recently been contemplating how important it is to share our talents, hobbies, and enjoyment of active lifestyles onto the youth in our lives.

With today being all things tech, the way children grow up has changed significantly.  With technology there are lots of great things that some of us never had growing up, that will come second nature to kids today.  But those things, if not careful can take up too much time and some can miss out the amazing fun actives we cherished in our own lives.

Just like we may look to these younger generations to bring us into the next best and brightest in the technology front, they will need us to show them and teach them to put down the screen and appreciate an active lifestyle and the opportunities that spending time in the outdoors can bring.

As I spend time with my nieces and nephews, as much as I love taking the time to play video games with them, and let them show me the coolest YouTube video they found. I also find myself enjoying it more when I show them the things I loved to do growing up and still do. Funny thing about that, they enjoy their time with me more in the outdoors than when we are in front of a screen. Whether that is taking them hiking, fishing, teaching them to love the outdoors as much as I do, or just playing tag or other similar backyard games with them, there are so many ways I have enjoyed showing them my lives loves.

Why am I this way, why do I love and feel the need to share? Possibly, because of my incredible parents who when I was younger, would take me out on a bike and let me tag along while they got their long runs in.  They’d take me and my siblings out hiking to explore as many canyons and trails as possible.  We spent more time being active as a family than anything else.  To this day, those are the memories I cherish and remember the most above all others!

What I have noticed is when kids are active with you they talk more, share more and tell more about their lives.  I learn more about them while I am taking them out hiking for a few hours than I do playing hours of video games.  

Not only that, but I am earning their respect and trust and helping build an active foundation in their lives.  At the same time sharing this time with them is also a bonus for me, I am able to have more people to take with me to do the things I love too.  Who knows but these shared experiences and fun active times, might be the same things they choose to pass onto their own future generations too!  

So if you don't already, I challenge others who have children, nieces and nephews or kids around them.  To remember the fun times you had growing up, and do all you can to bring those same opportunities and shared experiences into the generations around you. It may be hard to pull them away from the screen, but when you do, they'll probably love you even more for it. Regardless, it's worth it!

Snowshoeing for Intermediate

Last week, I wrote about snowshoeing for beginners. But if you've been renting them for a while, or know this is a sport you are going to love to do often, it's time to look into buying your own pair. Here are a few of my suggestions in moving forward in your snowshoe adventures.


Hopefully, you've rented a few pairs first, and know what you'd like to buy. If not make sure to remember a few things.

To buy, you're looking at $100 - $300 or higher depending on the brand. Generally, most come as a package so you'll get the shoes, poles and a storage bag for them.

Generally, if you visit a store you'd think you would have a salesperson who would know exactly how to help you. While we'd like to think this is true, generally the person working there is a high school or college student who may never have done it before. So here are a few tips and suggestions to make sure you are purchasing the right pair.

One thing to know is there are basically 3 different types of snowshoes. Regular hiking, backcountry hiking, and aerobic or shoes for running. Now within these 3 types, there are lots and lots of options and brands.

TIP: Snowshoes will work with nearly every boot. You don't need to buy a special boot unless you want to. Any good waterproof boot will work great! I say use your waterproof hiking boots your feet are already used to and comfortable in.

Don't just buy the shoe for your current weight.
Remember, you'll be carrying water, a backpack with gear for a day. So think about the maximum weight you may be carrying and make sure to buy a shoe for that weight, not just your standing in a towel on the scale weight.

Buy a snowshoe with a deck for what you plan to venture into.
Longer the deck, the better for deeper snow. Shorter the deck, easier to move around and great for more packed in snow.

Buy traction for what you plan to do. If you don't venture out and do much climbing around minimal traction may work great for you. But if you plan to hit up icy areas, do some climbing, you'll want more traction.  Also, consider heel lifts if you plan to do lots of climbing to make the climbs feel more natural.

Generally, they'll come with your purchase. But you will want poles with large baskets on them.


I don't recommend going into the backcountry when you are first learning about snowshoeing, because there is a lot more to consider. But once you get going with the sport, it might be your next step.

So, if you do go into the backcountry plan ahead!

* Know your route and what the terrain is under the snow.
* Check avalanche danger reports for the area your going into.
* Make sure you have an avalanche beacon and shovel.

If you go into the backcountry it's recommended EVERYONE in your snowshoe party carry a beacon and light shovel in their back, just in case. A beacon can be expensive, but it could save your life, and you might find yours or someone else's life worth the price! If you can't afford a beacon, stick to the trails and avoid the backcountry until you can purchase one.

The list could be different depending on your hike. In general here is a quick list of items to consider.

* Avalanche Beacon
* Light folding shovel
* Waterproof boots
* Waterproof breathable jacket
* Waterproof breathable pants
* Parka, coat, or vest
* Fleece pants
* Hat (Wool or Fleece)
* Buff or Face Cover
* Goggles
* Sled (For gear, or for going downhill LOL)
* Chapstick
* Sunscreen
* Backpack to put your gear in
* Wool socks - Never cotton
* Gaitors to help keep snow out of your boots in deeper snow

If you're going into the backcountry for longer distances you should always plan ahead in case you run into troubles.

* First aid kit
* Matches
* Foil blanket
* Extra food, water
* Extra clothes (in case what your wearing gets wet)
* Headlamp or flashlight

TIP: Stay dry!!! Dress in layers, you will find you will get warm pretty quick and you will want to be able to reduce your layers easily when you start sweating.
You'll frequently find if you are out all day, you may be in and out of several of your layers depending on when you warm up, wind chills and other factors.


