“If the waitress has dirty ankles, the chili should be good.”
– Al McGuire
Your Very Next Step newsletter for March 2008 (Part I)
“Your Very Next Step” newsletter, published by Ned Lundquist, is a cooperative community, and everyone is invited, no…encouraged, no…urged to participate.
Subscribe for free. Send a blank email to:
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Ned plans to issue the second part of the March edition when he gets back from Paris:
*** In this issue:
*** Travel News
*** Bowling and Milwaukee
*** Ned compares the Westin La Cantera Resort with the Navy Lodge Corpus Christi
*** Larry Bearfield compares the Westin anywhere with the Navy Lodge anywhere
*** Carl Dombek on Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort
*** To what extent will the Japanese go to relax at a ski resort?
*** Ned interviews Eric Bergman, ABC, APR, MC, RP (Ringette Parent):
*** “If you can walk, you can snowshoe”
*** Travel, Outdoor and Adventure Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities
In the next edition of “Your Very Next Step,” Ned visits Paris, and plans for Dubai.
Tell us about your recent travel adventure. Send to Ned at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** From Susan Burnell, APR:
Before you head out of town you might want to take the following security
measures…from an e-mail that's been circulating:
Subject: HOME SECURITY SYSTEM
HOW TO INSTALL A HOME SECURITY SYSTEM IN THE SOUTH
1. Go to a second-hand store and buy a pair of men's used size 14-16
2. Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns & Ammo
3. Put a few giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazines.
4. Leave a note on your door that reads:
Big Jim, Duke , Slim, & I went for more ammunition. Back
in an hour. Don't mess with the pit bulls – they attacked the mailman this
morning and messed him up real bad. I don't think Killer took part in it but
it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of 'em
in the house. Better wait outside.
Susan H. Burnell, APR
*** From Air Transport World:
Now for something completely different: flight search that rates the 'pain points'
News from Travel Technology Update: Online travel agencies have done a great job of delivering flight search results based on price, number of stops and schedule. Meanwhile, passengers feel the pain of late flights, long connecting times, lost bags, old aircraft and other frustrations.
SIA to bring all-business-class service to Pacific on A340-500s
Singapore Airlines will open a new front in the increasingly heated competition for premium travelers, announcing yesterday that it will reconfigure its five A340-500s with 100 lie-flat business class seats for use on transpacific routes to the US.
*** Bowling and Milwaukee:
From Mike Maloney:
*** The dirty truth:
Vacation travel lately has meant golf clothes, a nice outfit for a dinner out and a bathing suit. We've stayed in a place where there was a laundry in the house. Truth be told, where we stayed was a house at Sea Pines Resort on the south end of Hilton Head Island in S.C. We won the opportunity five years ago at the Joe Gibbs “Youth for Tomorrow” auction held every year in late Sept./early Oct. at the school in Bristow, Va. The house, which belonged to a board member, was one of the items in the live auction portion. Some deranged woman stuck her hand in the air and kept it there until she won it, believing that the phrase “world class golf” and the association with the Washington Redskins would make her husband happy. It did. We did it for four years and just bought our own house – not quite in the same neighborhood but still – very close to the “world class golf.”
The excess packing was books, a laptop NOT for work and our stock of adult beverages. Sister and brother-in-law were much more minimalist, being the dedicated “beach bums” they are.
In my camping days a few years ago, packing meant two pairs of baggy heavy cotton shorts with lots of pockets, a few well-traveled T-shirts, a couple of heavy sweatshirts (camping was near Mount St. Helens – we had no responsibility for that event), a pair of long jeans, sneakers and hiking boots, enough relevant undergarments, a swim suit and an Indiana Jones hat on which to pin souvenir traveling pins. We were sure to pick up more souvenir T-shirts and sweatshirts and we drove into the campsite, so the challenge was only packing for those of us who flew cross-country to camp. Those were the days when I carried my backpack on the plane with the requisite camping Swiss Army pocket knife and other now-banned tools, although the fishing tackle always went in the carry-on duffle bag.
I am probably an excessive packer – accessories more than clothing. But I am fairly sure, if need be, I could live in one each baggy shorts, shirt, bra, sweater, hat, hiking boots, two pairs of socks and knickers and my knife – at least until I got to a body of water uninhabited by man-eating residents.
