In this episode of the Outside Health and Fitness podcast we’re going to learn about the exciting winter sport of snowshoe racing. Then we’ll go WAY OUTSIDE and take a close look at the weird and wacky sport of Phasketboot and in the Quick Tip we’ll find out why Duct Tape might just be the most important piece of cross country gear you carry with you.
SnowShoe Racing (01:14)
While I was out enjoying Nor’Easter NEMO and doing some backcountry skiing a few weeks ago. I noted a ton of people in running gear, wearing numbers and snowshoes. Of course I had to find out what was going on so I asked and was told about TrailRunningMonster.com and their snowshoe racing series.
What is snowshoe racing?
As you might guess it’s racing on snowshoes and it’s a sport that is really gaining in popularity Considering the vast trail systems many of us run in the non-snowy seasons it stands to reason someone would get the bright idea to run the same trails on the snow.
According to the smithsonianmag.com…
The forerunners of snowshoe-racing associations were the snowshoe recreation clubs that began in Canada and the northeastern United States in the late 18th century. Outings in places including Montreal and northern New England towns were major events.
To make the shoes easier to maneuver, the clubs shortened the long teardrop trapper and tracker’s snowshoe to about 40 inches.
Beginning in the 1970s, designers of racing snowshoes trimmed them and lightened them even more, using the type of aluminum alloy used in spacecraft. The newest models now weigh as little as 16 ounces a shoe.
Read more on the history of snowshoe racing.
What sort of gear do you need?
Typical snowshoes are less than ideal if you’re looking to race. There are specific snowshoes made for racing and like any racing equipment the lighter the better. The primary difference in the design is that the racing shoes are narrower and shorter to allow you to run as close to your normal stride and gait as possible.
From all reports DION snowshoes are the brand of choice for snowshoe racers. I checked out their page and it looks pretty comprehensive. They custom build the snowshoes for you. You select the frame, binding and cleats and they put it all together..
These snowshoes are lighter and smaller than traditional shoes and are designed for groomed trails. A word of caution…going off trail will likely result in you sinking to the ground!
You’ll want gaiters to keep snow out of your shoes. For clothing you’ll want a wicking base layer and outer shells to break the wind.
What are the Health benefits of snowshoe racing?
As you might imagine snowshoe racing is an aerobic workout and provides similar health benefits to trail running. The difference comes in the added weight of the snow shoe and the exaggerated gait required to run on the snow.
From all reports newbies typically fall when failing to lift their foot straight up. Catch a toe and down you go!
According to the Granite State SnowShoe Series site “….running in snowshoes is particularly stressful to the muscles, tendons, and joints and it should be added to the training schedule cautiously. ”
Expect to run 2-3 min per mile slower in snowshoes than when you’re running on the trail or the road and expect to burn more calories! You’ll heat up fast so dress for temps 10 -15 degrees warmer and use breathable layers so you don’t overheat.
How do you get started?
Granite State Snowshoe encourages racers to train for snowshoe racing by road running. “Snowshoe races are typically 5-10 kms in distance…so racers should prepare for the snowshoe racing season as they were preparing for a 10k road race. Once there is sufficient snow cover to run the local trails in snowshoes, racers should incorporate two to three snowshoe ‘workouts’ each week.”
Beginners will notice there is a tendency to alter their normal gate mechanics to avoid ‘clanking’ their snowshoes together.
How do I get more information?
So here’s the story….a bunch of kids get together and can’t decide what to play. Should they play basketball, football or ultimate frisbee….in the end they decided to play all three and phasketboot is born.
Phasketboot is played on a combination grass and tar or dirt court with a basketball hoop which is set to 8 feet for dunking. Teams of three people oppose each other and play starts with the first team on the grass.
Play begins, as in football, with the team on the grass calling “hut”. The other team can then rush and attempt to tackle. The ball is tossed to teammates and once in play on the tar /dirt driveway tackle is no longer allowed.
At this point in the game basketball rules apply (except for dribbling because you’re using a small football). If a player shoots from the driveway they earn 1 point, from the grass = 2 points. After a score the team attempts a PAB (point after basket). If they make the shot the keep the ball. If not, the other team gets the ball and starts from the grass. The game goes to 11 and must be won by two points.
I’ve got a video of the kids who invented Phasketboot playing and reviewing the finer points of the game.
Whether you decide to try playing Phasketbook or not I’d encourage you to check out the video it’s a pretty inventive sport and it looks like a lot of fun.
If you’re interested in more on Phastketbook you can follow them on twitter at @phasketbook or check out their facebook page facebook.com/Phasketboot
Outside Quick Tip
Backcountry Duct Tape (11:00)
If you’ve ever spent anytime in the backcountry skiing you know that equipment failures are par for the course. And while it’s impractical to carry a tool kit with you some good old duct tape can come in handy and save the day.
Here are a few duct tape tips for cross country skiers that I found over at Boondockers.com
- Prevent Blisters: Using duct tape on your heels can help keep blisters from forming.
- Reduce Snow Build Up: If you’re having issues with snow build up under your skis try applying some duct tape. The slick side won’t allow snow to collect no matter how sticky it is.
- Use your pole as a dispenser: A great way to carry and store duct tape when skiing is on your pole wrapped just below the grip. When you need some just unwind the amount you need for repair.
- Fix a broken ski pole:To fix a broken pole use a sturdy branch and some duct tape to create a pole splint.
- Fix a broken ski bail: If you break a bail duct tape your boot into your binding. While make shift it’s far better than having to walk out.
- Switch Klister Fast! : For those using wax duct tape is a great tool for switching klister. Apply a length of duct tape over the kick zone and apply klister over the duct tape. When you need to switch just peel off of the duct tape to avoid the messy job of scraping klister off your skis.
That wraps up another episode of the Outside Health and Fitness podcast. I hope you got something of value from the show today that helps you get Outside and In-Shape.
Until next time….I’ll see you Outside.
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