What to wear--Skating--Skiing--Snowshoeing--Hockey

If one is fortunate enough to live in a part of the country where they

have old-fashioned winters, the possibilities for outdoor sports are

very great and the cold weather may be made the best part of the year

for healthful outdoor exercise. To enjoy winter recreations properly

we must have proper clothing. An ordinary overcoat is very much out of

place, except possibly for sleighing. The regulation costume for

almost any outdoor sport in winter is a warm coat, a heavy sweater,

woollen trousers and stockings, and stout leather shoes. If in

addition we have woollen gloves or mittens and a woollen skating cap

or toque, we shall be enabled to brave the coldest kind of weather,

provided of course that we have warm woollen underwear. Various

modifications in this costume such as high hunting boots, or leggings

and a flannel shirt worn under the sweater are possible. In the far

North, the universal winter footwear is moccasins. We must be careful

not to dress too warmly when we expect to indulge in violent exercise.

Excessive clothing will render us more liable to a sudden check of

perspiration, a consequent closing of the pores and a resulting cold.

Rubber boots or overshoes are very bad if worn constantly. The rubber,

being waterproof, holds in the perspiration and we often find our

stockings damp even when the walking is dry. Rubber boots also make

our feet tender and cause cold feet. Tight shoes are also bad for the

reason that they check circulation. The best footwear for a boy who

lives in the country will be Indian moccasins or shoepacs worn with

several pairs of lumbermen's woollen stockings. Such footwear would

not do for skating, as they have no soles, but for outdoor tramping in

the snow they are just the thing. No leather is thoroughly waterproof

against snow water, but by frequent greasing with mutton tallow,

neatsfoot oil or vaseline, shoes can be kept soft and practically

waterproof as long as the soles and uppers are in good condition.

[Illustration: A shoepac]

In all winter sports, especially in Canada, the custom is to wear

gaily coloured goods. A mackinaw jacket made from the same material as

a blanket, with very prominent stripes or plaids, is often worn.

Closely woven goods are better than a thicker loose weave as they are

lighter, warmer, and more waterproof.

Chief among winter sports is skating. There is no healthier

recreation, provided that the ice is safe. Even in the coldest weather

with the ice a foot thick or more we must always be sure to be on the

lookout for air-holes or thin places over springs. It is said that ice

an inch thick will hold the weight of a man, but it is better to be

sure than to be sorry, and three or four inches are much safer.

[Illustration: The club skate model]

A few years ago the height of the skater's art was so called "fancy or

figure" skating, but recently the tendency has been for speed rather

than for grace and the old-fashioned club skates have been replaced by

racing or hockey skates with much longer runners. Fancy skating for

prizes is governed by rules just as any other game or sport. The

contestants do not attempt figures of their own invention but strive

to excel in the so-called "compulsory" figures. A fancy skater can

practise from diagrams and directions just as one might practise moves

in a game of chess. In printed directions for fancy skating the

following abbreviations are used for the strokes:












Supposing the figure to be executed to be the well-known "figure

eight." It would be described as follows:

R-F-O L-F-O. R-F-I L-F-I. R-B-O L-B-O. R-B-I L-B-I.

By referring to the above table the skater can easily determine just

what strokes are necessary to produce the figure properly.

Racing skates should be attached to shoes of special design either by

screws or rivets. The most important thing is to have the blades

carefully ground by an expert. They should be keen enough to cut a

hair. To become a fast skater, practise if possible with an expert.

Have him skate ahead of you and measure your stroke with his. By

keeping your hands clasped behind your back your balance will not only

be greatly improved but your endurance will be doubled. The sprinting

stroke is a direct glide ahead with the foot straight. A trained

skater can go very long distances with very little fatigue but one

must carefully measure his speed to the distance to be travelled. When

you can cover a measured mile in three and one-half minutes you may

consider yourself in the class of fast skaters.