Winter festivals: The most spectacular one I've ever been to was the annual Hokkaido Snow Festival on the northern island of Japan. It's beautiful. People make huge snow sculptures along the streets and there are festive lights and entertainment and roast chestnuts and ears of corn. It's great!
That's all I've got for now.
*** Ned compares the Westin La Cantera Resort with the Navy Lodge Corpus Christi:
Parking: La Cantera has expensive valet parking or free parking at a distance. Navy Lodge parking is free and very close to the covered entrance.
Edge: Navy Lodge.
Check-in: The valet must take your keys at the La Cantera. Fire Marshall regulations. Parking in the entrance to the Navy Lodge while moving your bags is no issue.
Edge: Navy Lodge
In-house shopping: There are some expensive stores in the La Cantera, and none in the Navy Lodge. I found the vending machine on my floor in the Navy Lodge to be out of my selection, so I had to go to the next lower floor. La Cantera has a Starbucks (Martinez was my barrista), and Navy Lodge has free Navy coffee in the lobby.
Edge: La Cantera
In-room coffee: La Cantera has single cup-Starbucks coffee you brew yourself. The coffee is maker is on top of the TV and must be relocated some place to plug in and brew. You are provided three packets, one being decaf, of Starbucks coffee filter singles. It is wretchedly bad, and can barely be tolerated except for the fact that you can buy real Starbucks down below, and after all the in-room coffee is complimentary, right? Paper cups provided. Navy Lodge serves free “Coffee Well” brand Navy Lodge coffee in a four-cup Mr. Coffee maker. This is okay coffee, actually pretty good, and your pot makes four cups. Navy Lodge has real ceramic coffee mugs.
Edge: Navy Lodge.
Location: La Cantera is on a ridge overlooking a quarry with the Fiesta Texas amusement park stuffed inside, and is surrounded by a golf course and Texas Live Oaks. The lights of San Antonio sparkle to the south. The view from my window is a very impressive pool area. The Navy Lodge is on the edge of Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, next to an air station. I like airplanes.
Edge: Navy Lodge.
Big thick bathrobes in closet: The Navy Lodge does not have these. I noticed my big thick bath robe folded in my closet at La Cantera just as I was checking out.
Edge: La Cantera.
Room: Both rooms are about the same size. My Navy Lodge room has two queen beds, and the La Cantera room had one king bed. Both are comfortable. Having two beds let me plop my bags up on the spare. The light over my table in the Navy Lodge is a bit on the bright side. The light switches in La Cantera were hard to twist on and off. La Cantera local calls are free (included in the “resort fee” as it turns out.) Navy Lodge local calls are free. The desk in my room at La Cantera didn’t have enough outlets, where the Navy Lodge has plenty of outlets, wherever you might need them. La Cantera has a mini-bar, but I didn’t take the key. La Cantera has plastic cups. Navy Lodge has real glasses. The Navy Lodge has a full-size refrigerator and a microwave oven in the kitchenette. However, the Navy Lodge has a posted sign in the kitchen that says “Cleaning a storing of seafood is prohibited.”
Edge: Navy Lodge
Internet: La Cantera charges about $10 a day to use the Internet in the room. Navy Lodge is free, and they give you an easy-to-set up Telkonet iBridge that plugs into any power outlet and then into your Ethernet jack on your laptop.
Edge: Navy Lodge.
TV. Both rooms had big TVs. I never watch TV in my room, so I don’t know which was better. I know the Navy Lodge has lots of movies (on DVD) you can check out in the lobby. I think they are free.
Edge: Navy Lodge.
Price: Westin La Cantera resort is $139 a night with a mandatory $10 per night resort fee to pay for the complimentary coffee and free local calls. Plus taxes, plus taxes upon the mandatory resort fee to pay for what is otherwise considered free. Navy Lodge is $65 per night. No tax.
Edge: Navy Lodge
*** Larry Bearfield compares the Westin anywhere with the Navy Lodge anywhere:
Allowed to stay: As long as you can pay, the Westin will let you stay at any of their facilities anywhere in the world. Major credit cards are your ticket. Navy Lodge has strict eligibility requirements as detailed on https://www.nexnet.nexweb.org/pls/nexlodge/faq_form
Who is eligible to stay at a Navy Lodge?
