Winter Sports Tips

First Aid

The farther from the beaten path you venture, the more prepared you should be for a medical emergency. Always carry a first-aid kit designed for the type of trek and the number of people in your group.

A variety of first-aid kits are available for day hikes, family camping trips or backpacking treks. Kits should be tailored to your trekking terrain, weather, the ages of hikers and your group's special medical needs.

It is important to know how to use everything in your first-aid kit beforehand. You won't have time in the middle of an emergency to read an instruction manual.

Before you go, learn about any possible hazards at your destination, such as poisonous plants, snakes and insects. Ask local officials or park rangers if you need any special gear or clothing. Locate the road and public phone closest to your campsite or trail, so you know where to summon help if it is needed.

Some organizations offer wilderness first-aid courses targeted to outdoors enthusiasts. Be sure to practice what you learn and share it with others in your party.

Good first-aid kits are available in a wide range of prices, and specialty kits are available for mountain bikers, canoeists and others.

The following items should be considered when outfitting a basic first-aid kit:

  1. 1 elastic-roll bandage
  2. Aspirin or ibuprofen
  3. Adhesive tape
  4. Alcohol swabs
  5. Antacid
  6. Antihistamine
  7. Antiseptic ointment
  8. Adhesive bandages, assorted sizes
  9. Bulb irrigating syringe
  10. Butterfly bandages
  11. Chemical heat and cold packs
  12. Dry-wash pads or wipes
  13. Diarrhea medicine
  14. Gauze pads
  15. Hydrocortisone cream (soothes allergic skin)
  16. Insect repellent
  17. Mirror, small and unbreakable
  18. Moleskin, 1 or 2 packets
  19. Cotton swab, sterile, packaged in pairs
  20. Safety pins
  21. Scissors (Swiss Army Pen Knife has scissors, small blade and nail file)
  22. Sunscreen
  23. Triangular bandage
  24. Tweezers

Inspect the contents before every trip and make sure the tools are clean and supplies in good condition. Replace expired medicines and add items you wished you had brought on the last trip. Make sure the container is durable and waterproof, and stow it in an accessible compartment of your backpack.

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Basic Snowshoeing Tips

Snowshoeing is quickly gaining popularity because today's equipment is lighter, more streamlined and just about anyone can do it and it's great exercise. You can quickly get your heart rate up to aerobic levels in a very short time. Here are a few general tips to help you get the most from snowshoeing in fields around your home, at your local touring center or golf course (with permission from the owner) and for other casual outings.

  1. Generally, a person's size and weight dictates the surface area, or size of the snowshoe that is best for them. But if you plan to carry a heavy day pack or a child on your back, you'll need a larger snowshoe. When choosing snowshoes, let the types of activities and the areas you see yourself snowshoeing in most help direct you to the right model.
  2. Even on casual outings, layering your clothing and regulating your warmth are critical to comfort. When snowshoeing, your body will heat up quickly, so carry a fanny pack or day pack and be prepared to take layers off as you go. When you stop for even a short break, you may want to throw a shell or fleece jacket back on to prevent a chill.
  3. Carry a widemouth bottle of water that is insulated against freezing. If it's not insulated, carry it upside down (if it freezes the ice will be in the bottom of the container so you can still get the water out). Also important are extra clothing and power snacks. Don't forget sunscreen, polarized sunglasses and (if you're any farther than your backyard) a small first-aid kit in your pack.
  4. Begin snowshoeing on flat areas prior to tackling steep terrain or heading onto more remote trails. This will give your muscles a chance to stretch and loosen up before your require more from them.
  5. Using ski poles can really help with balance and they reduce the impact to your knees and ankles (poles are also helpful when getting up from a spill).
  6. Tell friends, family or park officials where you are going and when you plan to return. If you were to have an equipment failure or some other emergency arises, it's nice to know someone knows where you are and where to look for you if you're late coming home.

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