Snowshoe Report December 21, 2020

It is Winter Solstice and the night of the planetary crossing but those darn clouds are mucking up the Driftless night skies. Today’s possible snow forecast was disappointing as well. But that is how winter goes sometimes in SW Wisconsin.

The seven-day forecast for snow is scant at best. It was just a “taste” last weekend but hopefully, we will head in 2021 with many winter snowfalls. We have a snowmobile all tuned-up and ready to go as well. At least you can snowshoe in less snow than what is required for the snowmobile trails!

Now is the time to celebrate the Holidays with family and stay healthy. Perhaps you will get some new outerwear for Christmas or a new set of snowshoes! As the Scandinavians always say, “there is no bad weather, just bad clothing.” While we wait for that perfect powder to come, you can get your gear ready.

I find snowshoeing to be a very warm activity once you get going. I have a variety of neck gators, ear muffs, and scarves. I do use a neoprene-type outdoor face mask on those really cold days when the wind chill is in the negative numbers. I usually wear a long sleeve thermal top with a vest zipped up over the top and then my winter coat over that. My winter coat is left mostly unzipped except for the coldest weather. I have a few thermal leggings that are designed for cold weather but I have also used fleece tights under leggings. Sometimes, two layers are better than one as the air trapped between the layers keeps you extra warm.

I find if I dress too bulky, it can be uncomfortable while snowshoeing. Layers are always best. I actually use a fairly lightweight set of gloves. My fingers will feel cold at first but with the activity of using poles, they warm up quickly. I find mostly-if my ears and hands are covered-I can endure some pretty cold temps. You can work up a pretty good sweat with the exertion of snowshoeing so look for clothing that wicks away the moisture.

Last year was one of the first years I was actually able to snowshoe in deeper snow and I did find the snow coming into the top of my boots at times. I have put ankle gators on my Christmas wish list this year as they are supposed to protect a bit better. As far as boots go, I find a good supportive boot is helpful. Your ankles don’t need the support of ski/snowboarding boots but your foot should be well-supported for physical activity. A pair of good hiking boots can work with extra socks for those just beginning. I have experienced the straps from the snowshoes rubbing on my boots and leaving marks so you might not want to wear those expensive Sorrel boots with suede/leather.

We at Ridge & Valley Tours hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and may all of us be safe & healthy in 2021! And, hopefully, Santa puts those new snowshoes under the tree! Until the next report-Happy Holidays, Teri & Marty Richards

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