January/February 2011

In my last post, I described a wonderful, free incentive program to get kids outdoors. I’ve spent some time looking around for similar cold-weather programs elsewhere in the AMC region and haven’t found anything quite like UVTA’s Passport to Winter Fun. I did find several “winter passport” programs for downhill and Nordic ski areas in…

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Your body strives to keep your brain operating, no matter what the conditions. It will sacrifice toes, feet, and fingers to winter’s bite but continue pumping warm blood to your head until the bitter end. And your neck is the conduit for all that brain-bathing warmth. In cold conditions, retain this precious body heat with…

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Part 9 in an ongoing series highlighting Northeast-based gear companies. As a follow-up to my recent post on Winter Traction Systems, I wanted to more extensively highlight 32North of Biddeford, Maine—manufacturer of STABILicers. Produced locally in Maine for nearly 20 years, STABILicers Originals ($49.95) were one of the first winter traction devices to hit market….

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It’s been a great winter so far, or a long one — possibly depending on how many hours you’ve spent handling your snow shovel or driving through slush and snow. Even snow days have become part of the school routine for our kids, and therefore — shockingly — boring. Luckily, we’re involved in a program…

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There’s no question that a good pair of poles is a boon for staying on your feet and balanced while out snowshoeing, especially if you’re tromping around in uneven terrain or snow conditions. But what exactly is the difference between a pair of trekking poles and those marketed as “snowshoe” poles? Not much. They are…

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Cold braces, cold bites, cold is your enemy on long winter nights. When late-night temperatures plummet and warmth is precious for sleep, a good winter sleeping system cocoons you in comfy dreamland no matter what the conditions. It’s in the BagFor winter camping adventures, you need a winter sleeping bag. Choose a model rated to…

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More than a decade ago, I acquired a pair of well-used MSR Denali Classic snowshoes that somebody dropped into the “Free” box at work. They were vintage even then, featuring the original lash binding system that debuted with the snowshoe in 1995. Since that fateful day, this pair has been my go-to snowshoe for any…

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When I was a kid, my dad showed me how to create a fir-bough bed by chopping the soft branches from a live tree. He built fire rings every time we camped and burned our trash before we packed up so we wouldn’t carry it out. He taught us to answer the call of nature…

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In my last post, I shared some ideas from outdoor educator Deb Williams about how to dress kids warmly in winter. But appropriate dress is only part of it. Here are a few more suggestions to keep in mind when the north wind blows… Make sure kids eat. Williams tells her students that going on…

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There’s a growing new category of winter traction devices out there for walking in snowy, icy terrain. Which this winter means basically every city and town in the Northeast, plus any winter hiking adventure in the backyard woods or deeper mountains. This new category—which we’ll call “winter traction systems” for lack of a better term—spans…

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