We got about two feet of snow this week in the Champlain Valley. It has been a couple of years since we have had this much snow around here which is fairly unusual. So far this year we have had to trek up into the mountains in order to partake in any winter activities, and even then there has been too little snow for some of them. My cousins (who have a 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter) came up a few weeks ago for a visit, and there was not enough snow for a sleigh ride. We had to content ourselves with a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory instead. Not a bad trade off, but not what you would usually expect for Vermont at this time of year. Prior to this week the most snow we have gotten this winter was the 7″ we got in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.
I am of the opinion that if I am going to suffer through a long and cold winter there should be a large quantity of fluffy snow to play in. I like being able to pull on my snowshoes right outside the house and venture off into woods. To my delight, I have been able to do that a few times this week.
Backyard Snowshoeing Tips:
- Know your terrain. You want to be aware of where all your water sources, uneven terrain, and low lying obstacles are. They are not always visible in a deep snow, and can cause serious injury if you are not careful.
- Look up for falling ice or snow.
- Deep snow is nature’s StairMaster, and walking through deep snow with snowshoes can take some getting used to. If you are laying out a new trail, and have the option, work your way downhill first. That way, on your return trip, the snow will already be slightly packed down and you will not have to lift your legs as high.
- Lift your legs. Do not shuffle. If you do, you will trip over your own snowshoes and fall into a snow drift. I would know.
- If you come across fresh animal tracks, and feel like tracing them, follow them backwards so that you do not encounter or disturb the animal.
- Be aware of hunters during hunting season, and wear bright colors accordingly. Take note of trapping season if you are walking with pets.