WINTER SPORTS — Working on an upcoming story on snowshoeing, I've compiled these tips to help you get started if you're thinking about heading up to Mount Spokane this weekend for the Women's Souper Bowl activities — or maybe you're just heading out on your own.
- Take food and water when you’re snowshoeing. You can burn a lot of calories and easily become dehydrated, even on the coldest days. Hot coffee, tea or soup in a thermos is a great mood lifter to chase away chills.
- Bring basic safety equipment in case of an emergency, including a map, compass, weatherproof fire-starter and a space blanket. A GPS and cell phone are other options, but cold weather can quickly drain batteries.
- Get an early start. Daylight doesn’t last long in winter. If you start late, you’re more likely to wind up in the dark if something goes wrong. Let someone you can trust know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
- Plan a route that heads uphill first. It will make your return trip quicker and less strenuous.
- Watch the weather. Blizzards can cause whiteouts that erase your tracks and make route-finding difficult even on marked trails. Temperatures also can drop drastically during winter.
- Dogs love snow, but it takes a lot of effort for them to get through deep snow. Plan the distance of your trip according to your companion’s ability. Frequently check for ice build up between their toes.
- Your boots will be covered with snow, so make sure they’re warm and waterproof. Wear gaiters.