All our alumni had to do this at some point in their snowshoe career! Who out there was the best at snowshoe acrobatics? Tell us your story.
November 29, 2010
Memory Monday, News
November 29, 2010 at 9:14 am
Email sent in from Sherwood Botsford:
When I was at Selkirk, one year I volunteered to help with Interschool. At that time, most of the school went out for IS. If you did a certain number of runs and miles, you got to go with the team to cheer them. It was a break from school.
I was sweep. I was to make sure they all got home.
After the first run, I knew this was going to drive me crazy. The next week, I gave them a half hour start. I caught the last snowshoer by the end of the Fr. Tourney Road. The week after I agave them a 45 minute start. Caught them by the pink house.
Then a full hour. Frank told me that was enough. He was worried about me not catching up, or being there when the smelly stuff hit the ventilation system. I conceded his point. Still caught them before Clandenboye.
In each case, however, I still had to do the rest of the run at the pace of the slowest interschool-wannabee kid in the school. And since there was no relationship between snowshoe ability and desire, this was pretty slow.
So I brought a book. I re-read the Lord of the Rings while snowshoeing that winter.
November 29, 2010 at 9:15 am
My first winter exploratories were truely exploratories. After taking off the grade 11’s to do their dog run (the grade 12’s did it at Christmass) the rest of the school scattered. I had two snowshoe teams, Lazarus’s and I think Bacon’s and a church basement in Jasper to work out of. From there we explored the trails around the townsite.
At one point we were following a cross country ski trail. Needless to say the grooming on the trail wasn’t as neat after we passed. Ran into one skier coming the other way who was serious annoyed — used language I can’t repeat here.
This loop trail was longer than we thought, and it was starting to get dark. I figured we could cut accross the loop, and get back to the edge of town in an hour or so, instead of 4 hours going back the way we came.
So we went cross country. Mistake. Got into a mess of ravines and windfall. At one point I found myself perched on a 6 foot cliff. The snow was soft. I jumped.
It was soft all right. Not evenly soft. Big air pocket under my right ‘shoe, and I went down with a wrenched knee. That slowed me down. I limped at the back, Lazarus did the path finding then.
We got into town about 8 p.m. made supper, had compline, and phoned the school to say all was well.
That knee would haunt me for years. It would ache whenever we did a road walk of more than 30 miles, and once hurting, it would remind me for the rest of the season not to jump into snow with snowshoes on
November 29, 2010 at 4:51 pm
No heroics or jumps but I still have my snowshoes from 1972 and can still barely see my laundry # 222 on them
November 29, 2010 at 5:04 pm
It was one of the Saturday runs when I was in grade 8 and Fredricks was on the same team as me. We were coming over the hill that lead down to the highway just before the bridge on the opposite site of the river. There were several fences to cross and Fredricks was not so good at crossing fences at this point in his snowshoeing career. The team made it over the last fence and since we were close to home and food we wanted to get moving. Fredricks was taking a while so we started slowly going forward until we heard a loud yell. Seems Fredricks had scaled the fence to the point where he was holding himself up on the wire with one leg on either side of the fence. The yell for help was because he was stuck and he could feel the barbs getting closer to a specific area that he was not comfortable having barb wire close to. We all laughed pretty hard after we helped him get down. He improved his fence climbing after that day.
November 29, 2010 at 6:05 pm
We have all been there. You know the barbed wire fence and no way around and snowshoes on and that there is no way you are taking them off as you got your Lampwick just right.
So what is there to do?
I guess Snowshoe Acrobatics as demonstrated above…
Some were better than others but you catch on quickly the more fences we jumped.
November 30, 2010 at 9:24 am
My memory of fences involved snowshoeing across Don Scheideman’s property. Don had fences high enough to keep in elephants and they were quite a challenge to get an entire team over in a timely fashion. I was also with the last snowshoe team to go across Don’s land in 1979. Don didn’t really like anyone so when our team met him (and he was talking directly to me), he stated that he didn’t blame us kids for going across his property, but he sure didn’t like the staff – and by the way where were the staff. I quickly pointed to another team behind us led by staff member, Peter Cain. Peter’s team was stopped, endured a yelling match with Don and had to backtrack and go around the property that added another hour. Our team breezed on through handicapped only by the monstrous fence. Peter Cain could not believe that my charm had allowed me to go through while his British paratrooper smile failed him and the team. Such is life!
November 30, 2010 at 3:56 pm
I’ve got a pretty good scar on my chin from my first year attempt to climb over the fence. My scarf, which was wrapped around my neck, got snagged on the barbed wire and I banged my chin on the fence post. It was so cold – I didn’t realize how bad it was until much later when it warmed up and stung! A little reminder of snowshoeing at SJSA.