Reservations are accepted for all eligible personnel on an as-received basis. Official guests and visitors of the command may stay at Navy Lodges. Reservations are to be made by and guaranteed by the sponsor. Family members, staying at Navy Lodges without the military member, are required to show their identification at check-in. Guests of military personnel may stay at Navy Lodges provided the military member is present at check-in. Once a reservation is made it will be firm and you cannot be bumped. Reservations and room assignments are made without regard to rank or rate, or time of reservations. You may make advance reservations based on your classification.
Edge: Military personnel and those meeting the strict classification requirements – Navy Lodge
The rest of the world: Westin
Ferns Country Store
*** Carl Dombek on Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort :
Over the past couple of years, “aging parent” issues have taken me to Phoenix frequently, so I've had the opportunity to try several hotels in the metro area. After my most recent two-night stay, the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort is my new favorite. It’s an “all-suite” property with lots to recommend it.
Our plane landed just before noon and, after a couple of grueling flights, my wife and I wanted to freshen up and eat a decent meal before seeing my folks. When I called the hotel, the front desk clerk was very helpful and confirmed that the suite they'd set aside for us was indeed ready, so we headed straight for the resort.
Upon check-in, which was handled very smoothly, we were informed of the “resort option package,” which provides a number of amenities (including fitness center access, spa discounts, and local phone calls) for $2.25 a day. As Hilton HHonors members, we were also given two complimentary bottles of water.
After freshening up, we headed to the Hole in the Wall Restaurant for lunch. This was a bit nostalgic for me, as I grew up in Phoenix and friends and I had frequented the Hole in the Wall at its original location in its early days. The food was (and still is) basic burgers, sandwiches, and quesadillas, but well prepared and reasonably-priced (especially considering it’s in a resort). The service was also excellent.
Thus fortified, we set off to see The Parents.
Over the next several days, our two-room suite became our sanctuary. It included a separate living room and bed room, robes (without having to ask), a very comfy bed, the fluffiest towels I have used in a long time (at home or away), a balcony, a well-stocked mini-bar, and some of the best in-room coffee I've in a long time. While our room was in one of two multi-story buildings, the resort also offers “casitas” – single story structures away from the larger buildings and adjacent conference center.
While the property has four restaurants, we only ate at the Hole in the Wall. However, we did use room service, which was also prompt, polite, and provided well-prepared fare.
There are several pools available, including a small water park adjacent to the Hole in the Wall. And even though a fair number of kids were present at the hotel, it was overall very quiet.
Plenty of free parking and easy access to the rest of Phoenix make this a winner in my book. Without a doubt, we will be back.
*** To what extent will the Japanese go to relax at a ski resort?
*** From Anne-Marie Boels:
This is perhaps a late reaction, but I saw that you are travelling to Dubai.
Just wanted to say that your choice for Qatar Airlines looks like by far the
best option to me. Swiss has considerably dropped in quality since it went
broke a couple of years ago and Zurich-Airport is, to my feeling, a
nightmare. And with evolutions at United you never know…
Just want to say also that Your Very Next Step Newsletter is a great idea
and even if I do not always react, I enjoy it fully!
Boels Consulting BVBA
International Marketing & Communications
*** The Dallas Morning News is reporting that American Airlines has discussed the possibility of merging with another carrier with the leaders of its three major unions.
A Virgin Atlantic jumbo jet powered by a blend of biofuel and conventional jet fuel on Sunday completed a flight from London to Amsterdam. The biofuels blend was 20% neat biofuel and 80% conventional jet fuel, the AP reports. Virgin CEO Richard Branson thinks algae is a likely future source of renewable fuel for the airlines.
Say goodbye to paper tickets on June 1, according to a group that represents carriers. The Washington Post says that Airlines will stop issuing paper tickets and switch to 100% electronic tickets to make issuing tickets easier and less expensive for the airlines.
*** I have recently completed a survey of the 10,000 Job of the Week subscribers, with a ten percent response rate. The results are interesting.
*** Ned interviews Eric Bergman, ABC, APR, MC, RP (Ringette Parent):
Ned: What is Ringette?
Eric: A game developed nearly 50 years ago to enable young women to play a sport on skates. At the time, women's hockey was unheard of.
Ned: Who plays it, and where?
Eric: It is played in Canada and a number of Scandinavian countries, like Sweden and Finland.
Ned: Is it a “real” sport?
Eric: Yes, there are rules and score is kept.
Ned: I see. So that’s what constitutes a sport. I guess dating is a sport, too. How did the sport get started?
