We haven’t had much snow and ice yet this year in Minnesota but my winter survival gear is ready to go! Once it turns cold and slippery I have some specific changes I make for safety.
The first is to change out my shoes for a gore tex model. My well ventilated shoes work well when it’s warm but my toes get cold with all that extra frigid air flow. Once the trails are snow packed or icy we add “Get a Grips” to the bottom of my shoes. It’s a simple stretch to put them on and the ice picks on the bottom are perfect for the extra grip that I need. It also lays enough rubber on the ground when the path is clear.
The final recommendation is to pull those rubber tips off of your poles! You have to put up with the annoying clicking noise but it will assure that you don’t fall if you hit some unexpected ice.
Don’t forget to dress in layers and put on less than you think you need. Regardless of the temperature you will warm up as you walk.
I’m having trouble with thumbs getting numb. Also, what type of gloves/mittens do you recommend for cold weather?
I’m a firm believer in mittens when it’s really cold. For Nordic walking I use a pair of cross country “lobster” gloves which have a thumb and 2 fingers, fit 2 fingers in each one. Warmth and flexibility. If thumbs are getting numb I’d check how tight your straps are and also evaluate if you’re putting downward pressure on your wrist and strap when you push on your pole. Numbness is often a result of pressure. Make sure that your mitten’s or gloves are windproof.