December 4, 2010 at 8:07 am
Snowshoe run on the new “Kuhnans” were to the best snowshoes ever, they often broke so you limped along or took them off, the frustration for those that had them was beyond belief. Thankfully I never had them, Friday night after study Mr. Neelands had a treat for us new boys, we were going to try out our new snowshoes and moccassins, so after a quick demonstration on how to tie our snowshoes ( the hand was quicker than the eye or brain to fully understand how he looped , twisted, turned the lampwick into an upside down pretzel that was going to hold foot and snowshoe together ) so off we went ,just go out the dining room door, put them on and go down the driveway, no problem. Well it is very dark outside and bitterly cold, and our hands froze as we tried to tie our lampwick, finally got it all together and stared off, just to have it all come undone before the chapel. Well who needs a parka, mitts or toque and scarf, if you are just going down the driveway and back?,(especailly when you are a teenager ) we all did and i still do carry my outdoor gear where ever I go – much to the disbelief of those that don’t understand the pain that coldness can bring just down walking the driveway.
December 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm
I remember that Trey Morrison and I were told we were too small to make the senior team even though we were senior age. I am pretty sure it was Trey’s idea that we do an extra loop to prove that we could make the grade. We ended up being the last to arrive back at school that night. much of the last part of the trip was in darkness and we used a scarf to stay connected to each other – Trey was HUGE motivation for me. I remember when we came in it seemed like everyone was waiting for us in the dining room. We were dragged in, snowshoes and all and fed hot chocolate and all we could eat. What a day that was!
December 13, 2010 at 7:11 am
I tried it twice – the first time I landed on my back and on the second I riped my day pack. From then on it was find a stile or get someone to hold the wires apart and risk stooping through.
August 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm
There’s a picture that I made a big print of, and hung in the staff room. It’s still at the school, somewhere. In it there are 4-5 snowshoers walking over gently rolling hills with the sun setting in the background.
Snowshoe runs that ran into the night were special. More dangerous, certainly. It gets colder — just not having the sun is good for 10 degrees, and the thermometer could drop that again in the next hour or so. And the team slowed down. Conversation was desultory or non-existent.
Easy to get hypothermia.
Wrapped in your thoughts, you followed the tails in front of you.
Long past supper time, you came into the school. Light. Warmth. Good food. Hot chocolate. Tales of the day would come out. Or maybe just sit by the fireplace.
At that moment you knew that you had done something that not one in ten thousand could lay claim to.
Dear God, I miss those days.
August 4, 2011 at 5:34 am
My first year snowshoeing there were only two divisions. We had no grade 7’s so 8’s and newboy 9’s did junior, and everyone else did senior. Meant we had 4 or 5 junior teams, and 8 senior teams.
In those days there was only one race — the last run. Everything else was practice and training.
My first race I was slotted to run 7th senior. 7th isn’t too bad. Middle of the pack is worst, as there is lots of jockeying for position, so you change teams, and pace fairly often. But the last one or two positions in a field that large shake out fairly early.
For you new guys, the races were longer then. The traditional race at the Alberta school, went across the bridge, up the A trail, Krause’s cutline, then the wooden power lines up toward Jonny’s Lake, west over Mayatan lake. We had lunch in Duffield with a mandatory 1 hour stop. Fresh socks. Then west again, across the Sundance reserve, and south to Keephills (which was about 4 miles south of the present location. Supper and a half hour stop there. Keephills was 7 miles from the school, about 3 from the Ice Bridge.
One of the neat things about the big race is that you see both dawn and sunset on the same day. You start in pitch dark, and you finish in pitch dark.
This, my first race, had a special treat in store. The last vestiges of twilight were in the west as we left supper. By the time we got to the Ice Bridge, it was full dark. Just as our team started onto the ice, the aurora burst out. Solar Proton Storm turned the entire sky into spirals of green and rose. It only lasted a few minutes. We stopped and gazed in awe. Ahead we could see two more teams stopped on the ice doing the same thing.
August 4, 2011 at 9:23 am
One year later:
I was with a faster team this year. I was deemed good enough to do 3rd place senior, a position that changes frequently. I changed teams 11 times by the end of Krause’s cutline. After that it settled down, and it was only about once an hour.
The day was warm, and every chance you got, you’d bang a showshoe against a tree to knock the packed snow off of it. By afternoon it was near freezing, warm enough that iceballs stopped sticking to the snowshoes.
About two hours short of keephills it began quietly to rain. The webbing was already soft. Soon it was flexing 2-3 inches with each step, meaning that you had to lift your foot that much higher to get the snowshoe off the ground. It felt like we were walking in porridge.
Walking into the school the dining room reeked of wet wool. Wet mittens, wet socks, wet sweaters, wet longjohns, even wet parkas. I think the Laundry crew was a week getting caught up.
It was a good thing that it was the last run of the season. By the time we got to the school, the gut in my showshoes was in tatters, and most of the other snowshoes were in similar condition. Outdoor crew would have a lot of work next year re-lacing snowshoes.
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