Eric: According to: http://www.etobicoke-ringette.com/History.htm
Ringette is a Canadian game that was first introduced in 1963 in North Bay, Ontario. For ten years, play centred in Ontario and Quebec. However, the sport quickly spread across Canada and is now played in all ten provinces and the Northwest Territories. In fact, the sport has become one of Canada's favourite activities for females, with over 50,000 participants across Canada – a remarkable growth rate for such a young sport.
In March 1975, the very first Provincial Championships in Ontario were held in Etobicoke, then known as Eringate Ringette. Ontario only had four regions at that time – Central/East, North East, Niagara, and West. Tournament Structure was a “Double Knockout”. Teams from Eastern and Central Ontario had to compete against each other for the right to attend.
There are currently more than 9,000 certified Ringette coaches are registered in the National Coaching Certification Program, and 2,866 registered referees trained under Ringette Canada's National Officiating Program. In addition, there are thousands of volunteers who administer clubs, leagues, and tournaments across Canada.
This explosive growth is continuing internationally with the formation of associations in the U.S.A., Finland, Sweden, Estonia, and France. In addition, Ringette Canada has been instrumental in demonstrating the game in the Netherlands, Switzerland, West Germany and Japan. Ringette is turning out to be one of Canada's fastest growing exports!
Ringette Canada has been following a well planned strategy for development and is now responding to an increasing interest from boys who want to try the game. It is expected that this trend will continue in the future, and when combined with the increasing enrolment of girls and women, Ringette will become a very popular sport in Canada and internationally.
Ned: How is it different than hockey, or lacrosse or field hockey? How is it similar?
Eric: It is played on ice with skates, stick and pads, like hockey.
Ned: Do they have leagues and tournaments?
Ned: What's the best thing about playing Ringette?
Eric: It is a team-oriented game. You cannot carry the ring across either blue line in any direction, whether attacking or defending. By definition, therefore, you must pass.
Ned: What's the hardest part of playing the game?
Eric: Fitness. These girls can skate.
Ned: Do you have penalties?
Eric: Yes, mostly two minute penalties (similar to hockey).
Ned: Is the game played with three 20 minute periods?
Eric: Two 15-minute periods, except at the very elite levels, which are two 20-minute periods.
Is there anything different about a Ringette rink and a hockey rink?
Nothing different between a ringette rink and a hockey rink. The use of the ice is a bit different (i.e. cannot carry the ring over the blue line).
Ned: How many people play the sport today?
Eric: No idea how many people play the sport. But the world ringette championships have been covered on TSN.
Ned: Is it fun to watch?
Eric: Yes, unless you happen to be the goalie's parent. Then it's very stressful.
*** “If you can walk, you can snowshoe”
Put on your snowshoes and follow a new path to adventure
By Edward Lundquist
Publisher – “Your Very Next Step” newsletter
”Snowshoeing an easy sport to get involved with,” says Arnie Kinnunen, community outreach coordinator at Portage Health in Hancock, Michigan, on the Upper Peninsula’s Keweenaw Peninsula, a place that gets about 300-inches of thick “lake effect” snow each year. “All it requires are snowshoes and a good pair of winter boots. Snowshoeing requires less athletic ability, technique and skill versus skiing. On the other hand, snowshoeing is more demanding as far as energy output. You cover more distance on your skis than you would on snowshoes.”
According to Ryan Alford of www.snowshoemag.com, snowshoeing has some big advantages. “It’s a cost-effective sport,” he says, “cheaper than most. Snowshoes are generally sold with a lifetime warranty, and you can snowshoe with a group. It's more suited for hiking-like activities, but the fitness benefits are numerous. Plus, cross country skiing is awkward (my personal opinion) and you're limited to trails. If you can walk, you can snowshoe – it's pretty simple. And, if there's enough snow…go for it. Anywhere is game.
Alford agrees with Kinnunen that getting involved is a simple proposition. “All you need is a pair of snowshoes, the right winter clothing and a sense of adventure. Go to your nearest snowshoe retailer (or buy them on the Web, Backcountry.com has a nice selection) and go out with a friend. Never snowshoe alone, unless you're an experienced outdoorsperson.”
