25. January 2013 16:46
As everyone cleared out of Pullman after finals week in December, only a few braved the chilly weather and participated in the traditional cleaning of the Student Recreation Center (SRC). Closed Week at the SRC has been a traditional week in which students who want a few extra hours before Christmas come into work and spend their time deep cleaning the entire SRC. Even though the hours are long and the pay is decent, in the end it truly makes you appreciate how well kept our SRC is compared to other universities and workout facilities in the state. [More]
14. December 2012 08:00
Winter is a beautiful time of year but it can lead to some serious cabin fever. Here are some date ideas to help cure that cabin fever and hopefully allow you to enjoy the winter wonderland while warm things up a bit in the process. [More]
27. November 2012 08:00
Winter weather is slowly but surely making its way to the Palouse and since we have already had our first snow, more is likely on the way soon. While the snow and cold conditions make it difficult to do some of the outdoor activities we have all been accustomed to over the past half a year, it’s time to transition into winter activities. Being centrally located here in Pullman, we have a lot of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the winter while it’s here. [More]
2. March 2012 22:31
Get to Know Your Gear’s weekly update will get you familiar with 0°F Sleeping Bags & Liners.
What is a 0° Sleeping Bag & Liner? – 0° sleeping bags and liners are, as their name’s imply, very cold weather sleeping bags and liners to keep an outdoor enthusiast safe and warm when camping in frigid winter conditions. These sleeping bags are made of different materials depending on the needs of the camper, varying from heavy to ultra-light. Liners specifically are used to line the inside of the sleeping bag as another layer of insulation.
How do they work? – 0° sleeping bags can vary in type and material, but they work to keep body heat in and the cold air out. The outer shell of the sleeping bag is typically made of nylon, which is used to protect the outside of the bag from the environment. Inner shells are often made or nylon also, but can be a type of polyester blend. Both the inner shell and outer shell are both good at keeping air from penetrating their exterior. The inside of bags (fill) is often filled with down, polyester blends, or synthetic materials made to insulate the bag. This combination of fill, inner, and outer layers keeps body heat within the bag while protecting the user from the cold outer air. Liners are often a fleece or microfiber material used to add an additional layer of insulation within the sleeping bag. While liners are not made to deflect air, they are an insulator within the bag, retaining body heat keeping the user warmer. I personally have a bag with nylon exterior and interior shells with 800-fill goose down insulation and a fleece liner. They keep me nice and toasty at night during my winter hiking and camping adventures.
When should you use them? – 0° sleeping bags and liners are designed to be used in extreme winter weather conditions. Some sleeping bags are rated even colder than zero degrees Fahrenheit,... [More]
22. February 2012 20:01
Get to Know Your Gear this week will focus on Ice Climbing Tools.
What is Ice Climbing – Ice climbing is an adventurous sport that integrates rock climbing with winter weather covered terrain. The tools involved in ice climbing are similar to the ones used in rock climbing, but with the addition of an ice tool (ice axe) and crampons, and of course, cold weather gear.
How do you use an ice tool and crampons – An ice tool looks similar to a hammer, having a long “pick” on one side of the ice tool’s head and a shorter “adze” on the other side. The pick is used to impale the snow or ice during the ascent. When climbing, the pick should always face the snow or ice so it can be effectively used if the climber slips or begins to fall. The adze, the smaller shovel looking side, is used more for chopping small steps and can be used when self-belaying. Beginners are advised to use the leashed type, which has a wrist wrap to ensure the axe doesn’t fall to the ground if dropped. Crampons are attached to the climber’s boots and consist of multiple thick metal points protruding from the outward from the bottom of the boot. They greatly improve traction on ice and can be used to kick foot holds during climbing.
When should you Ice Climb – Ice climbing is a winter sport focusing on climbing icefalls, frozen waterfalls and cliffs or rock slabs covered with ice and packed snow. Once the free flowing water becomes completely frozen, the ice climbing season begins. Knowing when it is safe to climb comes with experience, but consistent below-freezing weather is usually a good sign ice climbing will start soon.
Keep in mind, crampons and ice tools are available for rent from the Outdoor Recreation Center throughout the winter season. Ice climbing is a great form of exercise and allows you to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months.
10. February 2012 16:57
This week’s Get to Know Your Gear will look into the adventures of Telemark Skiing.
What is Telemark Skiing – Telemark skiing is a type of skiing that is done with the heel of your ski boot unattached to the ski, see video below. So the ski binding attaches to the boot at the toe. What really makes Telemark skiing unique is the type of turn that you execute. The turn is done with your knees bent and one ski is pushed ahead of the other.
How do you use them – Learning how to Telemark ski is something that will take some time. It is best to talk with an experienced Telemark skier for tips. You can look at some step by step instructions online to give you an idea before you get on the mountain or check out the video below to see some skiers learning how to Telemark.
When should you use Telemark Skis – If you are already an existing skier and want to try a new challenge, this style of skiing might be right for you. Many skiers say they love the sense of freedom and control that Telemark skiing gives them. Anyone can try Telemark skiing, however it is easiest and fastest to learn when you are already comfortable on parallel skis.
1. February 2012 23:22
Don’t let the snow covered ground (which is quickly melting) keep you from enjoying all of the hiking trails scattered around the area. This week’s Getting to Know Your Gear blog will show you how to enjoy hiking regardless how much snow we get this winter by using snowshoes and trekking poles.
