Tag Archives: winter fun

snowshoes

Snowshoes: Wood vs. Aluminum

 

Minnesota has snow this season, lots of the white stuff. Going out and breaking trail in your boots will be hard work, and you might find some snow as deep as your waist. Snowshoes are your best bet to get out and enjoy hiking through the powder.

You have two primary choices to make when deciding upon a pair of snowshoes: wood vs. aluminum in the make up of the frame.  Wood will then have rawhide or neoprene lacing and aluminum shoes will have a vinyl body section, which provides flotation over the snow.

First, let’s look at aluminum shoes. The advantages of aluminum shoes are they lightweight and smaller than their wooden cousins. The smaller size makes them a better choice for tight spaces like heavily wooded areas. Many aluminum shoes will also have a crampon on the sole of the shoe designed for traction in the hills and slopes of the western U.S.

The disadvantages of aluminum shoes are primarily durability; in extremely cold temperatures the vinyl can become brittle and crack or break. Additionally, many users have found wooden shoes can take more bending or flexing over uneven ground or rocks. And lastly, those crampons have a tendency to collect slush and freeze into a ball on the sole of your shoe.

Second, let’s look at the advantages of wooden snowshoes. Wood shoes are more traditional and date back many years. We all have been to a cabin or outpost where there is a pair of wooden shoes, most likely Iverson Snowshoes, hanging on the wall. They are larger than their aluminum counterparts thereby providing more flotation and making crossing of wide, flat, open areas easier. They are perfect for the dry, light snow of the Midwest. And very well suited for the extreme cold of Minnesota.

The disadvantage of the wooden shoe is that they are heavier than an aluminum shoe, and are generally more expensive.

Best bet is to come to the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park, where there are plenty of snowshoes to choose from, and have one of the extremely knowledgeable staff help you with your choice.

Above all, get out there and enjoy all that snow.

Post By: Brad Putney - Captain Brad Putney considers himself an inland waters guru, having been at the helm of everything from a ten foot inflatable to an America’s Cup yacht. In the summer the Captain works as an outfitter in Ely and is presently a sales associate at Duluth Pack in Canal Park.

 

winner

Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon 2011 has a winner!

In what has to be the closest margin in Beargrease Marathon history, Ryan Anderson from Ray, MN crossed the finish line at approximately 9:28 this morning at Billy’s on Tischer Road. Following less than one minute behind him was last year’s winner from Chisholm, MN, Nathan Shroeder. Total time on trail for Anderson was 39 hours and 51 minutes, for an average speed of 9.4 miles and hour.

Apparently, Shroeder and Anderson dueled all the way south along the shore on the downbound leg. As they approached Duluth and the road crossings became more numerous Shroeder’s dogs became entangled and Anderson was able to get and keep the lead into the finish line.

Both racer’s appeared weary at the end of the race, however, Shroeder congratulated Anderson, and the mushers embraced in the finish area.

As I write there are still teams on trail and you can track their progress at beargrease.com. Additionally, you can join the party at Billy’s tonight starting at 6:00 pm and help wind up a great 2011 race.

Congratulations to Ryan Anderson, his team of dogs, and all the mushers and dog teams who competed in the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon 2011.

See you in 2012.

Photo: Brad Putney, 2011 True North Photography

Post By: Brad Putney - Captain Brad Putney considers himself an inland waters guru, having been at the helm of everything from a ten foot inflatable to an America’s Cup yacht. In the summer the Captain works as an outfitter in Ely and is presently a sales associate at Duluth Pack in Canal Park.