“If you can walk, you can snowshoe,” says Alex Faber of Faber Snowshoes in Quebec City, Quebec. “Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are two great winter sports. The can both be really physical or you can just go out for an easier ride. The benefits of snowshoes are once you have a pair, you are free to go anytime and anywhere there is snow. You can go out with friend or on your own and enjoy all the beauty of winter and its wildlife. The best part about snowshoeing is that you don’t need any special talent. Snowshoeing is an easy sport to get involved, you can only go out for a few kilometres on flat ground or go for days. The only limit is your physical limit, you will find all sort of places for all levels of snowshoeing, from the easy trail around your house or ski area to the wild forest or steep hills with unpacked snow condition.”
“Snowshoeing can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour and is a low impact, heart healthy sport that builds strength and endurance, while toning major muscle groups, says Kathy Murphy with Tubbs Snowshoes, a Stowe, Vermont company that made snowshoes for Admiral Richard Byrd’s Antarctic expedition in 1930. “Unlike cross country skiing, snowshoeing's learning curve is 'flat'. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. In a matter of steps, adults and children 'master' the sport.”
”Snowshoes enable you to go anywhere – from powder to packed snow, uphill and down, side hill traverses and steep pitches, the snowshoes are designed to provide flotation, and secure traction, to enable you to explore anywhere. No 'tracks' are required and many find snowshoers more versatile when snow/trail conditions are challenging. Additionally, you need just 6-8″ of snow to snowshoe, and can typically access community trail systems, public lands, nature centers, urban parks, etc. at no charge. Even at cross country ski and/or alpine resorts, the trail fees for snowshoers are typically reduced,” Murphy says.
Alford says the initial expense is modest. “For a pair of snowshoes, you're looking at about a $200 to $300 investment. For all other gear – jacket, shell pants, long underwear, etc. – it's really up to the buyer. You can shop expensively or thrift-like – choose your brand. But, snowshoeing is all about layering smart. It's easy to get overheated quick (and in cold weather), so buy clothing that's breathable and tough. You're almost guaranteed to take stuff off than put stuff on.”
Ted McGuinness, president of TSL Snowshoes, which makes its products in Williston, Vermont, , says it’s important to be prepared. “Really all you need are snowshoes. Most consumers already have a descent pair of winter boots in the closet! All snowshoe brands offer products with a universal binding that will fit many sizes and shape of winter boots. Like most winter outdoors activities whether it is Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, Ice fishing, snowmobiling, etc…, there are certain ‘tools’ you need to access the goods. Unlike these other activities the number of “tools” necessary to gain access is much smaller. As with any winter outdoor activity being prepared for the elements is and should be the #1 priority.”
Conrad Dickinson has trekked on foot to the North and South Poles. But beginners can snowshoe with just the snowshoes attached to outdoor boots. “A pair of ski poles give you more stability and support,” he adds.
”I would suggest going to your nearest REI, EMS, or other outdoors retailer and ask a sales associate,” says Alford. “However, nothing is better learned than by experience. Get a pair snowshoes, go to your nearest trail (or Nordic Center) and just do it. You'll learn quickly. I do suggest buying waterproof boots, wool socks and gaiters. The rest is up to the shoer. I generally take a pair of gaiters, waterproof boots, shell pants over long underwear (depending on how cold it is), a softshell jacket over a warm base layer (again, based on how cold it is), sunglasses, warm hat and gloves, and a backpack full of survival gear (for that in-case-of-emergency situation).”
”With snowshoeing, most places allow you to rent before you buy so you can experiment with different models, brands, etc. to find the right fit for you,” says Kinnunen.
Alford says that not all snowshoes are equal. “You can buy a pair of beginner snowshoes, recreational, running and backcountry. However, the beginner pairs of shoes are not always the best quality. Cheaper doesn't always mean better. I would buy a pair of recreational shoes. I own a pair of Redfeathers and love them. Atlas, Tubbs, Northern Lites, MSR, Crescent Moon and a few others make great shoes. It also depends on your weight. There are different lengths of shoes, based on your weight. And, if you plan to use a backpack filled with goodies, compensate for your weight gain.”
“There are three main families in snowshoes: the high-tech models, the traditional models (wood and rawhide) and the hybrid models (wood and plastic technology),” Faber says.
“Most companies offer Aluminum framed snowshoes with a decking material to add flotation,” says McGuinness. “The main difference between manufacturers is the binding system. Some are real good, some are real bad! At TSL we offer a complete line of aluminum snowshoes (with good bindings!) and complete line of composite snowshoes. As a general rule aluminum offers more flotation and composite offers more grip.”
