"Little" - Bigfeet make tracks on winter trails in the Shuswap -
“Little” Bigfeet make tracks on winter trails in the Shuswap
The Shuswap, British Columbia – They may not quite meet Bigfoot status, but strap-on cleats make all the difference for winter days out on the trail – and they do make an odd enough track.
Warm winter days have meant lower snow levels in the low elevation trails around Shuswap Lake, but winter hiking is still at a premium. The Shuswap Trail Alliance’s Winter Trails Project has been helping to profile trail opportunities throughout the region this season. And while higher elevation trails warrant snowshoes or skiis, the lower trails are equally enjoyable with ice-cleats and poles.
A recent Get Your Bigfoot On Shuswap snowshoe hike shifted gears a little and explored these smaller tools for winter walking – the strap-on ice cleat – or “Little” bigfeet, as the group joked. Light and inexpensive, strap-on cleats coupled with a pair of ski poles transform icy trails into welcome gateways to the wintery forests and hills.
“We were impressed with the variety of ice-cleat models that came out on Saturday,” said Shuswap Trail Alliance hike leader, Lori Schneider Wood. Of the five key varieties, all seemed to work according to Lori, but a few features were worth noting. A strap-on cleat that covered the whole length of the boot’s sole was favoured. This prevented awkward pressure angles on the balls of the feet. And the addition of over the foot Velcro webbing helped to increase the sense of security and prevent cleats from accidently getting knocked off.
Traction ranged from metal screws and short riveted spikes, to the more unique coil variety. All provided suitable grip on packed snow and ice. “And include hiking or ski poles,” added Lori. “These really make a difference in people’s stability on icy trails.”
The Shuswap Trail Alliance joins with all the outdoor stewardship organizations of the region encouraging everyone to consider the options – skies, snowshoes, ice-cleats – and then venture outside to explore our trails this winter. Snowshoes can be rented at Skookum Cycle and Ski or John’s Ski Shack, and all the local outdoor retailers carry ice-cleats.
The next guided Get Your Big Foot On snowshoe trek explores the Larch Hills Nordic snowshoe trails in partnership with the Unplugged and Play Literacy Week on Saturday, January 28th from 1:00 – 4:00 pm (meet at the Main Larch Hills Chalet.) All ages and experience levels welcomed. Program includes snowshoe orientation for beginners and etiquette with the Shuswap Trail Alliance JCP Winter Trails team. Bring your snowshoes and poles. For snowshoe rentals call Skookum Cycle and Ski in Salmon Arm, or John’s Ski Shack at Larch Hills.
To find out more about Shuswap Trails throughout the region, visit www.shuswaptrails.com or call 250-832-0102. Don’t forget to buy your Shuswap Trail Party and fundraiser tickets for February 3rd. And be sure to “Like” the Shuswap Trails Facebook page. 1000 likes by Feb 3rd trigger entry for hot prizes.
The Shuswap Trail Alliance JCP Winter Trails project is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement, with sponsor support from Skookum Cycle and Ski and Atlas Snowshoes.
Photo caption: Get Your “Little” Big Foot On – The Shuswap Trail Alliance explores ice-cleats during a recent winter hike up the Sicamous Switchbacks trail. Light and inexpensive, strap-on cleats coupled with a pair of ski poles transform icy trails into welcome gateways to the wintery forests and hills. Visit www.shuswaptrails.com.
For further background on this release, please contact:
Phil McIntyre-Paul (Project Coordinator)
for the Shuswap Trail Alliance