[Illustration: A hockey skate]

Hockey skates are somewhat shorter than racing skates although built

on the same general lines, the standard length being from nine and

one-half to eleven and one-half inches. Hockey is one of the best

winter games either outdoors or in a rink. The game of shinney or

"bandy" as it is called in England has been modified in this country

by substituting a flat piece of rubber weighing a pound called a

"puck" for the india rubber lacrosse ball, which weighs but four

ounces. The best hockey sticks are made of Canadian rock elm.

The whole idea of hockey is to shoot the puck through your opponents'

goal and to prevent them from shooting it through yours. In practice

almost any number can play hockey and have plenty of exercise. The

less experienced players should when securing the puck always shoot it

as quickly as possible to a more experienced player on their own side

to attempt shooting the goal. Skilful passing is the most important

branch of hockey and consequently good team work is absolutely

essential to success.

[Illustration: The hockey player's costume]

A regulation hockey team consist of seven players called goal, point,

cover point, right centre, left centre, right wing, left wing.

The position of goal tender is the most difficult to acquire skill in.

He stands directly in front of the goal and is expected to stop the

puck with hands, feet, and body. While the position of goal does not

involve much skating, a goal tender should also be a good skater. His

position requires more nerve and cool-headedness than any other

position on the team because the final responsibility of all goals

scored against his team is up to him. His position is largely a

defensive one and his work at times very severe. The goal keeper must

very rarely leave his position but must depend upon the two other

defensive men the "point" and "cover point" to stop the puck when it

away from the direct line of the goal. The defensive men on a hockey

team should not by any strategy or coaxing on the part of their

opponents allow themselves to leave their own goal unprotected.

The forwards have most of the work of shooting goals and advancing the

puck. Of course such a man must be very active and a good all round

player. Hockey is a poor game in which to display grand-stand playing.

The player's whole idea should be to shoot the puck so that either he

or some member of his team may score a goal.

The rules of hockey are comparatively few and simple. The game

consists of two twenty-minute halves with a ten-minute intermission

between. In case of a tie at the end of a game it is customary to

continue until one side secures a majority of the points.

A standard rink must be at least one hundred and twelve feet long by

fifty-eight feet wide. Nets are six feet wide and four feet high.

One of the most exciting of winter sports is skate sailing. The same

principles that are applied to sailing a boat are brought into play in

sailing with skates. While considerable skill is necessary to handle a

skate sail well, any one who is a good skater will soon acquire it.

The direction that you go is determined by the angle at which the sail

is held. When you wish to turn around or stop you simply shift its

position until you run dead into the wind. A skate sail should be

light and strong. A limit of five pounds' weight is all that is

necessary. The sail is a very simple device. There are a great many

kinds but one of the simplest is made from a T-shaped frame of bamboo

with a V-shaped piece of canvas or balloon silk sewed or wired to the

frame. The best skate sails are made with a jointed frame like a

fishing rod so that they may be taken apart and easily carried.

While an expert can handle a sail eight or ten feet wide and twelve

feet high it is better for the beginner to start with one much

smaller. The construction of the sail and the method of holding it are

shown in the diagram.

[Illustration: A skate sail]

Snowshoeing is another winter sport that will furnish a great deal of

pleasure and will enable us to be outdoors when our less fortunate

friends may be cooped up in the house. There are a number of standard

shapes in snowshoes, but probably the "Canadian" model will be found

to be the most satisfactory generally. Snowshoes should be from

twenty-four to forty-four inches long depending on the weight to be

carried. In order to enjoy snowshoeing we must use moccasins. The

proper method of attaching the snowshoes is clearly shown in the

diagrams. The beginner will find that snowshoeing is a very simple art

to acquire, being far less difficult than skating and with far less

danger of having a bad fall.

[Illustration: Four types of snowshoes]

The sport of "ski-running" or skiing is practised more generally

abroad than in this country. A number of winter resorts owe their

popularity largely to this sport. Skis are simply long flat pieces of

wood fastened or strapped to the shoes. The best type are the so

called "Norway" pattern. Various lengths are used from four to eight

or nine feet long, but for a beginner the shorter ones will be better.