Next, McGuinness says, it becomes an issue of what size. “All manufacturers have recommended weight guidelines. You will notice there are very large overlaps in the weight range. The general rule is if you are going to spend most of the time on packed trail go to the smaller size. If you are going to spend more time in powder go to the large size.”
TSL offers junior snowshoes for $39 – $69; adult recreational for $89 – $139; adult backcountry for $149 – $199 and adult mountaineering for $200 and up.
“If it's good gear, it's more fun,” says Bob Dion of Dion Snowshoes in Readsboro, Vermont. “A $200 Mountain Bike is NOT fun. A $50 Snowboard is dangerous. The faster, farther or more you use it the more the equipment matters. Good snowshoes run around $200.”
“Most people think that if you weigh THIS, you need THAT,” Dion says. “The type of snow matters as much (or more) than your weight. Also, how far, how fast, etc matters. If you are walking on groomed trails, a 400 lb. guy can use a kids snowshoe.”
McGuinness suggests bringing poles to increase balance and also to work upper body; gaiters to go around you’re the tops of your boots to keep snow out; a backpack to carry your water, food, camera etc., and a good friend to accompany you.
“Snowshoes are also maintenance free and require no special storage off season,” says Murphy.
While there may be a variety of snowshoes, and lots of different places to use them, there are not a lot of different styles or techniques. However, says Alford, snowshoe running is a sport that's gaining popularity by the minute. “Visit www.snowshoeracing.com for the United State Snowshoe Association Web site,” he suggests. “That will give you the basics.”
“The more advanced users develop technique, but beginners just have to remember to keep their legs a little bit apart,” says Dickinson.
But Kinnunen says there are many ways to enjoy the sport. “There is hiking, running, climbing, groomed trails vs. bushwhacking and snowshoeing with poles vs. snowshoeing without poles.”
McGuinness says that staying comfortable is important, but that “there is a misconception with most beginning snowshoers is since I am going out in cold weather I should bundle up. Snowshoeing is an aerobic activity; therefore, your body generates a lot of heat even when the mercury is below zero. The key is layering. Everyone should start with high tech base layer which wicks the moisture of perspiration away from the body.”
Alford says snowshoeing is like hiking, but with snow. Allow for more time, he says, but don't take chances. “You'll get tired quickly and it's safe to listen to your body and how far you can take it. Do some online research first. Pick an area you're familiar with and go with a friend (or a dog). But, be a smart planner. You never know what you'll encounter when in the backcountry. With skiing and boarding, resorts are filled with people – not a lot of trouble you can get yourself into. With snowshoeing, you're out in the middle of nowhere sometimes. There aren't a lot of people around. So, bring a GPS device and a cell phone. And, if you can afford it, an avalanche beacon is smart too.”
Alford says you don't have to purchase an over-priced lift ticket and you don't have to commit to a certain experience level. “Everybody goes in the same direction and at the same speed (pretty much). You can snowshoe for the day, a weekend or for an extended week trip. It's up to you. One of my favorite things to do is stay at a Bed and Breakfast and snowshoe around the property…visit the local settings and just enjoy being away from the city. Don't take chances and be safe. Also, join a snowshoe club in your area. If there isn't one, start it up. Or, participate in a snowshoe race in your area. Or, take a snowshoe full moon tour at a local resort. There's so much to enjoy about snowshoeing.”
“I love snowshoeing even though I don't get much of a chance to do it here in DC. I've got a great pair of snowshoes and poles from LL Bean. I'm waiting for the big storm so I can clomp around on Capitol Hill, says Washington, D.C.-based communicator Laura MacLean. She says snowshoeing is not big a production. “Just throw your gear in the car and go – you don't need a special roof-rack, etc. My snowshoes and collapsible poles also fit in a suitcase, so I can easily take them with me (unlike skis where you need the special bag or have to pay extra, etc.).”
Murphy says that if you plan on snowshoeing in steep or icy back country trails, you may need crampons. “Crampons are designed to provide traction and the type of material and overall tooth design is paramount to getting a good grip in all types of terrain and snow conditions. Crampon materials range from aluminum to stainless steel to titanium; tooth length below the frame is how to measure penetration and overall shape and position of crampon teeth should be evaluated in terms of the intended use or experience desired. Backcountry snowshoes typically feature stainless steel crampons, which should be positioned under the snowshoer's toe and heel, as the binding pivots the crampons should “bite” into the surface and “pull” through the full stride. Trail walking snowshoes' crampons are often lighter weight aluminum or carbon steel that offer good penetration on packed trails.”
