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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We've had a total of about 18"/45 cm. of snow since a little before Christmas and rarely have our temps been above freezing until the last few days when it's warmed up days and frozen nights.

As a result, I've been using XC skis for almost a month for our daily offleash walks in the nature preserve.

It wasn't too bad with soft snow but the recent thawing and freezing has condensed the snow's depth and made a hard crust on top -- but not a crust that's strong enough to support my weight as I discovered one morning when I tried walking (more accurately slogging, plodding, laboring) along the trails. Pieces of ice and compacted snow from previous walkers were like walking over rough frozen grapefruit/melon size rocks while in other places my feet broke through the crust.

Since then I've found it much easier to use the XC-skis because they give enough support to keep me on the surface. It hasn't been that easy on poor Puff, though -- this morning sometimes randomly she'd have one foot break through, sometimes two, three, or all four. :(

The temps are supposed to get into the mid 40s F during the day through most of the coming week :D and I'll be glad to take the skis out of the car and go back to using regular boots instead of the special XC ones.

And give up the ibuprofen and the more strenuous workouts. :) This morning, my skin felt glistening all over when we got back to the car.

ETA: Photos of a previous winter with Puff in the nature preserve are at http://puffbobpr.shutterfly.com (Password is PuffPr) It has 2 albums of the trails (some with Puff pix) in the nature preserve on which we daily walk, slosh, snowshoe, or ski.

 

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It's warming up here and the snow is melting too. Good and bad. Good, it gets rid of the big ice patches on the driveway, street, sidewalk etc. Bad, the backyard turns into a mud pit and the girls can't play fetch.
 

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One of the DPs we go to, the one 25 miles away, does a nice job for those of us walking. They draga weighted sled behind a snowmobile to compact fresh snow, or snow with a hard crust on top like we got the last time. Then they drag a sled witha rake of somekind on the bottom that scores the ice when that happens. So walking there is not dangerous, nor exceptionally labored.

The other park, part of the same park system, does not do this. And one of the trails has a pretty steep down grade followed be a steeper, longer upgrade. Ice hill is what we call it. It is just plain dangerous for anything with only two legs.

When we got out 20+ inches before Christmas, thelast hour or so was a sleet/rain mixture. made for a crust on top of the 20 inches. A lab could walk across it if he/she walked slowly and carefully. But anything resembling a mormal walking gate or run, resulted in paws dropping through the crust and the dogs had a hard time doing much of anything. It took close to two weeks before they got it trampled enough to start running and playing.
 
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