Snowshoeing has been thought to be around for roughly 10,000 years. The basic principle of snowshoes is the ability to distribute body weight over a larger surface area allowing people two walk across snow covered ground with greater ease. In the past, snowshoes were used in snowy areas so hunters/trappers could continue to provide for their family during the winter months (and to escape the ever lurking Yeti). Now, snowshoes are more of recreation accessories so outdoor enthusiasts can hike in deep snow.
While there are a few different types of snowshoes available, the most common is the recreational/trekking type. Other styles include backcountry/mountaineering and aerobic/running snowshoes. Running snowshoes are usually shorter and less wide than both recreation and backcountry. Additionally, for the same size person, mountaineering are going to be a little longer and wider for more difficult terrain. Each of these types of snowshoe have either fixed/limited-rotation or full/pivot-rotation bindings. Racing snowshoes usually have fixed-rotation bindings which do not allow the toe to pivot below the bottom plane of the shoe. Unfortunately, fixed bindings have a tendency to kick snow up the back of the user’s legs. Full-rotation bindings are normally preferred for traditional and mountaineering snowshoes because they allow for greater traction and mobility.
One of the best accessories for recreational or mountaineering snowshoeing are trekking poles. Poles help hikers maintain balance on most types of terrain, can help with knee pain and often increase the speed of the hike.&... [More]
25. January 2012 22:55
The continuation of our Get to Know Your Gear segment is going to focus on avalanche beacons.
What is an Avalanche Beacon? – It is a radio transceiver that is used to locate men and women in a search and rescue if they are buried beneath the snow due to an avalanche.
How does it work? – When a person is buried under the snow, their radio will send out a transmission that connects to other beacons. The search party can turn their transceivers to receive and use the device to measure distance and direction to the buried party. The standard for beacons is to transmit signals at 457 kHz (kilo Hertz) so it is important that the beacon you choose is also transmitting at this rate.
When should you use it? - Anytime you are skiing, snowboarding, hiking or ice climbing in the backcountry, it is important that you use an avalanche beacon. It is during these activities that you are most likely to encounter a loose snow slide avalanche. And remember, practice using your beacon with the men and women you will be in the wilderness with, it is not a useful instrument if used improperly.
Now that you know a little more about this particular piece of equipment, you can evaluate if it will be important to use on your next snow adventures. Happy exploring!
18. January 2012 21:37
Now that we have a bunch of snow, it’s time to get familiar with some winter sports gear. This week we will be talking about snowboarding gear, so getting to know your snowboard, boots, bindings and attire.
Let’s start with start with snowboard length. Riders should reference a height to board length table either online or at a sports shop. Board length can also vary depending on skill level, height and weight. After finding a board length range based upon weight and height (more importantly weight), specific length is the next step. The shorter side of the spectrum is more beneficial for beginner boarders and people on the lighter side of their height bracket because turning is easier, speeds are slower and board length is more weight dependent. Also, those interested in doing freestyle or powder riding will also benefit from a shorter board. More experienced riders typically use longer boards because of the increased speeds. Additionally, people who are on the heavier side of the height scale should use a longer board because the length will keep the board above the snow when boarding off groomed trails. After determining the right length board for you, width needs to be taken into consideration. Board width is dependent on foot size and using a sizing chart to determine what board width is needed for your specific shoe size is the easiest way to find the right size snowboard.
Bindings are the next aspect of getting a snowboard ready for the season. A unique feature of snowboards is the variance in binding locations and positions. Snowboard bindings need to be mounted to boards and can be secured aft, center, or forward. In addition, bindings can be mounted at different angles and separation distances depending on comfort. Because boards can be ridden backwards (switch) or forward, bindings are usually mounted equal distance from the middle of the board with a slight an... [More]
18. January 2012 17:16
All of this wonderful winter weather is reminding me of how much I’d love to be snowboarding down a powdery mountain. Then reality hits and I realize I still have to go to work, class and somehow find nourishment to sustain my studying. I’ve lived in Pullman, Washington, for four years and the snow hasn’t really been a problem. Last year there was that one treacherous day of snow, but that’s it. So snow precautions aren’t my specialty. If you feel a little lost too, do not fear because Heather’s here! I’ve looked up some helpful ways to stay safe in the midst of winter storm.
Taking precautions will help with knowing what awaits you when you step out your door. The age-old tradition of looking outside your window helps prepare for how much snow is on the ground. But this doesn’t account for the actual temperature or expected precipitation for the remainder of the day. Checking the local news with your morning cereal can prepare you for the expected weather. If you’re more internet savvy then this might be the website for you http://www.noaa.gov/. According to Pullman’s National Weather Service forecast there’s 100 percent chance of snow until Thursday afternoon, when it changes over to 90 percent chance of snow.
To know how the weather will affect you check out WSU Alert’s website. The website shows up-to-date notifications about the weather situation in the area. Here’s the link to check out what’s going on right now, http://alert.wsu.edu/.
Other weather hurdles to be aware of are staying warm, proper foot gear and car safety. You know your car better than anyone; don’t drive if it’s not prepared for the weather. Buses are still running and they’re prepared and maintained for this kind of weather. To find bus routes visit, http://www.pullmantransit.com/.
Staying safe is the top priority but don’t forget to embrace your inner child while there’s still sn... [More]