”The beauty of snowshoeing is it does not have to be a destination based activity. All you need is snow and some open space such as the local park. Many Nordic touring centers now have trails dedicated to snowshoeing. In summary, unlike some of the other activities I listed above, snowshoeing is truly an entry level activity anybody can enjoy. There is basically no learning curve. It is a great family activity and is an easy opportunity to get outside and enjoy winter,” say McGuinness.
*** Travel, Outdoor and Adventure Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities:
Guest Services Shift Leader, Highland Center, The Appalachian Mountain Club, Bretton Woods, NH
The Guest Services Shift Leader provides top quality public service and a positive first impression in fulfilling the needs of guests to this busy outdoor program center. This includes the check-in of guests, ability to make or modify reservations for multiple AMC facilities and programs, providing accurate information and education, fulfilling concierge requests, selling souvenirs and basic backcountry equipment. The position ensures that daily operations during their shift are professional, guest-oriented, and well coordinated with the other staff on-site.
The Guest Services Shift Leader is involved in the offering of daily interpretive programs at the center focusing on site amenities and opportunities. AMC facilities are critical providers of high-quality education, safety, outdoor recreation and conservation services to tens of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts annually. The AMC’s visibility and well-known public service mission demand an extremely high level of customer service. The Guest Services Shift Leader will work with employees and volunteers to ensure this end.
Welcome, check-in, and assist center day and overnight visitors and guests.
Accurately manage, create, or modify guest reservations for any AMC facilities as required.
Accurately and reliably handle cash and credit card transactions.
Accurately create and manage meal counts for the Highland Center dining room.
Provide supervision and guidance for seasonal employees and volunteers during shifts to ensure high standards of service and productivity; respond to any problems or special requests with a professional and friendly demeanor, communicate changes in policies, accounting errors, or other problems through appropriate means.
Answer all incoming phone calls and respond or transfer appropriately and professionally. Ensure the prompt and professional handling of information requests by both volunteers and employees through a variety of means from public (phone, e-mail, in person, etc.)
Actively promote and provide up to date information on the services and programs of the AMC and encourage membership to support the club’s public service efforts.
Provide accurate and knowledgeable information and advice on a variety of topics such as seasonal backcountry conditions, White Mountain National Forest opportunities and policies, backcountry supplies and equipment, and area points of interest.
Assist in the maintenance of the center’s appearance including informational brochures and resources at the main desk and associated areas and kiosks. Assist the custodial staff in cleaning windows, vacuuming, snow removal, restroom and parking lot maintenance as needed or requested.
Work with other staff to provide rescue services using established procedures and protocols working with our partners, the NH Fish and Game Department and the US Forest Service. Provide communication, transportation, and supplies and equipment needed to respond to backcountry emergencies. Accurately complete required post incident paperwork. Safely respond to emergencies (fire alarm, medical, illegal activities) at the center by calling 911 while providing security for our guests, visitors, and employees.
Lead or assist in the delivery of guided site tours, “Dinner Talks”, and evening programs including greeting and orientation to visitor center opportunities and AMC programs and mission.
Other duties as assigned.
This position requires exceptional customer service skills and ability to be a team player within a detail-oriented, fast-paced environment.
Must be a person who is enthusiastic and enjoys working with the public.
Computer competency (MS Word and Excel) coupled with effective typing skills is required.
Prior hotel, lodge, or visitor center experience is desirable.
Familiarity with the White Mountain National Forest and proactive attitude regarding AMC programs and mission is strongly preferred.
Must be willing to work weekends, holidays, and evenings.
Ability to work in an standard office setting, operate computers, stand & sit. Ability to travel safely on unpaved trails carrying 40 lbs or more in all weather conditions.
Send Resume and Cover Letter to Sara Woodstock, Lodge Manager, AMC Highland Center, General Delivery Route 302, Bretton Woods, NH 03575 or email to email@example.com. Call 603-278-4453 x 2005 for more information.
Benefits of Working With the AMC
The AMC offers a great benefits package! Here is a partial list that highlights some benefits offered for our regular full-time employees. Benefits may vary based on position.
Group Health Plan, 75 percent employer paid.
