Wednesday Feb 29 2012
Get ready to embark on an icy adventure at Tahoe
By: Laura Newell, Folsom Lake Entertainer
Folsom Lake Entertainer
After a dry winter, snow sports have been on hold for many winter sports lovers. But with recent snow storms, winter sports are beginning to spike. For those who want a calm walk in the snow to view their outdoor surroundings, rather than racing down the ski slopes, one may look to snowshoeing. Cathy Anderson-Meyers, 64, is a REI sierra outdoor school senior instructor. She first started snowshoeing in 1992 and quickly became hooked. “I was a downhill skier and after getting married, I started to cross country ski,” Anderson-Meyers said. “After having my first son, I stopped because I couldn’t ski with my young family. Then in 1992, a friend told me about snowshoeing.” At the time, she had two sons, ages 18 months and 3. “We went out for the first time together as a family,” she said. “I was hooked.” The next year, she started a snowshoeing business called Cathy Works Snowshoe Tours, and today is in her 18th season. “I’m still going, and I still love it,” she said. “In my time frame, snowshoeing has changed quite a bit. Today the materials are stronger and better-made so they won’t break. They are just safer all around.” Anderson-Meyers started working with REI six years ago. There she teaches snowshoe clinics and leads snowshoe tours. She works year-round with REI also teaching kayaking, stand-up paddle board, back country skills, map and compass, road cycling and a “how to ride a bike” class. “People are beginning to realize that they can have outdoor activities during the winter,” Anderson-Meyers said. “Snowshoeing gives people a chance to explore their favorite summer trails during the winter.” She said there is a level of fitness required when snowshoeing because people are walking with large snowshoes and backpacks in the cold weather at a higher altitude. “This is an aerobic sport and you will sweat,” she said. “For a winter sport, you have to do some preplanning before a trip. You will want to research the weather before, so you can be safe and prepare.” She said there are a few needed materials before taking a snowshoe trip. First, people will need a snowshoe that correctly fits their feet. Snowshoes usually run about 21 to 25 inches long, with smaller sizes for children. REI sells and rents snowshoes. Second, people need a pole. The pole will give the upper body an extra workout, while giving the person extra support as well. Third, the snowshoer will need think waterproof boots and wool blend socks to stay warm and dry while walking directly in the snow. Anderson-Meyers even suggested wearing two pairs of socks to keep ankles warm. Fourth, people should wear layers of clothing. “Layers are important because as you get warmer while walking, you can take layers off,” she said. “You will also need a backpack with a working water system. Snowshoers need a minimum of two liters of water per person. You will need more water than you think you’ll need.” Anderson-Meyers said snowshoers should not wear any cotton. “It is important to wear layers of wool blend and polyester blends to keep moisture away from the body, including sweat,” Anderson-Meyers said. “You don’t want to get wet, have a cold wind come and then potentially get hypothermia. This is serious. It is important to protect your body from the cold. This is a real winter sport.” She said gloves and hats are also a must have while on the snow. Anderson-Meyers also said it’s important to stay on the designated snowshoe routes to avoid running into skiers. REI provides in-store classes and tours for interested snowshoers. “We teach you on the snow,” Anderson-Meyers said. “We put the shoes on you and we go. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is. You’ll love it, it’s great.” For more information, maps and a full snowshoe schedule, visit rei.com/learn.