[Illustration: To throw the lumberman's hitch, start this way]

[Illustration: Then across the toe with both ends and under the loop]

Ski-running is simply coasting down steep inclines on the snow with

the skis used in much the same way as a sled. The longer they are the

greater the speed obtained, but the longer ones are also

correspondingly hard to manage.

[Illustration: Draw the ends tightly forward to fasten down the toe]

[Illustration: Then tie the ends together in a bow knot back of the


In Norway and Sweden skis are made to order just as we might be

measured for suits of clothes. The theory is that the proper length

of ski will be such that the user, can, when standing erect and

reaching above his head, just crook his forefinger over it as it

stands upright. Ski shoes should be strong, with well blocked toes. A

pair of heavy school shoes are just the thing if well made.

[Illustration: The straps over the toe remain buckled]

[Illustration: This is the "thong" hitch but it is not as good as the

lumberman's hitch]

To learn skiing we should select the slope of a hill not very steep

and with no dangerous rocks or snags to run foul of. The best snow

conditions are usually found two or three days after it has fallen.

Fresh snow is too light to offer good skiing and snow with a crust is

also bad. In running with skis on the level ground a long, sweeping

stride is used somewhat after the fashion of skating. The strokes

should be made just as long as possible, and the skis kept close

together. In going up an incline the tendency to slip backward is

overcome by raising the toe of the ski slightly and bringing the heel

down sharply. One foot should be firmly implanted before the other is

moved. In going up a steep hill a zigzag course will be necessary.

[Illustration: Front and side view of a ski]

As an aid in ski-running it is customary to employ a pair of ski

poles, which are fastened to the wrist by leather thongs. They are

usually made of bamboo or other light material with a wicker disk near

the end to keep the pole from sinking into the soft snow. Ski poles

should never be used in attempting a jump, as under these

circumstances they might be very dangerous.

Ski coasting is the sport that most boys will be interested in. To

make a descent, begin at the top of a hill as one would in coasting

with a sled and lean well forward with the skis parallel and with one

foot slightly ahead of the other. The knees should be bent and the

body rigid. The weight should be borne by the ball of the foot that is

behind. As the start forward begins, the impulse will be to lean back,

but this Impulse must be overcome or you will take a tumble in the

snow as you gain speed.

[Illustration: A ski pole]

In jumping with skis an abrupt drop is necessary. For the beginner a

few inches is sufficient. The start is made by coasting down an

incline, and just before the take-off is reached, the runner assumes a

crouching attitude and then straightens up quickly, maintaining an

erect attitude until he is about to land, when, as in jumping, the

knees are bent slightly to break the force of landing. During the

flight the skis should be kept perfectly parallel but drooping

slightly behind.

[Illustration: The Exciting Sport of Ski Running]

The various forms of coasting with toboggan sleds and bobsleds are

all well known to boys who live where there are snow and hills. A sled

can be steered either by dragging the foot or by shifting the sled

with the hands. Sleds with flexible runners have recently been

introduced and are a great improvement on the old type.

One branch of carpenter work that nearly all boys attempt at some time

in their lives is to make a bobsled or double runner, which is a pair

of sleds fastened on either end of a board long enough to hold from

three to twenty or thirty people.

[Illustration: A bobsled or double runner]

Coasting, especially with a bob, is somewhat dangerous sport,

especially in cities or where the turns are sharp and there is danger

of upsetting. A good bob is broad between the runners and low to the

ground. The drawing shows one that almost any boy can make at little

cost. Various devices are used as brakes on a bob. Most of them are

found to be out of order or frozen when the time comes to use them. A

brake that is made from a piece of iron bent in an angle and fastened

to the side of the runners on the rear sled is the best arrangement to

have. A bobsled should not cost over ten dollars complete with

steering wheel, bell, and necessary iron work, which should be made at

the blacksmith's.

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