Chances are you'll be fine. But avalanches are only one danger to be aware of when snowshoeing if you go into the backcountry here are a few (not all) of the things you should think about.

* Slips and falls through frozen water
* Frostbite
* Know how to build a snow cave
* Be mindful of weather conditions and oncoming storms
* Navigation, GPS, Maps - Know where you are going and how to get out.
* Deep snow - Be prepared even in snowshoes to have to plow through several feet
* Snow or air pockets you may fall through
* Understand your limitations - You may be used to hiking 10 miles, but there is no shame at cutting back for 1-3 miles if you're struggling in the snow.

* Never go alone - Always tell someone when you're expected to be done and where you are going. Don't venture too far from you're planned route that you told someone who wasn't going with you where you were going. In case something happens you'll have a better chance of being found if you're where you said you'd be! You can always go down a new route next time!


This post could be a lot longer, but I wanted to keep it informative and still readable. I highly recommend researching the sport more if you plan to get into backcountry snowshoeing.

Use common sense! It's also wise to remember your preparation and how you act in the outdoors is important. If you do get into trouble and rescue has to come and get you, while it is their job and most do it because they enjoy helping others, your carelessness may put them or others in your hiking party in danger.

Snowshoeing is a really fun sport and if you pay attention and plan ahead it's also a very safe sport.
However, the snow can cover hidden dangers, because of that it is always wise to be prepared.

Additionally, if you really love the sport, consider taking it to another level and entering a snowshoe race!

Happy snowshoeing my friends, be safe!

Snowshoeing Tips for Beginners

It's winter which means snowshoeing for those who enjoy hiking year round. If you haven't done it before, it is great exercise and a lot of fun. I'm going to do a little series on Snowshoeing. This first post is, the basics for beginners.


Before you buy, you'll want to rent several pairs first. Get a feel for them, try different brands and kinds out. They can be fairly inexpensive to rents. In my area, it costs between $6-$9 a day for the shoes and poles.

This is actually the best way to do find the right pair for you, not one shoe workes for all and this way you'll less likely find yourself buying the wrong pair for the type of snowshoeing that you may eventually end up enjoying.

TIP: If you're not sure, try the flat terrain snowshoes first, they are a beginners snowshoe that works for most.

Make sure when you're renting, you're getting ones that are for your weight and the surface you plan to hike.

TIP: Minimal traction is great for flatter areas. But larger traction may be needed if you plan to climb mountains or do more hills.

TIP: Planning to do lots of hills? Look into the flip-up heel lifts, they can help prop your heel up and make it a little less of a workout to hike up steep terrain.


Most snowshoe rentals come with them, because yes you'll like having them for better balance.
Do you always need them? Probably not, but they can be handy to have around.
They are also helpful if you fall (which is rare) but they can make getting up much easier.

TIP: Buy or rent ski poles with ski baskets on them. Or if you have hiking poles, attach large ski baskets on them and you can make them work for both hiking and snowshoeing.

TIP: Falling is rare but most people fall when they cross their snowshoes in the back. When you first start out and before you pick up the pace, practice walking in them a little with your slightly wider stance until you get the hang of them.


Never done it? Ask the outdoors store you are renting your snowshoes for tips on the best trails for beginners. Or look online and find local snowshoe groups that you can join. Generally, unless specified they'll pick safe locations and have checked for avalanche dangers.

TIP: How deep does the snow need to be? Some might say if there is snow they'll try it. But if you don't want to risk ruining the bindings or scraping up your traction I'd say 1 foot minimal, 2+ feet even better.


Before you go into the mountains (especially out west) you MUST check for avalanche dangers.
Even if you get the "clear" from your local news sources. You should always be aware of your surroundings and potential dangers.

Your snowshoes will keep you higher up on the snow. But if you are in deep powder or ungroomed trails you won't be walking on top of the snow.
You will sink, sometimes a foot or more, in fact in deep snow I've had to plow through 4 feet at times.


Things can happen, even to the experienced hiker and snowshoeing while a very fun safe sport does bring a few potential dangers. So I will not promote hiking alone especially if you are a beginner, just in case something were to happen, you might need help.

If you need a snowshoe partner, look for local groups, trust me they are out there. Ask your friends, chances are if you are thinking of trying it out, you may have a family member or friend who is interested in trying it too!


I'll go into a full list in my next post, but as a beginner, I recommend gloves, hat, and dressing in layers some of which are waterproof. Always carry water to drink. You'll find snowshoeing can be quite the workout and you will get thirsty, and a snack is always nice.

Snowshoeing is a lot of fun and a fairly inexpensive sport.  Its basically hiking in the winter with a little more of a workout, so start out with less mileage and a little less aggressive pace than you would while on a regular hike and have fun and enjoy it!

Join me tomorrow where I'll go more in-depth for the person who is looking to purchase their own pair or venture into the backcountry or ungroomed trails.


You may be used to hiking 3-10 miles and in great shape. But snowshoeing is an entirely different workout. There is no shame in going shorter distances, especially when renting and trying out different pairs to see what your body is most comfortable in.
Consider hiking 20 minutes in and out, or pick a short loop hike to start.
If you get done and feel great, you can always go again, or head in a different direction to go further. Don't get yourself in a risky situation or too far out without the energy to come back.
It happens all the time, I'm sure you are used to hearing about the rescues on the news and don't kid yourself even the experienced are part of those rescues, try not to be one of them!