Group Life Insurance, 100 percent employer paid
Long-Term Disability Insurance, 100 percent employer paid
Vacation, three weeks accrued each year
Holidays, 13 paid holidays/year
Use of AMC Facilities, free and discounted rates
Free AMC membership
The Appalachian Mountain Club is an Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes diversity in the workplace.
*** Program Coordinator, Environmental Resource Center, Sun Valley/Ketchum ID
The Program Coordinator is responsible for identifying, organizing, implementing and evaluating the Environmental Resource Center's diverse community project and outreach efforts (program set). S/he is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the program set including working with Executive Director to set goals, objectives and evaluation criteria, draft program budgets and coordinate with overall fundraising efforts. This position has the short-term potential to advance into a director-level staff position.
For a full description please visit www.ercsv.org. To apply, please send a resume and letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participates in developing community program goals that further the ERC's mission, along with the Board, Executive Director and/or Program Committee.
Drafts work plans to accomplish these program goals.
Coordinates all aspects of project planning and implementation for delegated programs, including grant-specific projects focusing on solid waste and recycling
Develops and implements marketing strategies for the ERC's delegated programs. This includes taking a lead responsibility for coordinating all communications with the press and public such as press releases and flyers.
Comfortable working with the media
Coordinates with fundraising staff members to ensure that adequate funding exists to support the programs.
Provides regular updates to the Board and Executive Director on the program status and development.
Evaluates each program to ensure compliance with and assess value to the ERC's mission.
Coordinates with other staff members to ensure that the program set dovetails with other organizational goals, such as fundraising.
Bachelor's or advanced degree, preferably in education or an environmentally related field or 3 years successful experience working in project management or outreach capacity.
Demonstrated interest and creativity in marketing and community outreach a plus.
Ability to deal effectively and personably with a variety of people, including members, directors, staff and the general public.
Excellent organizational skills. Ability to set priorities, manage time, work under pressure and manage multiple projects/deadlines efficiently.
Demonstrated ability to develop and address strategic priorities. Attention to detail and ability to organize and manage diverse activities, set priorities, and remain flexible under pressure.
Ability to work independently and efficiently with a minimum of supervision.
Ability to actively problem-solve using sound judgment and critical thinking.
Ability to work in a dynamic work environment that, at times, demands flexibility.
Excellent sense of humor a plus.
Passion for the mission and goals of the Environmental Resource Center and a desire to be a leader and team player.
*** Environmental & Science Educator, Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education, San Mateo, CA
Full Time: Non-exempt w/benefits; $14-18/hr
Deadline for Application: March 14, 2008 @ 5:00pm
Coyote Point Museum for Environmental Education's mission is, “To educate and inspire people to take care of our earth wisely.” An Environmental & Science Educator delivers environmental education and science in a way that is engaging, based on observation and inquiry, includes art, and teaches not “what” to think, but “how” to think. An Environmental & Science Educator works with other Education Department staff on curriculum and program development for school services, public programs, exhibits, and other environmental education events and activities. They maintain supplies and materials for programs, occasionally supervise volunteers, and assist with other projects or programs within the Education Department or Coyote Point Museum.
Examples of Job Duties:
Teach onsite and offsite environmental education and science programs in accordance with Education Department phenomena based education philosophy and principles. Programs include school group classes, day camp, after-school classes, and weekend and/or special programs.
Develop and coordinate phenomena-based environmental education programming and curriculum.
Responsibility for a summer camp program. Responsibilities include preparing appropriate camp curriculum/activities, development of seasonal staff, assisting with program administration and supervision/mentoring of teen volunteers.
Transport, present and interpret live animals to the public as trained and approved by the Museum's Wildlife Department. Provide ongoing care of Education Department invertebrates, which may include: feeding, hydrating, and cleaning enclosures.
Prepare for program delivery, including materials preparation, contacting teachers, confirming Instructional Assistants (Volunteers), submitting onsite room setup sheets, etc.
Effectively positively communicate with school educators and parents.
Supervise and/or work with adult/teen volunteers as appropriate to programming. Examples: Instructional Assistants, Leaders-in-Training, Office Angels, and special project/event volunteers.
Actively participate in Staff Meetings, Staff Retreats, Coyote Crunch (all Museum staff meetings), and other committee meetings as scheduled.
Provide for positive visitor experiences (onsite & offsite).
Coyote Point Museum
1651 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo, CA 94401-1097
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